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Introduction: geological and geophysical studies in the Trans-European Suture Zone

  • T. C. PHARAOH (a1), R. W. ENGLAND (a2), J. VERNIERS (a3) and A. ŻELAŹNIEWICZ (a4)

Abstract

The Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ) is the boundary between ancient Precambrian lithosphere of the East European Craton (EEC) and the younger lithosphere beneath the latest Neoproterozoic–Palaeozoic mobile belts of western Europe. The former is characterized by a thick crust (c. 45 km), low heat flow and a tectono-thermal age of about 3000 to 800 Ma, the latter by a thinner crust (c. 30 km), higher heat flow and a tectonothermal age of 560 to 290 Ma. These contrasting types of crust were juxtaposed during the Caledonian and Variscan orogenic episodes. The crystalline basement of the TESZ is largely concealed by sedimentary basins controlled by the reactivation of structures within the suture zone during Permian–Mesozoic extension and Cenozoic inversion. The pre-Permian evolution of the craton and the mobile belts, and the location of the sutures, is inferred from isolated outcrops, hundreds of boreholes and geophysical evidence. Existing seismic data demonstrates that the TESZ is rather narrow and has an expression at all levels of the lithosphere and deep into the asthenosphere. Teleseismic studies have demonstrated that the differences in the velocity structure of the asthenospheric and lithospheric mantle across the TESZ persist to depths of c. 400 km (Zielhus & Nolet, 1994).

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Introduction: geological and geophysical studies in the Trans-European Suture Zone

  • T. C. PHARAOH (a1), R. W. ENGLAND (a2), J. VERNIERS (a3) and A. ŻELAŹNIEWICZ (a4)

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