The western accretionary margin of the east European craton : an overview

Pharaoh, T.C.; Winchester, J.A.; Verniers, J.; Lassen, A.; Seghedi, A.. 2006 The western accretionary margin of the east European craton : an overview. In: Gee, D.G.; Stephenson, R.A., (eds.) European lithosphere dynamics. London, UK, Geological Society of London, 291-311. (Geological Society Special Publications, 32).

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Multidisciplinary investigations of the western margin of the East European Craton (EEC) by EUROPROBE projects since 1992 have confirmed that the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ) is the most fundamental lithospheric boundary in Europe, extending 2000 km from the North Sea to the Black Sea-Crimean region. The crust of the EEC is thicker and denser than that of Phanerozoic-accreted Europe, and the base of the lithospheric mantle significantly deeper. These characteristics persist throughout the length of the TESZ, despite the variation in age of the accreted crust along strike. Geological studies of key deep borehole cores and the limited outcrop data confirm that the crust of Phanerozoic-accreted Central Europe comprises a number of terranes, each thought to be derived from Gondwana during several episodes of rifting, ocean formation, ocean destruction and sequential accretion to the EEC throughout Palaeozoic time. There is still much discussion about the identity, provenance and history of these orogenic terranes. The process of accretion led to the formation of terrane-bounding orogenic sutures, which may be marked in outcrop by ophiolitic and eclogitic relics. Recognition of concealed sutures is obviously more difficult, and relies on a variety of geophysical techniques, used in an integrated way by multidisciplinary teams; the evidence from deep seismic reflection and refraction surveys, teleseismic tomography, magnetotelluric experiments and from geophysical potential-field modelling is crucial for such studies. Since the European Geotraverse, much has been learnt about the geometry of the Thor, Iapetus, Rheic, Saxo-Thuringian and Moldanubian oceanic sutures, through the crust and sometimes into the mantle. This has led to a much better understanding of the 3D crustal structure of the Western Accretionary Margin of the EEC, and the lithospheric processes that have shaped it. From this, the influence of tectonic heterogeneities within the orogenic crust on the development of post-orogenic structures and basins can be much better constrained.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):​GSL.MEM.2006.032.01.17
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Marine, Coastal and Hydrocarbons
Date made live: 25 Sep 2012 13:50 +0 (UTC)

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