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Variations in lithospheric structure across the margin of Baltica in Central Europe and the role of the Variscan and Carpathian orogenies

Marek Grad, Aleksander Guterch, G. Randy Keller, E. Brueckl, A. A. Belinsky, I. Asudeh, R. Clowes, Z. Hajnal, P. Hrubcova, A. Spicak, S. L. Jensen, H. Thybo, K. Komminaho, U. Luosto, T. Tira, J. Yliniemi, T. Fancsik, E. Hegedus, A. Kovacs, R. Csabafi, J. Jacyna, L. Korabliova, G. Motuza, V. Nasedkin, W. Czuba, E. Gaczynski, T. Janik, M. Malinowski, A. Slaczka, P. Sroda, M. Wilde-Piorko, S. L. Kostiuchenko, M. Bielik, J. Vozar, O. Selvi and S. Miller Harder
Variations in lithospheric structure across the margin of Baltica in Central Europe and the role of the Variscan and Carpathian orogenies (in 4-D framework of continental crust, Robert D. Hatcher (editor), Marvin P. Carlson (editor), John H. McBride (editor) and Jose R. Martinez Catalan (editor))
Memoir - Geological Society of America (2007) 200: 341-356


The European portion of the Eurasian plate formed as a result of a complex series of tectonic events that included the Caledonian, Variscan, and Carpathian orogenies. These orogenic events occurred along the western margin of the East European craton (a portion of the paleocontinent Baltica). In recognition of the complexity of the rifting that formed this margin in the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian and the subsequent tectonic events along it, the region adjacent to this margin has been called the Trans-European suture zone. In order to understand the processes at work during these tectonic events, a series of large integrated geophysical and geological investigations built around large seismic refraction-experiments (POLONAISE'97, CELEBRATION 2000, ALP 2002, and SUDETES 2003) were conducted between 1997 and 2003. In this study, we compare the results of the two longest seismic profiles and their tectonic implications. These studies showed that lithospheric structure of the East European craton directly inboard of its margin is relatively uniform, and the crust consists of three layers below the sedimentary cover, and it is approximately 45 km thick. The lithospheric mantle contains several reflectors, and its velocity is approximately 8.2 km/s. In the Variscides (Paleozoic platform) of northern Poland along the Trans-European suture zone, the consolidated crust beneath the sedimentary cover consists of two distinct layers, and the total crustal thickness is 30-35 km. Within the core region of the Trans-European suture zone, the crust is approximately 40 km thick, but most of its upper half is the sedimentary fill of the late Paleozoic and Mesozoic Polish trough, which is underlain by a thick sequence of older continental-margin volcanic and sedimentary units. The lithospheric mantle structure is complex and indicative of a plate collision under the Trans-European suture zone region, and it has seismic velocities that are generally higher than those of the East European craton. In the Carpathian region, the effects of younger collisions are present in addition to evidence of the Variscan orogeny. It is somewhat surprising that the crustal thickness beneath the Carpathians is 30-40 km, but it is not surprising that beneath the Pannonian Basin, an extensional feature, the crust is only 24-28 km thick. The thickest crust in this region ( approximately 50 km) occurs under the rifted margin of the East European craton. The sedimentary cover in this region varies greatly in age and thickness. It is 1-3 km thick beneath the East European craton, 10 km thick the beneath Polish Basin/Lublin trough region, approximately 18 km thick in the Carpathian foredeep, and 5-8 km thick beneath the Pannonian Basin. The velocity in the lithospheric mantle is 8.1-8.25 km/s beneath the East European craton, 8.2-8.4 km/s beneath the Variscides-Trans-European suture zone, and 7.8-8.0 km/s beneath Carpathian-Pannonian area. The crust and features in the lithospheric mantle appear to dip northward in this area. In northern Poland, the rifted southwestern margin of the East European craton is abruptly bounded by the Trans-European suture zone and ultimately the Variscides over a region that is only approximately 100 km wide, while the collisional zone between the East European craton and the Carpathian-Pannonian area is approximately 300 km wide. In both areas, the lithospheric structure observed suggests that the Caledonian, Variscan, and Carpathian orogenies in this area were relatively "soft" collisions that left the East European craton passive margin largely intact. The structural model of the transition between the Pannonian Basin-Carpathians and the East European craton indicates northward "old" subduction under Baltic (Jurassic-Early Cretaceous). However, the thinning of the Pannonian lithosphere could be explained as the result of extension and high heat flow, with "young" southward subduction or slab rollback to the east, which took place in the Tertiary (Miocene).

ISSN: 0072-1069
Serial Title: Memoir - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 200
Title: Variations in lithospheric structure across the margin of Baltica in Central Europe and the role of the Variscan and Carpathian orogenies
Title: 4-D framework of continental crust
Affiliation: University of Warsaw, Institute of Geophysics, Warsaw, Poland
Affiliation: University of Tennessee, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Knoxville, TN, United States
Affiliation: POLONAISE'97 Working GroupInternational
Affiliation: CELEBRATION 2000 Working Group
Pages: 341-356
Published: 2007
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-1200-0
Meeting name: 17th international basement tectonics conference
Meeting location: Oak Ridge, TN, USA, United States
Meeting date: 20040627June 27-July 1, 2004
References: 71
Accession Number: 2008-064097
Categories: Structural geologyApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial Conference document
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., geol. sketch map
N45°00'00" - N50°00'00", E19°00'00" - E26°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Nebraska Geological Survey, USA, United StatesBrigham Young University, USA, United StatesUniversidad de Salamanca, ESP, SpainPolish Academy of Sciences, POL, PolandUniversity of Oklahoma, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 200815
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