The Anglo-Brabant Massif: persistent but enigmatic palaeo-relief at the heart of western Europe

Pharaoh, Tim. 2018 The Anglo-Brabant Massif: persistent but enigmatic palaeo-relief at the heart of western Europe. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, 129 (3). 278-328.

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The surface geology of central England and Belgium obscures a large ‘basement’ massif with a complex history and stronger crust and lithosphere than surrounding regions. The nucleus was forged by subduction-related magmatism at the Gondwana margin in Ediacaran time. Partitioning into a platform, in the English Midlands, and a basin stretching to Belgium, in the east, was already evident in Cambrian/earliest Ordovician time. The accretion of the Monian Composite Terrane during the Penobscotian deformation phase preceded late Tremadocian rifting, and Floian separation, of the Avalonia Terrane from the Gondwana margin. Late Ordovician magmatism in a belt from the Lake District to Belgium records subduction beneath Avalonia of part of the Tornquist Sea. This ‘Western Pacific-style’ oceanic basin closed in latest Ordovician time, uniting Avalonia and Baltica. Closure of the Iapetus Ocean in early Silurian time was soon followed by closure of the Rheic Ocean, recorded by subduction along the southern margin of the massif. The causes of late Caledonian deformation are poorly understood and controversial. Partitioned behaviour of the massif persisted into late Palaeozoic time. Late Devonian and Carboniferous sequences show strong onlap onto the massif, which was little affected by crustal extension. Compressional deformation during the Variscan Orogeny also appears slight, and was focussed in the west where a wedge-shaped mountain foreland uplift was driven by orogenic indentation, splitting the massif from the Welsh Massif along the reactivated Malvern Line. Permian to Mesozoic sequences exhibit persistent but variable degrees of onlap onto the massif.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00167878
Date made live: 13 Jun 2018 14:27 +0 (UTC)

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