Palaeozoic amalgamation of Central Europe: new results from recent geological and geophysical investigations

Winchester JA, The PACE TMR Network Team


360(1-4), 2002, 5-21, 10.1016/S0040-1951(02)00344-X

Multidisciplinary studies of geotransects across the North European Plain and Southern North Sea, and geological reexamination of the Variscides of the North Bohemian Massif, permit a new 3-D reassessment of the relationships between the principal crustal blocks abutting Baltica along the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ). Accretion was in three stages: Cambrian accretion of the Bruno–Silesian, Lysogory and Malopolska terranes; end-Ordovician/early Silurian accretion of Avalonia; and early Carboniferous accretion of the Armorican Terrane Assemblage (ATA). Palaeozoic plume-influenced metabasite geochemistry in the Bohemian Massif explains the progressive rifting away of peri-Gondwanan crustal blocks before their accretion to Baltica. Geophysical data, faunal and provenance information from boreholes, and dated small inliers and cores confirm that Avalonian crust extends beyond the Anglo-Brabant Deformation Belt eastwards to northwest Poland. The location and dip of reflectors along the TESZ and beneath the North European Plain suggest that Avalonian crust overrode the Baltica passive margin, marked by a high-velocity lower crustal layer, on shallowly southwest-dipping thrust planes forming the Heligoland–Pomerania Deformation Belt. The “Variscan orocline” of southwest Poland masks two junctions between the Armorican Terrane Assemblage (ATA) and previously accreted crustal blocks. To the east is a dextrally transpressive contact with the Bruno–Silesian and Malopolska blocks, accreted in the Cambrian, while to the north is a thrust contact with easternmost Avalonia, deeply buried beneath younger sedimentary cover. In the northeast Bohemian and Rhenohercynian Massifs Devonian “early Variscide” deformation dominated by WNW and NW-directed thrusting, records closure of Ordovician–Devonian seaways between detached “islands” of the ATA and Avalonia.