, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 35-52
Date: 12 May 2001

Organization of pre-Variscan basement areas at the north-Gondwanan margin

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Abstract

Pre-Variscan basement elements of Central Europe appear in polymetamorphic domains juxtaposed through Variscan and/or Alpine tectonic events. Consequently, nomenclatures and zonations applied to Variscan and Alpine structures, respectively, cannot be valid for pre-Variscan structures. Comparing pre-Variscan relics hidden in the Variscan basement areas of Central Europe, the Alps included, large parallels between the evolution of basement areas of future Avalonia and its former peri-Gondwanan eastern prolongations (e.g. Cadomia, Intra-Alpine Terrane) become evident. Their plate-tectonic evolution from the Late Proterozoic to the Late Ordovician is interpreted as a continuous Gondwana-directed evolution. Cadomian basement, late Cadomian granitoids, late Proterozoic detrital sediments and active margin settings characterize the pre-Cambrian evolution of most of the Gondwana-derived microcontinental pieces. Also the Rheic ocean, separating Avalonia from Gondwana, should have had, at its early stages, a lateral continuation in the former eastern prolongation of peri-Gondwanan microcontinents (e.g. Cadomia, Intra-Alpine Terrane). Subduction of oceanic ridge (Proto-Tethys) triggered the break-off of Avalonia, whereas in the eastern prolongation, the presence of the ridge may have triggered the amalgamation of volcanic arcs and continental ribbons with Gondwana (Ordovician orogenic event). Renewed Gondwana-directed subduction led to the opening of Palaeo-Tethys.

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