|Elevation||2,655 m (8,711 ft)|
|Countries||Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary|
|Regions||Lesser Poland, Moravia and Weinviertel|
|Parent range||Carpathian Mountains|
|Type of rock||granite, limestone, sandstone, andesite|
The Western Carpathians are a mountain range and geomorphological province that forms the western part of the Carpathian Mountains.
The mountain belt stretches from the Low Beskids range of the Eastern Carpathians along the border of Poland with Slovakia toward the Moravian region of the Czech Republic and the Austrian Weinviertel. In the south the North Hungarian Mountains cover northern Hungary. The area of the Western Carpathians comprises about 70,000 km². The highest elevation is the Gerlachovský štít (2,655m).
Most of the perimeter of the Western Carpathians is quite sharply defined by valleys. To the northwest and north they are separated from the Bohemian Massif by the Forecarpathian Lowland and the Lesser Poland Upland; to the west the Moravian Gate leads over to the Sudetes. To the south the mountain chain falls away towards the Pannonian Plain, a large plain situated between the Alps, the Dinaric Alps, and the main mass of the Eastern Carpathians.
The boundary between the Western Carpathians and the Eastern Alps is formed by the Vienna Basin, the Hainburg Hills of the Little Carpathians at Devín Gate, and a gap carved by the Danube. To the east and northeast the mountains are bounded by the East Slovak and Sandomierz Basins, but it is less striking and passes through highland terrain that continues to the Eastern Carpathians.
The Western Carpathians are part of the northern branch of alpine orogeny, which was formed by the closure of the Tethys Ocean millions of years ago.
The Western Carpathians are part of the Alpide belt. To the west they longitudinally join the Alps, but the exact boundary is hidden under the Neogene sedimentary fill of the Vienna Basin. To the east, their boundary with the Eastern Carpathians is the valley of the Hornád or Uzh River. The northern boundary with the East European craton and Bohemian Massif is well marked by the thrust of nappes of the Carpathian flysch belt. The southern boundary is less clear, because later postorogenetic evolution caused formation of basins, penetrating the mountain chain non-uniformly.
The Western Carpathians have a complicated geological structure, that has been formed since the Paleozoic era. The oldest Paleozoic rocks experienced the first stage of deformation during the Hercynian orogeny, but younger Alpine overprint is common. Alpine orogeny affected the area in several stages from Jurassic to Neogene. During this period, parts of Tethys Ocean were subducted under the African plate and Western Carpathian blocks were thrust over the margin of the Eurasian plate.
Tectonic units of the Western Carpathians are arranged in belt-like order, with the external units in the north and internal units in the south. Alpine evolution of the Western Carpathians is dominated by extension and closure of two or three oceanic domains:Triassic-Jurassic Meliata-Halstatt Ocean, Jurassic-Cretaceous Piemont-Vahic Ocean/Zone and Cretaceous-Tertiary Valais-Magura Ocean. After a subduction of the Meliata Ocean, the Internal Western Carpathians were formed. Suturing of Vahic domain finalized thrusting in the Central Western Carpathians, and consuming the crust of Carpathian Flysch Basins caused the formation of the External West Carpathian accretionary wedge (Flysch Belt).
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Roughly 1,500 km (932 mi) long, it is the third-longest European mountain range after the Urals at 2,500 km (1,553 mi) and the Scandinavian Mountains at 1,700 km (1,056 mi). The range stretches from the far eastern Czech Republic (3%) in the northwest through Slovakia (17%), Poland (10%), Hungary (4%) and Ukraine (10%) Serbia (5%) and Romania (50%) in the southeast. The highest range within the Carpathians is known as the Tatra mountains in Slovakia and Poland, where the highest peaks exceed 2,600 m (8,530 ft). The second-highest range is the Southern Carpathians in Romania, where the highest peaks range between 2,500 m (8,202 ft) and 2,550 m (8,366 ft).
The Alps form part of a Cenozoic orogenic belt of mountain chains, called the Alpide belt, that stretches through southern Europe and Asia from the Atlantic all the way to the Himalayas. This belt of mountain chains was formed during the Alpine orogeny. A gap in these mountain chains in central Europe separates the Alps from the Carpathians to the east. Orogeny took place continuously and tectonic subsidence has produced the gaps in between.
The Tethys Ocean, also called the Tethys Sea or the Neo-Tethys, was an ocean during much of the Mesozoic Era located between the ancient continents of Gondwana and Laurasia, before the opening of the Indian and Atlantic oceans during the Cretaceous Period.
The Penninic nappes or the Penninicum, commonly abbreviated as Penninic, are one of three nappe stacks and geological zones in which the Alps can be divided. In the western Alps the Penninic nappes are more obviously present than in the eastern Alps, where they crop out as a narrow band. The name Penninic is derived from the Pennine Alps, an area in which rocks from the Penninic nappes are abundant.
The Fatra-Tatra Area or the Tatra-Fatra Belt of core mountains is a part of the Inner Western Carpathians, a subprovince of the Western Carpathians. Most of the area lies in Slovakia with small parts reaching into Austria and Poland. The highest summit of the whole Carpathians, the Gerlachovský štít at 2,655 m (8,711 ft), lies in the High Tatras range which belongs to this area.
The Pieniny Klippen Belt is in geology a tectonically and orographically remarkable zone in the Western Carpathians, with a very complex geological structure. It is a narrow and extremely long north banded zone of extreme shortening and sub-vertical strike-slip fault zone, with complex geological history, where only fragments of individual strata and facies are preserved. The Pieniny Klippen Belt is considered one of the main tectonic sutures of the Carpathians and forms the boundary between the Outer and Central Western Carpathians.
The Western Carpathians are an arc-shaped mountain range, the northern branch of the Alpine-Himalayan fold and thrust system called the Alpide belt, which evolved during the Alpine orogeny. In particular, their pre-Cenozoic evolution is very similar to that of the Eastern Alps, and they constitute a transition between the Eastern Alps and the Eastern Carpathians.
The Pyrenees are a 430-kilometre-long, roughly east–west striking, intracontinental mountain chain that divide France, Spain, and Andorra. The belt has an extended, polycyclic geological evolution dating back to the Precambrian. The chain's present configuration is due to the collision between the microcontinent Iberia and the southwestern promontory of the European Plate. The two continents were approaching each other since the onset of the Upper Cretaceous (Albian/Cenomanian) about 100 million years ago and were consequently colliding during the Paleogene (Eocene/Oligocene) 55 to 25 million years ago. After its uplift, the chain experienced intense erosion and isostatic readjustments. A cross-section through the chain shows an asymmetric flower-like structure with steeper dips on the French side. The Pyrenees are not solely the result of compressional forces, but also show an important sinistral shearing.
The regional geology of Serbia describes the geologic structure and history inside the borders of Serbia.
The Carpathian Flysch Belt is an arcuate tectonic zone included in the megastructural elevation of the Carpathians on the external periphery of the mountain chain. Geomorphologically it is a portion of Outer Carpathians. Geologically it is a thin-skinned thrust belt or accretionary wedge, formed by rootles nappes consisting of so-called flysch - alternating marine deposits of claystones, shales and sandstones which were detached from their substratum and moved tens of kilometers to the north (generally). The Flysch Belt is together with Neogene volcanic complexes only tectonic zone occurring along the whole Carpathian arc.
The main points that are discussed in the geology of Iran include the study of the geological and structural units or zones; stratigraphy; magmatism and igneous rocks; ophiolite series and ultramafic rocks; and orogenic events in Iran.
The geology of Germany is heavily influenced by several phases of orogeny in the Paleozoic and the Cenozoic, by sedimentation in shelf seas and epicontinental seas and on plains in the Permian and Mesozoic as well as by the Quaternary glaciations.
The geology of Austria consists of Precambrian rocks and minerals together with younger marine sedimentary rocks uplifted by the Alpine orogeny.
The geology of Romania is structurally complex, with evidence of past crustal movements and the incorporation of different blocks or platforms to the edge of Europe, driving recent mountain building of the Carpathian Mountains. Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east.
The geology of Slovakia is structurally complex, with a highly varied array of mountain ranges and belts largely formed during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
The geology of Croatia includes Precambrian rocks, covered over by younger sedimentary rocks and deformed or superimposed by tectonic activity.
The geology of Greece is highly structurally complex due to its position at the junction between the European and African tectonic plates.
The geology of the Czech Republic is highly tectonically complex, split between the Western Carpathian Mountains and the Bohemian Massif.
The geology of Italy includes mountain ranges such as the Alps, the Dolomites and the Apennines formed from the uplift of igneous and primarily marine sedimentary rocks all formed since the Paleozoic. Some active volcanoes are located in Insular Italy.
The Krempachy Marl Formation is a geological formation in Poland and Slovakia, dating to about 179 million years ago, and covering the middle Toarcian stage of the Jurassic Period. It is among the most important formations of the Toarcian boundary on the Carpathian realm, being the regional equivalent of the Posidonia Shale.
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