The Donbas Foldbelt: its relationships with the uninverted Donets segment of the Dniepr-Donets Basin, Ukraine.

S.M. Stovba, R.A. Stephenson

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    The Donbas Foldbelt (DF) is a thrust-faulted and folded, inverted, segment of the Dniepr-Donets Basin (DDB). It lies between the Scythian and East European platforms north of the Black Sea and is conventionally thought to have formed in the Early Permian as part of the late Palaeozoic Hercynian-Uralian orogenic frame of cratonic Europe. The DDB itself formed as a result of Late Devonian intracratonic rifting and contains a thick, up to 22 km, late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary succession. The deformed strata preserved at the erosional surface of the DF are mainly Carboniferous. The Donets segment of the DDB displays mild inversion structures that are transitional to those in the DF. Recently acquired regional seismic reflection data in the Donets part of the DDB allow these structures to be imaged in the subsurface for the first time. A widespread Early Permian unconformity occurring throughout the DDB is much more pronounced on its southern margin than on its northern one and appears to be related to profound uplift of the southern flank of the basin and the neighbouring Ukrainian Shield rather than to crustal shortening. Faults associated with the Early Permian unconformity are extensional in style. Gentle folds and other local structures in the southern flank and axis of the Donets segment are mainly located in areas associated with Early Permian salt movements. No significant development of compressional structures of Early Permian age can be seen in the seismic data where it is available. In contrast, there is ample evidence of latest Cretaceous-earliest Tertiary compressional deformation in the DDB, including the subsurface expression of structures along strike of the main folds of the DF. A review of geological evidence in the DF also indicates that the main period of shortening that can be definitely constrained in time is latest Cretaceous-earliest Tertiary. The eastern part of the DF records intense Late Triassic-aged (Cimmerian) deformation but none of clearly Permian age. It is tentatively concluded that the main phases of (trans)compressional tectonics forming the DF were Cimmerian and, especially, Alpine rather than Hercynian-Uralian.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)59-83
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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