--> The Mesozoic paleogeography of the Alpine Tethys in Poland and adjacent countries

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The Mesozoic paleogeography of the Alpine Tethys in Poland and adjacent countries


The Calcareous Alps and Inner Carpathians, formed the marginal platform of Western and Central Europe during the Triassic time. The Mesozoic rifting events caused the origin of oceanic type basins like along the northern margin of the Tethys. The separation of Eurasia from Gondwana resulted in the formation of the Alpine Tethys as a continuation of the Central Atlantic Ocean and as a part of the Pangean breakup tectonic system which started during Simenurian/Pliensbachian time. The Inner Carpathian plate was detached from the Eurasian margin by this Alpine Tethys (Penninic-Pieniny) realm. It was also dissected by the rift system. The deeper water sediments, like radiolarites, were deposit in these rifts, while shallower water carbonate sedimentation prevailed in the uplifted areas. Major plate reorganization happened both during the Bajocian and Tithonian times. The new Atlantic spreading entered the area between the New Foundland shelf and Iberia. The Jurassic Pangean break-up system in Alpine Tethys, Central Europe and North Sea area was abandoned. The subduction developed along the Alpine Tethys margin. The rotation of Africa and the spreading in the Eastern Mediterranean caused the Apulian plate to converge with Europe. The Alpine Tethys was gradually closed. The compressional deformation of the Inner Carpathians during Late Cretaceous led to development of nappes in the Inner Carpathian realm.

The latest Cretaceous-earliest Paleocene was the time of the closure of the Alpine Tethys. The Adria-Alcapa terranes continued their northward movement during the Eocene-Early Miocene time. Their oblique collision with the North European plate led to the development of the accretionary wedge of the Outer Carpathians and foreland basin. The northward movement of the Alpine segment of the Carpathian-Alpine orogen has been stopped due to the collision with the Bohemian Massif. At the same time, the extruded Carpatho/Pannonian units were pushed to the open space towards the bay of weak crust filled up by the Outer Carpathian flysch sediments. The formation of the West Carpathian thrusts was completed by the Miocene time. The thrust front was still progressing eastwards in the Eastern Carpathians. The Carpathian loop including the Pieniny Klippen Belt structure was formed.

This research has been financially supported by AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow grant no.