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Nappe tectonics in the south-eastern Rhenish Massif (Central European Variscides, Germany) – Plate interactions between Gondwana and Laurussia

The Lahn-Dill-Area, the Kellerwald and the Lindener Mark in the southeastern Rhenish Massif (Germany) are part of the Rhenohercynian Zone of the Central European Variscides. They contain various Devonian and Lower Carboniferous sandstones and greywackes, which differ significantly in their facies circumstances and fossil-content from surrounding autochthonous materials. U-Th-Pb- and Lu-Hf-analyses on detrital zircons of these allochthonous siliciclastic sediments indicate a provenance in the Saxothuringian zone and thus a Gondwanan hinterland. They show U-Pb-age clusters of ~530–700 Ma, ~1.8–2.2 Ga, ~2.5–2.7 Ga, and ~3.0–3.4 Ga. In contrast, samples from the autochthonous and par-autochthonous units of these areas show a provenance representative of Laurussia with debris primarily derived from Baltica and Avalonia with age clusters at ~400–450 Ma, 540–650 Ma, 1.0–1.2 Ga, ~1.4–1.5 Ga, ~1.7–2.2 Ga, and 2.3–2.9 Ga. These results, combined with own thin section analyses and geochemical data on volcanic rocks as well as revised biostratigraphy and paleobiogeography of Lower Devonian from the literature, led to the interpretation that the southeastern Rhenisch Massif is a nappe stack of Rhenohercynian and far transported Gondwana-related nappes. They were thrusted onto the autochthonous part of southern Laurussia during the Variscan orogeny by closing a wide Rheic Ocean.


Katja Mende1, Ulf Linnemann1, Heinz-Dieter Nesbor2, Peter Königshof3, Ulrich Jansen3, Mandy Zieger-Hofmann1, Axel Gerdes4
1Senckenberg Naturhistorische Sammlungen Dresden, Germany; 2Hessisches Landesamt für Naturschutz, Umwelt und Geologie, Germany; 3Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung Frankfurt, Germany; 4Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Germany
GeoBerlin 2023