Geochemistry and petrology of the Upper Silurian greywackes from the Holy Cross Mountains (central Poland): implications for the Caledonian history of the southern part of the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ)

Wojciech Kozłowski, Justyna Domańska-Siuda, Jerzy Nawrocki


The Ludlovian greywackes of the Holy Cross Mountains (HCM) represent a part of the sedimentary cover of the Łysogóry and Małopolska terranes located in the Trans-European Suture Zone, central Poland. The rocks form the sedimentary infill of the Caledonian foreland basin that developed at the Tornquist margin of Laurussia and had source-areas located on the orogen side of the basin. Until the present, the source terrane of the basin has not been identified in its potential location – at the south-west margin of the East European Platform. The Ludlovian greywackes of both parts of the HCM show a lot of similarities in clast spectrum, timing, and geochemical features, which implies similar sources of the clastic material. The petrographic modal composition and geochemical features indicate recycled orogen signatures with a distinct undissected, evolved magmatic arc component. The latter is particularly evident from the extraclast spectrum that contains andesite, trachyte and dacite clasts. Beside the volcanic rocks, the source area consisted of sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks with high amounts of cherts. The geochemical and petrological features in the rock succession point to an evolution of the tectonic setting from an active to a more passive margin type indicating synorogenic formation of the studied rocks. Based on the rock record, we suggest that the Upper Silurian greywackes originated as a result of the collision of the Tornquist margin of Laurussia with a volcanic arc (here: the Teisseyre Arc) – located probably at the easternmost extent of the Avalonian Plate. In this scenario, the arc-continent orogen was composed of an uplifted filling of the forearc basin, an accretionary prism, volcanic arc rocks, and an exhumed foreland basement - analogously to the present-day Taiwan orogen. The second key issue is the palaeogeographical relation between the Małopolska (Kielce Region) and the Łysogóry terranes in the Late Silurian. Despite the analogous grain composition and clast types, the Łysogóry Region greywackes are composed of distinctly more altered detritus, which is in accordance with the more distal character of the Łysogóry Basin. The latter is manifested, e.g., in the lack of Caledonian deformations. The present-day adjacency of both domains containing correlative greywacke formations coupled with contrasting alteration and Late Silurian transport directions parallel to the terrane boundary imply small to medium-scale (below palaeomagnetic resolution) left-lateral movements of the Małopolska and Łysogóry crustal blocks along the Holy Cross Fault in post-Silurian times.


greywackes; provenance; arc-continent collision; foreland; Silurian; Holy Cross Mountains

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