The central European basement is divided into linear domelike zones of crystalline rocks that are separated by sedimentary troughs. Analyses of clasts in conglomerates and of radiometric dates indicate maximum intensities of magmatic and metamorphic processes in the Proterozoic, at the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary, and in the Late Devonian and Carboniferous. The geosynclinal evolution took place in an intracontinental area. There is no indication of the existence of an oceanic crust in central Europe. The orogenic events were caused ultimately by vertical rise of light buoyant basic magma produced by gravitative differentiation in the upper mantle. Synkinematically intruded granite masses, which originated by anatexis of the crust and produced basement uplifts, are surrounded by broad metamorphic aureoles, whereas postkinematic intrusions are characterized by local zones of contact metamorphism. As granitic melts rose, mobile troughs developed in front of the steep-flanked plutons. Shallow-water deposits, disconformities, and converging strata are typical of the sedimentary cover of the plutons. The flanks of the basement uplifts are shown by conglomeratic sediments and by outward directions of sediment transport. The basins are shown by uninterrupted sequences of thick pelagic sediments.
Deformation of the troughs was caused by vertical movements connected with granitic intrusion. At the rims of diapiric plutons, gravitative sliding of the sedimentary cover and deep-seated faulting took place, and tholeiitic basalt magmas of continental origin altered during processes of spilitization ascended. Horizontal shortening is only of subordinate importance, mainly in connection with gravity tectonics. The genesis of the central European basement cannot be explained in the sense of “the new global tectonics.”