The significance of Gosau-type basins for the Late Cretaceous tectonic history of the Alpine-Carpathian Belt.

E. Willingshofer, F. Neubauer, S.A.P.L. Cloetingh

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    A key feature of Late Creataceous tectonics throughout the Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian (ALCAPA) region is the synchronous formation of sedimentary basins (Gosau basins) and exhumation of metamorphic domes. Initial subsidence, spatially varying in time (Cenomanian-Santonian), within Gosau-type basins is associated with the development of a fluvial-lacustrine to shallow marine environment and the deposition of conglomerates, sandstones, coal-bearing marls and rudist limestones were deposited. The progressive deepening of the marine basins is documented by a second subsidence pulse during the Campanian-Early Maastrichtian leading to the establishment of an open marine environment. Gosau basins on top of the Northern Calcareous Alps and equivalent nappes of the Western Carpathians which were located at or close to the northern to northwestern active margin of the Austroalpine realm (external basins) locally subsided below the CCD. In contrast a distinctly shallower water environment prevailed in Gosau basins in central areas of the actively evolving Alpine-Carpathian mountain chain (internal basins). Deposition of flysch-type deposits is common for the deep-water facies. Subsidence analysis of internal Gosau basins were performed and their mutual relationship to coevally exhuming metamorphic domes, documented by a number of geochronologic data, is emphasised. A compilation of these data revealed a diachronic evolution of the ALCAPA region. Major vertical movements post-dating nappe imbrication and metamorphism started first in the Tisza-Dacia related orogenic compartments (East-, South Carpathians and Apuseni Mts.) as early as Late Aptian, whereas exhumation and subsequent cooling of metamorphic crust in the East Alpine-West Carpathian domain occurs from the Cenomanian onward. This characteristic basement-basin relationship suggests a strong coupling between lithospheric and surface processes, largely controlled by the rheology of the orogenic system. Formation of internal Gosau basins is seen in context with collapse of thickened and gravitationally unstable continental crust.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)687-695
    JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth, Part A: Solid Earth and Geodesy
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


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