Silke Voigt, Michael Wagreich, Finn Surlyk, Ireneusz Walaszczyk, David Uličný, Stanislav Čech, Thomas Voigt, Frank Wiese, Markus Wilmsen, Birgit Niebuhr, Mike Reich, Hanspeter Funk, Josef Michalík, John W M Jagt, Peter J. Felder, Anne S. Schulp

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Cretaceous evolution of sedimentary basins in Central Europe was influenced by the interplay of two main processes: plate tectonics and eustatic sea-level change. Global plate-tectonic reconfiguration resulted in the widening of the Central Atlantic, the opening of the Bay of Biscay, and the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean causing a counter-clockwise rotation of Africa coeval with the closure of the Tethys Ocean. Convergence between the European and African plates led to the formation of the Alps and the Western Carpathians as a classic thrust orogen. Several orogenic phases can be distinguished. The Jurassic - Cretaceous, Eo-Alpine orogeny was followed by Meso- and Neo-Alpine deformational events (e.g. Faupl & Wagreich 2000; see also Froitzheim et al. 2008; Reicherter et al. 2008). During the Early Cretaceous, ongoing rifting of the North Sea Graben system and the resulting stress pattern produced a variety of smaller, partly isolated basins in Central Europe. The late Palaeozoic - early Mesozoic rifting in the North Sea ceased in late Early Cretaceous times and thermal subsidence prevailed in western and central Europe from the Albian to the Turonian. Elevated spreading rates along mid-ocean ridges and increased rates of intra-oceanic plateau volcanism resulted in the highest global sea level during Phanerozoic times (Haq et al. 1988; Hardenbol et al. 1998). The former margins of Early Cretaceous basins were flooded worldwide, and several new seaways connected the cold Boreal areas of the Arctic and western Siberia with the warm subtropical Tethys Ocean. Central Europe evolved into an extended epicontinental shelf sea with a variety of intrashelf basins. The palaeogeography of southern Central Europe is determined by the convergence of Europe and Africa and can be divided into: (1) a southern European passive margin, which comprising the Helvetic, the Outer Carpathians and other comparable European shelf units on continental crust (including Subpenninic units sensu Schmid et al. 2004); (2) the units of the Liguria-Piemont-Penninic ocean system; and (3) the northern margin of the Adriatic plate comprising the Austro-Alpine, the Inner Western Carpathians (Fatric, Tatric), and the Southern Alpine units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-997
Number of pages75
JournalGeology of Central Europe
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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