Mixed-layer illite-smectite from Lower Palaeozoic sedimentary rocks, on both sides of the Teisseyre–Tornquist tectonic zone (TTZ) in northern Poland, was studied by X-ray diffraction and dated by K-Ar means.
The percentage of smectite layers in illite-smectite (%S) indicates maximum palaeotemperatures of 125–135°C at the surface of Lower Palaeozoic rocks on the craton (NE of TTZ), and 110 to ≤180°C in different tectonic blocks to the SW of TTZ (area of Caledonian consolidation). The vertical changes in the %S indicate that the maximum palaeotemperatures were reached before Permian time on the craton, and before Jurassic, Triassic, Permian or Carboniferous periods but after the beginning of Devonian time in the Caledonian zone. The K–Ar ages of bentonites indicate that the maximum palaeotemperatures were reached by 370–390 Ma or even slightly earlier (Middle–late Devonian). A maximum of 3–6 km of Silurian–Devonian cover on the craton and in the TTZ is suggested by the data.