, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 414-431
Date: 08 May 2004

Palaeogeography and tectonic structure of allochthonous units in the German part of the Rheno-Hercynian Belt (Central European Variscides)

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New information on palaeogeography, orogenic evolution, tectonic structure, and boundaries of allochthonous units in the Rheno-Hercynian Belt is based on provenance analyses of clastic sediments and field studies. 40K/40Ar dating of detrital muscovites proved to be a particularly useful method because Cadomian, Caledonian and Early Variscan provenances of detrital material can be distinguished. Cadomian muscovite cooling ages are restricted to allochthonous units whereas Caledonian ages dominate within par-autochthonous and shortly displaced allochthonous units. The largest and uppermost preserved nappe, the Gießen-Harz Nappe, is derived from an oceanic flysch basin, which was not reached by Caledonian detritus. The other allochthonous units form a duplex-like structure sandwiched between the Gießen-Harz Nappe and par-autochthonous units at its base. The thick and heterogeneous roof- and floor-thrusts of this structure were previously often misinterpreted as olistostromes. The northern margin of allochthonous units is the steeply dipping Hörre-Gommern Zone. It consists of three sub-units derived from deep-water areas between the shelf at the southern margin of the Old Red Sandstone Continent and an oceanic basin to the south. The southeastern part of the duplex-structure (Harzgerode Zone) shows close affinities to Armorican terranes.