Palaeogene and Neogene

Michael W. Rasser, Mathias Harzhauser, Olga Y. Anistratenko, Vitaliy V. Anistratenko, Davide Bassi, Mirko Belak, Jean Pierre Berger, Gianluca Bianchini, Safet Čičić, Vlasta Ćosović, Nela Doláková, Katica Drobne, Sorin Filipescu, Karl Gürs, Šárka Hladilová, Hazim Hrvatović, Bogomir Jelen, Jacek Robert Kasiński, Michal Kováč, Polona KraljTihomir Marjanac, E. Márton, Paolo Mietto, Alan Moro, András Nagymarosy, James H. Nebelsick, Slavomír Nehyba, Bojan Ogorelec, Nestor Oszczypko, Davor Pavelić, Rajko Pavlovec, Jernej Pavšič, Pavla Petrová, Marcin Piwocki, Marijan Poljak, Nevio Pugliese, Rejhana Redžepović, Helena Rifelj, Reinhard Roetzel, Dragomir Skaberne, L'Ubomír Sliva, Gerda Standke, Giorgio Tunis, Dionýz Vass, Michael Wagreich, Frank Wesselingh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Geologically, the Cenozoic represents the period when Africa and Europe were converging, with seafloor spreading taking place in the Atlantic only as far north as the Labrador Sea (between Greenland and North America). Additionally, numerous microplates in the Mediterranean area were compressed as a direct result of Africa-Europe convergence, gradually fusing together. This resulted in a shift in the palaeogeography of Europe from a marine archipelago to more continental environments; this change was also related to the rising Alpidic mountain chains. Around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Africa's movement and subduction beneath the European plate led to the final disintegration of the ancient Tethys Ocean. In addition to the emerging early Mediterranean Sea another relict of the closure of the Tethys was the vast Eurasian Paratethys Sea. At the beginning of the Cenozoic, mammals replaced reptiles as the dominant vertebrates. Central Europe is composed of two tectonically contrasting regions, namely a northern Variscan, and a southern Alpine Europe. The European Plate, a broad area of epicontinental sedimentation, essentially represented the stable European continent during the Cenozoic. The area, extending from the Atlantic shelves of Norway and the Shetland Islands through to eastern Poland and beyond, was separated from the Alpine-Carpathian chain by the Alpine-Carpathian Foreland Basin (= Molasse Basin) and its precursors as a part of the Palaeogene Tethys or Oligocene-Miocene Paratethys. The region encompasses the North Sea Basin, the Polish Lowlands, the Volhyno-Podolian Plate, the Upper Rhine Graben and the Helvetic units. To the south lay the Alps, a chain of mountains which formed during the multiphase Alpine Orogeny (see Froitzheim et al. 2008), and which can be traced eastwards into the Carpathians; this latter area is very different from the Alps mainly due to the presence of broad Neogene basins and extensive acidic to calc-alkaline volcanic activity. During the Palaeocene and Eocene, the Alpine system formed an archipelago. The North Alpine Foreland Basin was part of the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, a west-east trending basin located in front of the prograding nappes of the Alpine orogenic wedge. The Southern Alps, to the south of the Periadriatic Lineament, represent the northern extension of the Adriatic Microplate (together with the Eastern Alps, i.e. Austro-Alpine units). In Palaeogene times, they constituted the southern continuation of the Eastern Alps archipelago. The Cenozoic history of Central Europe is chronicled in a series of Palaeogene and Neogene basins present across the region. In addition to the more stable North Sea Basin, the majority of these basins were strongly influenced by compressive forces related to the ongoing evolution of the Alpine chain. These forces resulted in general uplift of Europe during the Cenozoic. The marginal position of the seas covering the region of Central Europe and the considerable synsedimentary geo-dynamic control resulted in incomplete stratigraphie successions with frequent unconformities, erosional surfaces and depositional gaps. Additionally, during the Palaeocene, Europe-Africa convergence paused and a major hot-spot developed in the Faeroe-Greenland area. This mantle plume caused thermal uplift and associated volcanism across a broad area extending from Great Britain to the west coast of Greenland. At the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, continental rupture occurred across this thermal bulge and ocean-floor spreading commenced between Greenland and Europe. Thus from Eocene times onwards, NW Europe became part of a thermally subsiding passive continental margin which moved progressively away from the hot-spot that continues today under Iceland. Cenozoic times were characterized by a gradual long-term fall in global sea levels. This broad pattern was overlain by high-frequency and high-amplitude short-term changes related to polar glaciations and the repeated development of continental icesheets in subpolar areas of the northern hemisphere, which were broadly related to the closure of the Panama Isthmus (Ziegler 1990). Glaciation commenced in Miocene times, with regional icesheets present from the Pliocene. These eustatic changes are broady reflected in the sedimentary record of western and Central Europe. The Oligocene and Miocene deposits of the region are mainly found in the North Sea area in the north, the Mediterranean Sea region in the south and the intermediate Paratethys Sea and its late Miocene to Pliocene successor Lake Pannon. At its maximum extent, Paratethys extended from the Rhône Basin in France towards Inner Asia. Subsequently, it was partitioned into a smaller western part, consisting of the Western and Central Paratethys, and the larger Eastern Paratethys. The Western Paratethys comprises the Rhône Basin and the Alpine Foreland Basin of Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. The Central Paratethys extends from the Vienna Basin in the west to the Carpathian Foreland in the east where it abuts the area of the Eastern Paratethys. Eurasian ecosystems and landscapes were impacted by a complex pattern of changing seaways and land-bridges between the Paratethys, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as the western Indo-Pacific. The geodynamic evolution of the region in Cenozoic times has resulted in marked biogeographic differentiation across the region. This has necessitated the establishment of different chronostratigraphic and geochronologic scales in order to facilitate cross-regional correlation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1139
Number of pages109
JournalGeology of Central Europe
Volume6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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Alps
North Sea
Central Europe
Bavaria
Panama
Southern Europe
Iceland
Vienna
Austria
Western Europe
Switzerland
Norway
Poland
time
France
Africa
Continental
Greenland
present
history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Rasser, M. W., Harzhauser, M., Anistratenko, O. Y., Anistratenko, V. V., Bassi, D., Belak, M., ... Wesselingh, F. (2008). Palaeogene and Neogene. Geology of Central Europe, 6(2), 1031-1139.

Palaeogene and Neogene. / Rasser, Michael W.; Harzhauser, Mathias; Anistratenko, Olga Y.; Anistratenko, Vitaliy V.; Bassi, Davide; Belak, Mirko; Berger, Jean Pierre; Bianchini, Gianluca; Čičić, Safet; Ćosović, Vlasta; Doláková, Nela; Drobne, Katica; Filipescu, Sorin; Gürs, Karl; Hladilová, Šárka; Hrvatović, Hazim; Jelen, Bogomir; Kasiński, Jacek Robert; Kováč, Michal; Kralj, Polona; Marjanac, Tihomir; Márton, E.; Mietto, Paolo; Moro, Alan; Nagymarosy, András; Nebelsick, James H.; Nehyba, Slavomír; Ogorelec, Bojan; Oszczypko, Nestor; Pavelić, Davor; Pavlovec, Rajko; Pavšič, Jernej; Petrová, Pavla; Piwocki, Marcin; Poljak, Marijan; Pugliese, Nevio; Redžepović, Rejhana; Rifelj, Helena; Roetzel, Reinhard; Skaberne, Dragomir; Sliva, L'Ubomír; Standke, Gerda; Tunis, Giorgio; Vass, Dionýz; Wagreich, Michael; Wesselingh, Frank.

In: Geology of Central Europe, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2008, p. 1031-1139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rasser, MW, Harzhauser, M, Anistratenko, OY, Anistratenko, VV, Bassi, D, Belak, M, Berger, JP, Bianchini, G, Čičić, S, Ćosović, V, Doláková, N, Drobne, K, Filipescu, S, Gürs, K, Hladilová, Š, Hrvatović, H, Jelen, B, Kasiński, JR, Kováč, M, Kralj, P, Marjanac, T, Márton, E, Mietto, P, Moro, A, Nagymarosy, A, Nebelsick, JH, Nehyba, S, Ogorelec, B, Oszczypko, N, Pavelić, D, Pavlovec, R, Pavšič, J, Petrová, P, Piwocki, M, Poljak, M, Pugliese, N, Redžepović, R, Rifelj, H, Roetzel, R, Skaberne, D, Sliva, LU, Standke, G, Tunis, G, Vass, D, Wagreich, M & Wesselingh, F 2008, 'Palaeogene and Neogene', Geology of Central Europe, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 1031-1139.
Rasser MW, Harzhauser M, Anistratenko OY, Anistratenko VV, Bassi D, Belak M et al. Palaeogene and Neogene. Geology of Central Europe. 2008;6(2):1031-1139.
Rasser, Michael W. ; Harzhauser, Mathias ; Anistratenko, Olga Y. ; Anistratenko, Vitaliy V. ; Bassi, Davide ; Belak, Mirko ; Berger, Jean Pierre ; Bianchini, Gianluca ; Čičić, Safet ; Ćosović, Vlasta ; Doláková, Nela ; Drobne, Katica ; Filipescu, Sorin ; Gürs, Karl ; Hladilová, Šárka ; Hrvatović, Hazim ; Jelen, Bogomir ; Kasiński, Jacek Robert ; Kováč, Michal ; Kralj, Polona ; Marjanac, Tihomir ; Márton, E. ; Mietto, Paolo ; Moro, Alan ; Nagymarosy, András ; Nebelsick, James H. ; Nehyba, Slavomír ; Ogorelec, Bojan ; Oszczypko, Nestor ; Pavelić, Davor ; Pavlovec, Rajko ; Pavšič, Jernej ; Petrová, Pavla ; Piwocki, Marcin ; Poljak, Marijan ; Pugliese, Nevio ; Redžepović, Rejhana ; Rifelj, Helena ; Roetzel, Reinhard ; Skaberne, Dragomir ; Sliva, L'Ubomír ; Standke, Gerda ; Tunis, Giorgio ; Vass, Dionýz ; Wagreich, Michael ; Wesselingh, Frank. / Palaeogene and Neogene. In: Geology of Central Europe. 2008 ; Vol. 6, No. 2. pp. 1031-1139.
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title = "Palaeogene and Neogene",
abstract = "Geologically, the Cenozoic represents the period when Africa and Europe were converging, with seafloor spreading taking place in the Atlantic only as far north as the Labrador Sea (between Greenland and North America). Additionally, numerous microplates in the Mediterranean area were compressed as a direct result of Africa-Europe convergence, gradually fusing together. This resulted in a shift in the palaeogeography of Europe from a marine archipelago to more continental environments; this change was also related to the rising Alpidic mountain chains. Around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Africa's movement and subduction beneath the European plate led to the final disintegration of the ancient Tethys Ocean. In addition to the emerging early Mediterranean Sea another relict of the closure of the Tethys was the vast Eurasian Paratethys Sea. At the beginning of the Cenozoic, mammals replaced reptiles as the dominant vertebrates. Central Europe is composed of two tectonically contrasting regions, namely a northern Variscan, and a southern Alpine Europe. The European Plate, a broad area of epicontinental sedimentation, essentially represented the stable European continent during the Cenozoic. The area, extending from the Atlantic shelves of Norway and the Shetland Islands through to eastern Poland and beyond, was separated from the Alpine-Carpathian chain by the Alpine-Carpathian Foreland Basin (= Molasse Basin) and its precursors as a part of the Palaeogene Tethys or Oligocene-Miocene Paratethys. The region encompasses the North Sea Basin, the Polish Lowlands, the Volhyno-Podolian Plate, the Upper Rhine Graben and the Helvetic units. To the south lay the Alps, a chain of mountains which formed during the multiphase Alpine Orogeny (see Froitzheim et al. 2008), and which can be traced eastwards into the Carpathians; this latter area is very different from the Alps mainly due to the presence of broad Neogene basins and extensive acidic to calc-alkaline volcanic activity. During the Palaeocene and Eocene, the Alpine system formed an archipelago. The North Alpine Foreland Basin was part of the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, a west-east trending basin located in front of the prograding nappes of the Alpine orogenic wedge. The Southern Alps, to the south of the Periadriatic Lineament, represent the northern extension of the Adriatic Microplate (together with the Eastern Alps, i.e. Austro-Alpine units). In Palaeogene times, they constituted the southern continuation of the Eastern Alps archipelago. The Cenozoic history of Central Europe is chronicled in a series of Palaeogene and Neogene basins present across the region. In addition to the more stable North Sea Basin, the majority of these basins were strongly influenced by compressive forces related to the ongoing evolution of the Alpine chain. These forces resulted in general uplift of Europe during the Cenozoic. The marginal position of the seas covering the region of Central Europe and the considerable synsedimentary geo-dynamic control resulted in incomplete stratigraphie successions with frequent unconformities, erosional surfaces and depositional gaps. Additionally, during the Palaeocene, Europe-Africa convergence paused and a major hot-spot developed in the Faeroe-Greenland area. This mantle plume caused thermal uplift and associated volcanism across a broad area extending from Great Britain to the west coast of Greenland. At the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, continental rupture occurred across this thermal bulge and ocean-floor spreading commenced between Greenland and Europe. Thus from Eocene times onwards, NW Europe became part of a thermally subsiding passive continental margin which moved progressively away from the hot-spot that continues today under Iceland. Cenozoic times were characterized by a gradual long-term fall in global sea levels. This broad pattern was overlain by high-frequency and high-amplitude short-term changes related to polar glaciations and the repeated development of continental icesheets in subpolar areas of the northern hemisphere, which were broadly related to the closure of the Panama Isthmus (Ziegler 1990). Glaciation commenced in Miocene times, with regional icesheets present from the Pliocene. These eustatic changes are broady reflected in the sedimentary record of western and Central Europe. The Oligocene and Miocene deposits of the region are mainly found in the North Sea area in the north, the Mediterranean Sea region in the south and the intermediate Paratethys Sea and its late Miocene to Pliocene successor Lake Pannon. At its maximum extent, Paratethys extended from the Rh{\^o}ne Basin in France towards Inner Asia. Subsequently, it was partitioned into a smaller western part, consisting of the Western and Central Paratethys, and the larger Eastern Paratethys. The Western Paratethys comprises the Rh{\^o}ne Basin and the Alpine Foreland Basin of Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. The Central Paratethys extends from the Vienna Basin in the west to the Carpathian Foreland in the east where it abuts the area of the Eastern Paratethys. Eurasian ecosystems and landscapes were impacted by a complex pattern of changing seaways and land-bridges between the Paratethys, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as the western Indo-Pacific. The geodynamic evolution of the region in Cenozoic times has resulted in marked biogeographic differentiation across the region. This has necessitated the establishment of different chronostratigraphic and geochronologic scales in order to facilitate cross-regional correlation.",
author = "Rasser, {Michael W.} and Mathias Harzhauser and Anistratenko, {Olga Y.} and Anistratenko, {Vitaliy V.} and Davide Bassi and Mirko Belak and Berger, {Jean Pierre} and Gianluca Bianchini and Safet Čičić and Vlasta Ćosović and Nela Dol{\'a}kov{\'a} and Katica Drobne and Sorin Filipescu and Karl G{\"u}rs and Š{\'a}rka Hladilov{\'a} and Hazim Hrvatović and Bogomir Jelen and Kasiński, {Jacek Robert} and Michal Kov{\'a}č and Polona Kralj and Tihomir Marjanac and E. M{\'a}rton and Paolo Mietto and Alan Moro and Andr{\'a}s Nagymarosy and Nebelsick, {James H.} and Slavom{\'i}r Nehyba and Bojan Ogorelec and Nestor Oszczypko and Davor Pavelić and Rajko Pavlovec and Jernej Pavšič and Pavla Petrov{\'a} and Marcin Piwocki and Marijan Poljak and Nevio Pugliese and Rejhana Redžepović and Helena Rifelj and Reinhard Roetzel and Dragomir Skaberne and L'Ubom{\'i}r Sliva and Gerda Standke and Giorgio Tunis and Dion{\'y}z Vass and Michael Wagreich and Frank Wesselingh",
year = "2008",
language = "English",
volume = "6",
pages = "1031--1139",
journal = "Central Europe",
issn = "1479-0963",
publisher = "Maney Publishing",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Palaeogene and Neogene

AU - Rasser, Michael W.

AU - Harzhauser, Mathias

AU - Anistratenko, Olga Y.

AU - Anistratenko, Vitaliy V.

AU - Bassi, Davide

AU - Belak, Mirko

AU - Berger, Jean Pierre

AU - Bianchini, Gianluca

AU - Čičić, Safet

AU - Ćosović, Vlasta

AU - Doláková, Nela

AU - Drobne, Katica

AU - Filipescu, Sorin

AU - Gürs, Karl

AU - Hladilová, Šárka

AU - Hrvatović, Hazim

AU - Jelen, Bogomir

AU - Kasiński, Jacek Robert

AU - Kováč, Michal

AU - Kralj, Polona

AU - Marjanac, Tihomir

AU - Márton, E.

AU - Mietto, Paolo

AU - Moro, Alan

AU - Nagymarosy, András

AU - Nebelsick, James H.

AU - Nehyba, Slavomír

AU - Ogorelec, Bojan

AU - Oszczypko, Nestor

AU - Pavelić, Davor

AU - Pavlovec, Rajko

AU - Pavšič, Jernej

AU - Petrová, Pavla

AU - Piwocki, Marcin

AU - Poljak, Marijan

AU - Pugliese, Nevio

AU - Redžepović, Rejhana

AU - Rifelj, Helena

AU - Roetzel, Reinhard

AU - Skaberne, Dragomir

AU - Sliva, L'Ubomír

AU - Standke, Gerda

AU - Tunis, Giorgio

AU - Vass, Dionýz

AU - Wagreich, Michael

AU - Wesselingh, Frank

PY - 2008

Y1 - 2008

N2 - Geologically, the Cenozoic represents the period when Africa and Europe were converging, with seafloor spreading taking place in the Atlantic only as far north as the Labrador Sea (between Greenland and North America). Additionally, numerous microplates in the Mediterranean area were compressed as a direct result of Africa-Europe convergence, gradually fusing together. This resulted in a shift in the palaeogeography of Europe from a marine archipelago to more continental environments; this change was also related to the rising Alpidic mountain chains. Around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Africa's movement and subduction beneath the European plate led to the final disintegration of the ancient Tethys Ocean. In addition to the emerging early Mediterranean Sea another relict of the closure of the Tethys was the vast Eurasian Paratethys Sea. At the beginning of the Cenozoic, mammals replaced reptiles as the dominant vertebrates. Central Europe is composed of two tectonically contrasting regions, namely a northern Variscan, and a southern Alpine Europe. The European Plate, a broad area of epicontinental sedimentation, essentially represented the stable European continent during the Cenozoic. The area, extending from the Atlantic shelves of Norway and the Shetland Islands through to eastern Poland and beyond, was separated from the Alpine-Carpathian chain by the Alpine-Carpathian Foreland Basin (= Molasse Basin) and its precursors as a part of the Palaeogene Tethys or Oligocene-Miocene Paratethys. The region encompasses the North Sea Basin, the Polish Lowlands, the Volhyno-Podolian Plate, the Upper Rhine Graben and the Helvetic units. To the south lay the Alps, a chain of mountains which formed during the multiphase Alpine Orogeny (see Froitzheim et al. 2008), and which can be traced eastwards into the Carpathians; this latter area is very different from the Alps mainly due to the presence of broad Neogene basins and extensive acidic to calc-alkaline volcanic activity. During the Palaeocene and Eocene, the Alpine system formed an archipelago. The North Alpine Foreland Basin was part of the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, a west-east trending basin located in front of the prograding nappes of the Alpine orogenic wedge. The Southern Alps, to the south of the Periadriatic Lineament, represent the northern extension of the Adriatic Microplate (together with the Eastern Alps, i.e. Austro-Alpine units). In Palaeogene times, they constituted the southern continuation of the Eastern Alps archipelago. The Cenozoic history of Central Europe is chronicled in a series of Palaeogene and Neogene basins present across the region. In addition to the more stable North Sea Basin, the majority of these basins were strongly influenced by compressive forces related to the ongoing evolution of the Alpine chain. These forces resulted in general uplift of Europe during the Cenozoic. The marginal position of the seas covering the region of Central Europe and the considerable synsedimentary geo-dynamic control resulted in incomplete stratigraphie successions with frequent unconformities, erosional surfaces and depositional gaps. Additionally, during the Palaeocene, Europe-Africa convergence paused and a major hot-spot developed in the Faeroe-Greenland area. This mantle plume caused thermal uplift and associated volcanism across a broad area extending from Great Britain to the west coast of Greenland. At the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, continental rupture occurred across this thermal bulge and ocean-floor spreading commenced between Greenland and Europe. Thus from Eocene times onwards, NW Europe became part of a thermally subsiding passive continental margin which moved progressively away from the hot-spot that continues today under Iceland. Cenozoic times were characterized by a gradual long-term fall in global sea levels. This broad pattern was overlain by high-frequency and high-amplitude short-term changes related to polar glaciations and the repeated development of continental icesheets in subpolar areas of the northern hemisphere, which were broadly related to the closure of the Panama Isthmus (Ziegler 1990). Glaciation commenced in Miocene times, with regional icesheets present from the Pliocene. These eustatic changes are broady reflected in the sedimentary record of western and Central Europe. The Oligocene and Miocene deposits of the region are mainly found in the North Sea area in the north, the Mediterranean Sea region in the south and the intermediate Paratethys Sea and its late Miocene to Pliocene successor Lake Pannon. At its maximum extent, Paratethys extended from the Rhône Basin in France towards Inner Asia. Subsequently, it was partitioned into a smaller western part, consisting of the Western and Central Paratethys, and the larger Eastern Paratethys. The Western Paratethys comprises the Rhône Basin and the Alpine Foreland Basin of Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. The Central Paratethys extends from the Vienna Basin in the west to the Carpathian Foreland in the east where it abuts the area of the Eastern Paratethys. Eurasian ecosystems and landscapes were impacted by a complex pattern of changing seaways and land-bridges between the Paratethys, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as the western Indo-Pacific. The geodynamic evolution of the region in Cenozoic times has resulted in marked biogeographic differentiation across the region. This has necessitated the establishment of different chronostratigraphic and geochronologic scales in order to facilitate cross-regional correlation.

AB - Geologically, the Cenozoic represents the period when Africa and Europe were converging, with seafloor spreading taking place in the Atlantic only as far north as the Labrador Sea (between Greenland and North America). Additionally, numerous microplates in the Mediterranean area were compressed as a direct result of Africa-Europe convergence, gradually fusing together. This resulted in a shift in the palaeogeography of Europe from a marine archipelago to more continental environments; this change was also related to the rising Alpidic mountain chains. Around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Africa's movement and subduction beneath the European plate led to the final disintegration of the ancient Tethys Ocean. In addition to the emerging early Mediterranean Sea another relict of the closure of the Tethys was the vast Eurasian Paratethys Sea. At the beginning of the Cenozoic, mammals replaced reptiles as the dominant vertebrates. Central Europe is composed of two tectonically contrasting regions, namely a northern Variscan, and a southern Alpine Europe. The European Plate, a broad area of epicontinental sedimentation, essentially represented the stable European continent during the Cenozoic. The area, extending from the Atlantic shelves of Norway and the Shetland Islands through to eastern Poland and beyond, was separated from the Alpine-Carpathian chain by the Alpine-Carpathian Foreland Basin (= Molasse Basin) and its precursors as a part of the Palaeogene Tethys or Oligocene-Miocene Paratethys. The region encompasses the North Sea Basin, the Polish Lowlands, the Volhyno-Podolian Plate, the Upper Rhine Graben and the Helvetic units. To the south lay the Alps, a chain of mountains which formed during the multiphase Alpine Orogeny (see Froitzheim et al. 2008), and which can be traced eastwards into the Carpathians; this latter area is very different from the Alps mainly due to the presence of broad Neogene basins and extensive acidic to calc-alkaline volcanic activity. During the Palaeocene and Eocene, the Alpine system formed an archipelago. The North Alpine Foreland Basin was part of the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, a west-east trending basin located in front of the prograding nappes of the Alpine orogenic wedge. The Southern Alps, to the south of the Periadriatic Lineament, represent the northern extension of the Adriatic Microplate (together with the Eastern Alps, i.e. Austro-Alpine units). In Palaeogene times, they constituted the southern continuation of the Eastern Alps archipelago. The Cenozoic history of Central Europe is chronicled in a series of Palaeogene and Neogene basins present across the region. In addition to the more stable North Sea Basin, the majority of these basins were strongly influenced by compressive forces related to the ongoing evolution of the Alpine chain. These forces resulted in general uplift of Europe during the Cenozoic. The marginal position of the seas covering the region of Central Europe and the considerable synsedimentary geo-dynamic control resulted in incomplete stratigraphie successions with frequent unconformities, erosional surfaces and depositional gaps. Additionally, during the Palaeocene, Europe-Africa convergence paused and a major hot-spot developed in the Faeroe-Greenland area. This mantle plume caused thermal uplift and associated volcanism across a broad area extending from Great Britain to the west coast of Greenland. At the Palaeocene-Eocene boundary, continental rupture occurred across this thermal bulge and ocean-floor spreading commenced between Greenland and Europe. Thus from Eocene times onwards, NW Europe became part of a thermally subsiding passive continental margin which moved progressively away from the hot-spot that continues today under Iceland. Cenozoic times were characterized by a gradual long-term fall in global sea levels. This broad pattern was overlain by high-frequency and high-amplitude short-term changes related to polar glaciations and the repeated development of continental icesheets in subpolar areas of the northern hemisphere, which were broadly related to the closure of the Panama Isthmus (Ziegler 1990). Glaciation commenced in Miocene times, with regional icesheets present from the Pliocene. These eustatic changes are broady reflected in the sedimentary record of western and Central Europe. The Oligocene and Miocene deposits of the region are mainly found in the North Sea area in the north, the Mediterranean Sea region in the south and the intermediate Paratethys Sea and its late Miocene to Pliocene successor Lake Pannon. At its maximum extent, Paratethys extended from the Rhône Basin in France towards Inner Asia. Subsequently, it was partitioned into a smaller western part, consisting of the Western and Central Paratethys, and the larger Eastern Paratethys. The Western Paratethys comprises the Rhône Basin and the Alpine Foreland Basin of Switzerland, Bavaria and Austria. The Central Paratethys extends from the Vienna Basin in the west to the Carpathian Foreland in the east where it abuts the area of the Eastern Paratethys. Eurasian ecosystems and landscapes were impacted by a complex pattern of changing seaways and land-bridges between the Paratethys, the North Sea and the Mediterranean, as well as the western Indo-Pacific. The geodynamic evolution of the region in Cenozoic times has resulted in marked biogeographic differentiation across the region. This has necessitated the establishment of different chronostratigraphic and geochronologic scales in order to facilitate cross-regional correlation.

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