The Meliata suture in the Carpathians: Regional significance and implications for the evolution of high-pressure wedges within collisional orogens
R. David Dallmeyer, Franz Neubauer, Harald Fritz, 2008. "The Meliata suture in the Carpathians: Regional significance and implications for the evolution of high-pressure wedges within collisional orogens", Tectonic Aspects of the Alpine-Dinaride-Carpathian System, S. Siegesmund, B. Fügenschuh, N. Froitzheim
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The Meliata nappe of the Western Carpathian orogen is comprised of Triassic deep-sea metasedimentary rocks and fragments of blueschist-bearing ophiolite. These were structurally emplaced onto Permian/Triassic shelf sequences and its Variscan basement. The nappe records a succession of deformational events which formed under decreasing pressure conditions. Subduction-related burial and resulting blueschist metamorphism is dated by 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages recorded by four phengitic muscovite concentrates (160–150 Ma). These crystallized during ductile deformation characterized by predominantly coaxial NW–SE stretching. The structures were overprinted by semiductile, nonpenetrative fabric elements which formed under greenschist facies conditions and contemporaneously with fabrics which developed in footwall tectonic units. Kinematic indicators record top north to NW shear during Middle Cretaceous loading of the Meliata unit onto the Inner Carpathian nappe complex recorded by a 40Ar/39Ar whole rock phyllite age of 105.8±1.5 Ma. A subsequent southeastern sense of shear is interpreted to have resulted from extension during Late Cretaceous uplift along hinterland margins of the tectonic wedge. The Meliata unit is part of a major Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous suture which initially extended from the Alps to the Hellenides. It has been subsequently disrupted as a result of later strike-slip faulting following Tertiary collision of the Cretaceous orogen, and was transported onto extra-Alpine European units.
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The Alps, Carpathians and Dinarides form a complex, highly curved and strongly coupled orogenic system. Motions of the European and Adriatic plates gave birth to a number of ‘oceans’ and microplates that led to several distinct stages of collision. Although the Alps serve as a classical example of collisional orogens, it becomes clearer that substantial questions on their evolution can only be answered in the Carpathians and Dinarides. Our understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Alpine-Dinaride-Carpathian System has substantially improved and will continue to develop; this is thanks to collaboration between eastern and western Europe, but also due to the application of new methods and the launch of research initiatives. The largely field-based contributions investigate the following subjects: pre-Alpine heritage and Alpine reactivation; Mesozoic palaeogeography and Alpine subduction and collision processes; extrusion tectonics from the Eastern Alps to the Carpathians and the Pannonian Basin; orogen-parallel and orogen-perpendicular extension; record of orogeny in foreland basins; tectonometamorphic evolution; and relations between the Alps, Apennines and Corsica.