Palaeogeographic evolution of northwestern Europe during the Upper Cenozoic

Brigitte VAN VLIET-LANOË, Noël VANDENBERGHE, Michel LAURENT, Benoît LAIGNEL, Agnès LAURIAT-RAGE, Stephen LOUWYE, Jean-Louis MANSY, Daniel MERCIER, Bernard HALLÉGOUËT, Pieter LAGA, Frédérique LAQUEMENT, Francis MEILLIEZ, Yannick MICHEL, Gérard MOGUEDET & Jean-Pierre VIDIER

en Geodiversitas 24 (3) - Pages 511-541

Published on 30 September 2002

This article is a part of the thematic issue Messinia event: palaeobiological and palaeoecological approaches

A re-analysis of the stratigraphy based on recent dating of palaeo-shores of Neogene to early Pleistocene ages is proposed within a geodynamic context in the Channel and Dover Strait areas. This sector of Europe is controlled by two main geological boundaries: to the North, the Variscan Overthrust and, to the South, the northern branch of the southern Armorican Shearing Zone. These two boundaries border a domain that seems to behave rather homogeneously on a large scale controlled by plate tectonics. Since the Paleogene shorelines have been subsiding North and South of this "Channel" region. Episodic uplift largely controlled the opened or closed status of the Dover Strait during late Zanclean, by reactivating Variscan structures. Re-analysis of post-Oligocene sandy formations shows that these regions have suffered long wavelength deformations during the Neogene. These deformations, slightly diachronous from South to North, affect the limits of the Miocene and Pliocene transgressions. The periods of maximum accommodation space for sedimentation are the late Tortonian and the late Piacenzian, both coinciding with tectonic relaxation events. They explain the micropalaeontological evolution of the micropalaeontological fauna of the Channel and southern North Sea during the considered time span.


Neogene, Quaternary, Dover Strait, English Channel, stratigraphy, palaeogeography, geomorphology, neotectonic, dating

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