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Late Mesozoic to Palaeogene cooling history of the Thuringian Forest basement high and its southern periphery (Central Germany) revealed by fission-track dating

We present new results from a fission track (FT) dating approach on zircon and apatite from the Thuringian Forest, a prominent fault-bounded basement high in central Germany, and its southwestern periphery exposing Mesozoic strata. Samples were collected from exposures of igneous rocks as well as from lower to upper Permian (Rotliegend) continental red beds and volcanics recovered from a borehole southwest of the Thuringian Forest. Apatite FT ages range between 86 and 70 Ma, suggesting rock uplift associated with a well-documented and regionally important phase of NNE–SSW-directed intraplate contraction, resulting in spatially homogeneous removal of c. 3 km of Upper Palaeozoic to Mesozoic rocks. No change in apatite FT ages was detected across the regional-scale Franconian Fault system at the southwestern margin of the Thuringian Forest. Additionally, apatite FT ages of borehole samples southwest of the Thuringian Forest from depths between 9.6 and 2.7 km range from 57 to 18 Ma, suggesting post-Late Cretaceous cooling of this peripheral region. Our data hence support recent models of a continued large-scale domal uplift of Central Germany without verifiable or detectable involvement of individual faults.


Kamil Ustaszewski1, Manuel Thieme1, Fabian Jähne-Klingberg2
1Universität Jena, Germany; 2Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Hannover, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023