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Geophysical signature of the early Carboniferous Saxothuringian Basin, Central European Variscides

The Early Carboniferous Saxothuringian Basin (SXB) is exposed on the northwestern side of the Bohemian Massif in Central Europe. SXB is bordered by the Mid-German Crystalline Zone (MGCZ) to the NW and N, by the Lausitz block and the Elbe Zone to the NE and E and the Tepla-Barrandian to the SE. Basin boundaries are defined based on the structural, metamorphic and stratigraphic observations of the exposed Variscan and pre-Variscan units in the Bohemian Massif. However, to the SW across the Franconian Fault System (FFS), Permian-Mesozoic sedimentary rocks cover the Variscan units including the possible SW extension of the SXB.

In this study we integrate geophysical (gravity, magnetic and seismic reflections) and well data to investigate the SW extension of the SXB and discuss implications for the Variscan tectonics. Our observations and forward modeling results show that the remnant of SXB extends about 60 km to the W-SW from the present-day FFS and terminates near the NE part of the Kraichgau Terrane. We also show that SXB units are most likely preserved below the Permo-Mesozoic units farther south, west of the Fichtelgebirge area. Based on our study, we discuss that the SXB developed as a low-strain and isolated area in the Saxothuringian Zone, receiving erosional material from the surrounding high-strain and uplifted areas during the Variscan tectonics in early Carboniferous, before being overfilled by the Middle Mississippian (Visean) time.


Hamed Fazlikhani1, Uwe Kroner2, Harald Stollhofen1, Wolfgang Bauer1, Daniel Koehn1
1Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany; 2Institut für Geologie, TU Bergakademie Freiberg
GeoBerlin 2023