Alpine tectonics of the Alps and Western Carpathians
The Alps and Western Carpathians constitute that part of the Alpine-Mediterranean orogenic belt which advances furthest to the north into Central Europe. They were formed by a series of Jurassic to Tertiary subduction and collision events affecting several Mesozoic ocean basins, continental margins, and continental fragments. The Western Alps form a pronounced, westward-convex arc around which the strike of the tectonic units changes by almost 180° (Fig. 18.1). The Western Carpathians are a northward-convex arc of similar size but with minor curvature. The two arcs are connected by an almost straight, WSW-ENE striking portion including the Eastern Alps
Stresses produced by tectonic processes in the Alps also influenced the tectonics of large parts of central and northern Europe, leading, for example, to basin inversion and strike-slip faulting. In this chapter, we will discuss the present-day structure of the different tectonic units in the Alps and Western Carpathians in relation to their palaeotectonic history in order to illustrate the plate tectonic evolution using geological data. Many tectonic problems of the Alps and Western Carpathians are still unsolved, although dramatic progress has been made, especially over the last c. 20 years. Therefore, some of the interpretations presented below are still controversial and do not always express the opinion of all three authors. Given that the main theme of this book is Central Europe, the Southern and Western Alps are discussed in less detail than those parts of the Alps which belong to Central Europe: the Central Alps, the Eastern Alps and the Western Carpathians.
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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.