Abstract

P. Aleksandrowski writes: The new radiometric ages from the Sudetes (SW Poland) presented by Oliver et al. 1993 are to be welcomed as a valuable addition to our knowledge of the Early Palaeozoic history of the north-eastern part of the European Variscan belt. The inferences made from these data—that the Sudetes are primarily a'Caledonian feature and that they contain a Caledonian suture—are however found wanting in a number of respects. A Caledonian age for the main deformation in the Sudetes was already postulated by Bederke as long ago as 1924, but, in contrast to Oliver et al., both he and numerous later workers have increasingly acknowledged the significant role played by Late Devonian–Carboniferous tectonism in the evolution of the area. Moreover, Oliver et al. overlook the structural and facies relationships that link the Sudetes to the western part of the Variscan belt, first recognized by Suess (1903,, 1926) and Kossmat (1927) and assumed by more recent syntheses (e.g. Behr et al. 1984; Matte 1986, 1991; Weber 1986; Franke 1989a, b) some of which Oliver et al. refer to. Consequently, Oliver et al. give the erroneous impression that the Sudetes represent a previously unknown part of the Caledonian orogenic belt, equivalent to the British or Scandinavian Caledonides.

Oliver et al. base their tectonic synthesis on the presence of an inferred Caledonian suture which implies complete closure of the Early Palaeozoic oceanic basin between Baltica and Gondwana during the Silurian-Early Devonian. This conclusion follows from the analysis of six

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