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The Alps, with their outstanding outcrop conditions, represent a superb natural laboratory for many geological processes, and have played a crucial role in the history of geology. This book gives an up-to-date and holistic overview of the key aspects of Alpine geology. After a brief presentation of the plate tectonic framework, the rock suites are discussed, starting with the pre-Triassic crystalline basement, followed by Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary sequences. The lithological description of the rock types is supplemented by a discussion of their paleogeographic and plate tectonic contexts. The book goes on to describe the structure of the Alps (including the Jura Mountains and the Alpine foreland to the north and south) illustrated by numerous cross-sections. The evolution of the Alps as a mountain chain incorporates a discussion of the Alpine metamorphic history and a compilation of orogenic timetables. The final sections cover the evolution of Alpine drainage patterns and the region’s glacial history. Readership: The book is essential reading for students and lecturers on Alpine courses and excursions, and all earth-scientists interested in the geology of the region.
The Alps are an arched mountain chain stretching 1500 km between Vienna and Graz in Austria and Genova in Italy. They resulted from the collision of the African and Laurasian plates during Mesozoic and Tertiary times. The high standard of knowledge attained over the last 30 years by the working groups on "Alpine Metamorphism" is well known and helped considerably to recognize pre-Mesozoic elements in the Alps. In Part I of this book the subdivision of the major Alpine units and pre-Mesozoic pal inspastic reconstructions are covered before discussion of the pre-Mesozoic geology in Parts II, III and IV It is understood that the Mesozoic and later events overprinted pre-existing structures veiling the earlier history and the nature of protoliths. Although the Alpine overprint does not facilitate the recognition of older struc tures, pre-Mesozoic basement units were recognized during the first beginnings of geological observations in the Alps, about 200 years ago. Fifty percent of the Alpine domain is underlain by basement units that have been unconformably covered since Permian and Mesozoic times. This basement appears today in a complex pattern among the Alpine structures. The history of their discovery and explanation, parallel with a growing sophistication of research methods, are the subject of the introductory chapter of Part II.
Volume 1 focuses on the evolution of Central Europe from the Precambrian to the Permian, a dynamic period which traces the formation of Central Europe from a series of microcontinents that separated from Gondwana through to the creation of Pangaea. Separate summary chapters on the Cadomian, Caledonian and Variscan orogenic events as well as on Palaeozoic magmatism provide an overview of the tectonic and magmatic evolution of the region. These descriptions sometimes extend beyond the borders of Central Europe to take in the Scottish and Irish Caledonides as well as the Palaeozoic successions in the Baltic region
Volume 2 provides an overview of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic evolution of Central Europe. This period commenced with the destruction of Pangaea and ended with the formation of the Alps and Carpathians and the subsequent Ice Ages. Separate summary chapters on the Permian to Cretaceous tectonics and the Alpine evolution are also included. The final chapter provides an overview of the fossils fuels, ore and industrial minerals in the region.
This text assumes no prior knowledge of geology and provides an introduction to the science and the place of geology in the world we live in. It covers of all aspects of geology, starting with a broad view of the Earth as a planet, and developing all the major themes of contemporary geology.
Murchison's authoritative study of 1849 which transformed contemporary understanding of European geology.

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