Original paper

Die Entwicklung der Alpen: Eine kurze Übersicht

[The evolution of the Alps: A short overview.]

Trümpy, Rudolf


Eine sehr konzentrierte Übersicht der Entwicklung der Alpen, vor allem von der Trias bis zum Miozän. Paläozoische Vorgeschichte; triadische Subsidenz; früh- bis mitteljurassisches prä-ozeanisches Rifting; mitteljurassische bis frühkretazische Öffnung der Ozeane; kretazische Deformation der ostalpinen und ultrapenninischen Decken; alttertiäre Subduktion und Kollision im Penninikum; der spätoligozäne bis neogene Einschub des Apulischen Indenters, mit Hebung, Längsstreckung und Anbau der beidseitigen Vorlandfalten- und Deckengürtel.


We present a very condensed summary on the evolution of the Alps. An English version, where the main structural features of the Alps are also outlined, is published in the Encyclopedia of Regional Geology (MOORES & FAIRBRIDGE, eds.). During Late Proterozoic and Paleozoic times, the history of the future Alps, excepting perhaps their most southeasterly parts, does not seem to differ in a significant way from that of neighbouring European regions. Subsidence started in the Triassic or latest Permian; the role of the Meliata oceanic tongue or sphenochasm is discussed. Pre-oceanic rifting by listric faults began in the earliest Jurassic (locally latest Triassic) and continued into the Middle Jurassic. The Alpine Penninic oceans were formed between mid-Jurassic and Early Cretaceous time, partly by spreading, partly in a transtensional setting. Flat detachment faults also occur. Late Early Cretaceous and Late Cretaceous deformation and metamorphism affected the southernmost part of the Penninic oceans, the Austroalpine and the Ultrapenninic nappes. The structuring of the Penninic units is mainly of Eocene age; with early décollement of cover nappes and with the complex folding of basement nappes, including the expulsion of high-pressure rocks. The underthrusting of the "Apulian indenter", in the late Oligocene and the Miocene, caused an E -- W, orogen-parallel extension of the Alps, the accentuation of the Western Alpine and Carpathian arcs and the addition of the External Zones, to the NW and to the SE, with thrusts directed toward their respective forelands. Topographic rise of the Alps occurred with a significant delay after the episodes of strongest crustal shortening.


Reviewdevelopmentstructural featuresProterozoicMesozoicTertiarypolyphase deformationtectonic styleorogenesis. Alps.