Timing of dextral strike-slip processes and basement exhumation in the Elbe Zone (Saxo-Thuringian Zone): the final pulse of the Variscan Orogeny in the Bohemian Massif constrained by LA-SF-ICP-MS U–Pb zircon data
M. Hofmann, U. Linnemann, A. Gerdes, B. Ullrich, M. Schauer, 2009. "Timing of dextral strike-slip processes and basement exhumation in the Elbe Zone (Saxo-Thuringian Zone): the final pulse of the Variscan Orogeny in the Bohemian Massif constrained by LA-SF-ICP-MS U–Pb zircon data", Ancient Orogens and Modern Analogues, J. B. Murphy, J. D. Keppie, A. J. Hynes
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The final pulse of the Variscan Orogeny in the northern Bohemian Massif (Saxo-Thuringian Zone) is related to the closure of the Rheic Ocean, which resulted in subduction-related D1-deformation followed by dextral strike-slip activity (D2-deformation, the Elbe Zone). Taken together, these deformation events reflect the amalgamation of Pangaea in central Europe. Lateral extrusion of high-grade metamorphosed rocks from an allochthonous domain (Saxonian Granulitgebirge) and the top–NW-directed transport of these domains (Erzgebirge nappe complex, Saxonian Granulitgebirge) are responsible for these dextral strike-slip movements. Geochronological data presented herein, together with published data, allow the timing of the final pulse of the Variscan Orogeny and related plutonic, volcano-sedimentary and tectonic processes. Marine sedimentation lasted at least until the Tournaisian (357 Ma). Onset of Variscan strike-slip along the Elbe Zone is assumed to be coeval with the beginning of the top–NW-directed lateral extrusion of the Saxonian Granulitgebirge at 342 Ma (D2-deformation). The sigmoidal shape of the Meissen Massif indicates that strike-slip activity was coexistent with intrusion of the pluton at c. 334 Ma into the schist belt of the Elbe Zone. In contrast, the intrusion of the Markersbach Granite provides a minimum age of c. 327 Ma for the termination of D2 strike-slip activity, because this undeformed pluton cross-cuts all strike-slip related tectonic structures. Geochronological data of an ash bed from the Permo-Carboniferous Döhlen Basin show clearly that post-orogenic sedimentation of Variscan molasse in that area was already active at 305 Ma. This pull-apart basin is a local example of regional Permo-Carboniferous extension within Pangaea. The uplift and denudation of the Variscan basement in the Saxo-Thuringian Zone occurred between c. 327–305 Ma.
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Plate tectonics provide a unifying conceptual framework for the understanding of Phanerozoic orogens. More controversially, recent syntheses apply these principles as far back as the Early Archaean. Many ancient orogens are, however, poorly preserved and the processes responsible for them are not well understood. The effects of processes such as delamination, subduction of oceanic and aseismic ridges, overriding of plumes and subduction erosion are rarely identified in ancient orogens, although they have a profound effect on Cenozoic orogens. However, deeply eroded ancient orogens provide insights into the hidden roots of modern orogens. Recent advances in analytical techniques, as well as in fields such as geodynamics, have provided fresh insights into ancient orogenic belts, so that realistic modern analogies can now be applied. This Special Publication offers up-to-date reviews and models for some of the most important orogenic belts developed over the past 2.5 billion years of Earth history.