Palaeozoic palaeogeography of the East European Craton (Poland) in the framework of global plate tectonics

Jan Golonka, Szczepan J. Porębski, Jan Barmuta, Bartosz Papiernik, Sławomir Bębenek, Maria Barmuta, Dariusz Botor, Kaja Pietsch, Tadeusz Słomka


Global palaeogeographic maps were constructed for eight time intervals in the Palaeozoic. The maps contain information concerning plate tectonics and palaeoenvironment during the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian and Carboniferous. The East European Craton belonged to the Palaeozoic Baltica Plate, which originated as a result of disintegration of the supercontinent Pannotia during the early Cambrian. Baltica included part of Poland and adjacent areas northeast of a line that extends between Scania and the Black Sea. This plate was located in the Southern Hemisphere and drifted northward during Early Palaeozoic time. The Early Ordovician was the time of maximum dispersion of continents during the Palaeozoic. Avalonia probably started to drift away from Gondwana and moved towards Baltica during Ordovician time. Between Gondwana, Baltica, Avalonia and Laurentia, a large longitudinal oceanic unit, known as the Rheic Ocean, was formed. Avalonia was probably sutured to Baltica by the end of the Ordovician or in the Early Silurian. This process was dominated by the strike-slip suturing of the two continents, rather than a full-scale continent-continent collision. Silurian was a time of Caledonian orogeny, closing of the Early Palaeozoic oceans, collision of Baltica with Avalonia and Laurentia and the assembly of the supercontinent Laurussia. The Variscan orogeny in Poland was caused by the collision of the Bohemian Massif plates and the Protocarpathian terrane with Laurussia. The Protocarpathian terrane acted as an indentor that caused thrust tectonics in the East European Platform, Holy Cross Mountains and the Lublin area.

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