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Abstract

The Variscan Orogeny is the major Middle to Late Palaeozoic tectonometamorphic event in Central Europe representing the final collision of Gondwana with the northern continent of Laurussia. Thus, large areas of the pre-Permian basement consist of continental crust that achieved its final form during this event. The Variscan Orogeny represents the European version of the evolution of the supercontinent of Pangaea at the end of the Palaeozoic. Western Pangaea, including the Variscan Orogen, formed as a result of the continuous closing of the oceanic domains between Gondwana and Laurussia (Old Red Continent: North American Craton + East European Craton + Avalonia). Coeval accretion of large volumes of oceanic crust along the Eastern Uralides and Altaids (Sengör et al. 1993) as well as Precambrian continental crust (e.g. Siberia and Kazakhstan) along the eastern edge of Laurussia represents the formation of eastern Pangaea. Following the Permian termination of collisional tectonics along western Pangaea there was ongoing convergence in the Asian part until the Early Mesozoic, as demonstrated by the evidence of Triassic continental subduction within the Qinling–Dabie–Sulu Belt between the northern Sino- Korean Craton and the southern Yangtze Craton (Ernst 2001, and references therein).

Despite the occurrence of both pre- and synorogenic subduction processes within the area of the Variscan Orogen, the accretion of juvenile crust plays a relatively minor role in terms of the crustal evolution of the region. Recycling of basement formed during the Neoproterozoic–Early Cambrian Cadomian Orogeny and its Early Palaeozoic cover can be considered to be one

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