Palaeozoic orogeneses in the Sudetes: a geodynamic model

Zbigniew Cymerman


The Palaeozoic geodynamic evolution of the Sudetes resulted from two successive orogenic events: (1) Ordovician-Silurian geotectonic processes (pre-Variscan stages), and (2) the Variscan orogeny. Early Palaeozoic rifting of Cadomian crustal segments and opening of the Ligerian (Galicia-Massif Central) and/or Saxothuringian Ocean occurred in Ordovician-Silurian times on the northern (peri-Gondwana) periphery of the Bohemian Massif. At the same time, the Góry Sowie terrane: with a magmatic arc affinity quite probably developed on the SW margin of Baltica due to subduction of the Tornquist Ocean. Two major structural events characterised the Variscan evolution of the Sudetes: (1) regional-scale ductile thrusting of late Devonian-Early Carboniferous age, and (2) Early Carboniferous-Early Permian regional extension. Ductile thrusting is characterised by: (I) a general NNE-directed, dextral transpressional stacking of ductile nappes due to oblique collision of the Moldanubian and Moravian microplates in the Eastern Sudetes, and (II) SW- to NW-directed, sinistral transpressional stacking of ductile nappes due to westward lateral extrusion of continental crust in the Central and Western Sudetes, itself a result of oblique indentation of the Central Sudetic oceanic lithosphere. The first Variscan deformation in the Sudetes might reflect a purely convergent setting that evolved into a transpressive setting during oblique convergence. Special attention is given to the geometry and kinematics of intraplate tectonic escape and a model of indentation processes in the Sudetes. The presented new geotectonic model for the Variscan evolution of the Sudetes is consistent with lateral escape of the Saxothuringian terrane as an important way of accommodating Variscan strain in the NE part of the Bohemian Massif. This model explains the lateral expulsion (escape) process as due to the indentation of the Central Sudetic terrane along with the Góry Sowie terrane and by the oblique subduction of the Ligerianl/Saxothuringian Ocean(s) (now tectonically dismembered ophiolitic rocks of the Central Sudetic terrane).


Sudetes; Variscan; Palaeozoic; transpression; extension; orogeny.

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