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Book Chapter

Permian to Cretaceous tectonics

By
Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
Magdalena Scheck-Wenderoth
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Piotr Krzywiec
Piotr Krzywiec
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Rainer Zühlke
Rainer Zühlke
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Y. Maystrenko
Y. Maystrenko
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N. Froitzheim
N. Froitzheim
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Abstract

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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Geological Society, London, Geology of Series

The Geology of Central Europe Volume 2: Mesozoic and Cenozoic

Geological Society of London
Volume
2
ISBN electronic:
9781862393899
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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