Permian to Cretaceous tectonics
Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth, Piotr Krzywiec, Rainer Zühlke, Y. Maystrenko, N. Froitzheim, 2008. "Permian to Cretaceous tectonics", The Geology of Central Europe Volume 2: Mesozoic and Cenozoic, T. McCann
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Subsequent to the Variscan Orogeny, the lithosphere of Central Europe was subjected to a series of tectonic events in the Latest Palaeozoic and Mesozoic which were related to the ongoing breakup of Pangaea. The Early Mesozoic tectonic evolution of Central Europe was determined by its position between the stable Precambrian Baltic-East European Craton in the north and NW and two competing megarift systems in the NW, west and south. In the NW and west, the Arctic-North Atlantic rift systems heralded the later crustal separation of Laurasia while in the south, the opening of both the Tethyan oceans and the central Atlantic Ocean led to stress changes in the Central European lithosphère. During the late Mesozoic and early Cenozoic, ongoing rifting resulted in crustal separation in the North Atlantic, whereas the successive closure of the Tethyan oceanic basins and continental collision between Africa and Eurasia caused compression in Central Europe. This superposition of plate-boundary-induced stresses led to the development of a complex structural pattern with subsidence and subsequent inversion of numerous sub-basins and uplift of structural highs. These sub-basins are the sites where the preserved geological record can be used to reconstruct the Mesozoic tectonic history.
The aim of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the tectonic evolution of Central Europe in the period following the Variscan Orogeny, as well as to discuss the tectonic implications for the region resulting from the various plate movements involved. Detailed accounts of the palaeogeography and geology for the region are contained within the relevant Mesozoic chapters. Additionally, excellent palaeogeographic compilations are available for the Tethyan and peri-Tethyan domain (e.g. Decourt et al. 1992, 2000; Golonka 2004; Stampfii and Borel 2004), for the North Sea (e.g. Coward et al. 2003; Evans et al. 2003; Mosar et al 2002a, ft) and for the Norwegian Greenland Sea (e.g. Brekke 2000; Mosar et al. 2002a, ft; Torsvik et al. 2002). Our palaeotectonic maps are based on the works of Baldschuhn et al. (1996), Coward et al. (2003), Dadlez (1997, 2003), Dadlez et al. (1998, 2000); Decourt et al. (1992, 2000), Doré et al. (1999), Evans et al. (2003), Golonka (2004), Kockel (1995), Kockel et al. (1996), Lokhorst (1998), Mosar et al. (2002b), Stampfii & Borel (2002) and Ziegler (1990, 1999). These works are supplemented for some of the presented time slices with regional information detailed in the respective chapters.
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This two-volume set provides the first comprehensive account in English of the geology of Central Europe. Written by more than 200 scientists from universities and research centres spread across Europe and North America, the 21 chapters are based on the main stratigraphic periods. Individual chapters outline the evolution of the region divided into a variety of sections which include overviews of the stratigraphic framework, climate, sea-level variations, palaeogeography and magmatic activity. These are followed by more detailed descriptions of the Central European succession, covering the main basins and magmatic provinces. Each chapter is thoroughly referenced, providing a unique and valuable information source.
Volume 1 focuses on the evolution of Central Europe from the Precambrian to the Permian, a dynamic period which traces the formation of Central Europe from a series of microcontinents that separated from Gondwana through to the creation of Pangaea. Separate summary chapters on the Cadomian, Caledonian and Variscan orogenic events as well as on Palaeozoic magmatism provide an overview of the tectonic and magmatic evolution of the region. These descriptions sometimes extend beyond the borders of Central Europe to take in the Scottish and Irish Caledonides as well as the Palaeozoic successions in the Baltic region.
Volume 2 provides an overview of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic evolution of Central Europe. This period commenced with the destruction of Pangaea and ended with the formation of the Alps and Carpathians and the subsequent Ice Ages. Separate summary chapters on the Permian to Cretaceous tectonics and the Alpine evolution are also included. The final chapter provides an overview of the fossil fuels, ore and industrial minerals in the region.
The Geology of Central Europe is a key reference work suitable not only for libraries across the world, but of interest to all researchers, teachers and students of European Geology.