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Paleotethys

Introduction | Middle Devonian | Early Permian | Legends | References
 

Introduction

There are still some confusions about what Tethys existed at what time. A consensus exists regarding the presence of a mainly Paleozoic ocean N of the Cimmerian continent(s), the Paleotethys, a younger late Paleozoic-Mesozoic ocean located S of this continent, the Neotethys, and finally a middle Jurassic ocean, the Alpine Tethys, an extension of the central Atlantic ocean in the western Tethyan regions. Additional late Paleozic to Mesozoic oceans complicate somewhat this simple picture.

Middle Devonian

Middle Devomian (400ma) reconstructions

Baltica and Avalonia have been accreted to Laurentia-Barentsia (Ba) and the western Kipchak arc accreted to Gondwana. The opening of Paleotethys separated the Hun superterrane from Gondawana. This opening took place in a context of back-arc spreading and slab roll-back of the Mauretanian-Rheic ocean.

The northern margin of Paleotethys consists of blocks which were accreted as terranes in the Variscan orogen: Aq, Aquitaine; Ar, Armorica; Ct, Cantabrian; DH, Dinaric-Hellenic; Ia, intra-Alpine (Adria, Calabria, Carnic, Austro-Carpathian); Kr, Karakum-Turan; nC, north China block; OM, Ossa-Morena; Sx, Saxo-Thuringian; Tr, south-Tarim, Pamir, Qaidam.

Cimmerian superterrane: blocks located between the southern margin of Paleotethys and the northern margin of Neotethys accreted to Eurasia during the early Cimmerian orogenic phase, from SW to NE: Si, Sicily-Tunisia; Ap, Apulia s.str.; HT, Hellenides-SW Taurides; Me: Menderes and Taurides: Ss, Sanandaj-Sirjan; Al, Alborz; Lt, Lut-Central-Iran; Af, Central Afghanistan; sT, South-Tibet; Ma, Malaysia-Sumatra.

Early Permian

Early Permian boundary (280 Ma) reconstruction

As the Paleotethys mid-ocean ridge is moving eastward, slab roll back of the western Paleotethys induces the collapse of the Variscan orogen in southern Europe. This will lead eventually to the opening of back-arc rifts in the active Eurasian margin (see figure 5).

See figure above for legend. Ic, Indochina; Kr, Karakum-Turan; Kz, Kazakhstania; nC, north-China; nT, north-Tibet; sC, south China; SM, Sibumasu; Tr, Tarim.

Legends

The legends of these maps are on this page

References

Stampfli, G.M., Vavassis, I., De Bono, A., Rosselet, F., Matti, B. and Bellini, M., 2003. Remnants of the Paleotethys oceanic suture-zone in the western Tethyan area. In: G. Cassinis and F.A. Decandia (Editors), Stratigraphic and Structural Evolution on the Late Carboniferous to Triassic Continental and Marine Successions in Tuscany (Italy): Regional Reports and General Correlation. Bolletino della Società Geologica Italiana, Volume speciale, 2: in press.

Stampfli, G.M., von Raumer, J. and Borel, G.D., 2002b. The Palaeozoic evolution of pre-Variscan terranes: From peri-Gondwana to the Variscan collision. In: J.R. Martinez-Catalan, R.D. Hatcher, R. Arenas and F. Diaz Garcia (Editors), Variscan Appalachian Dynamics: the building of the Upper Paleozoic basement. Geological Society of America Special Paper, 364: 263-280.

Stampfli, G.M. and Borel, G.D., 2002. A plate tectonic model for the Paleozoic and Mesozoic constrained by dynamic plate boundaries and restored synthetic oceanic isochrons. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 196: 17-33.

von Raumer, J., Stampfli, G.M., Borel, G.D. and Bussy, F., 2002. The organisation of pre-Variscan basement areas at the north-Gondwanan margin. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 91: 35-52.


von Raumer, J., Stampfli, G.M. and Bussy, F., 2003. Gondwana-derived microcontinents - the constituents of the Variscan and Alpine collisional orogens. Tectonophysics, 365: 7-22.


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