World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Geology of Europe

Article Id: WHEBN0003167285
Reproduction Date:

Title: Geology of Europe  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Geology of Cyprus, Geology of Europe, Economy of Europe, Prehistory of the Balkans, Ukrainian Shield
Collection: Geology by Continent, Geology of Europe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Geology of Europe

Surficial geology of Europe

The geology of Europe is varied and complex, and gives rise to the wide variety of landscapes found across the continent, from the Scottish Highlands to the rolling plains of Hungary. Europe's most significant feature is the dichotomy between highland and mountainous Southern Europe and a vast, partially underwater, northern plain ranging from England in the west to the Ural Mountains in the east. These two halves are separated by the Pyrenees and the Alps-Carpathians mountain chain. The northern plains are delimited in the west by the Scandinavian Mountains and the mountainous parts of the British Isles. The southern mountainous region is bounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Major shallow water bodies submerging parts of the northern plains are the Celtic Sea the North Sea, the Baltic Sea complex and Barents Sea.

From the standpoint of plate tectonics, the ongoing northward drive of the African plate into the Eurasian plate in the Mediterranean basin is the most prominent aspect of the European scene today. The pressure exerted by the African plate is the overall cause of the rise of the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Carpathian mountains. Limestones and other sediments, the ancient floor of the Tethys Sea, are pushed high and now make up much of these ranges. A submarine back-arc basin develops south of Italy, which is one of several Mediterranean mini-continental fragments caught between the two plates. This buckling of the Earth's crust forces up Italy's mountains and stimulates active earthquake faults and volcanoes such as Vesuvius. Iberia, another separate terrain unit, has been rotated and emplaced against the rest of Europe by the plate collision.

Moving north from the Alps and other ranges, tectonic activity largely fades away in the stable Baltic craton. One exception to this trend is a hot spot, rising from the mantle underneath central Germany, which has been responsible in geologic time for volcanoes such as the Vogelsberg Mountains in Hesse and currently provides heat to hot springs and lakes in the region.


Europe consists of the following cratons and terranes and microcontinents:

See also

External links

  • Geology map of Europe
  • OneGeology-Europe
  • Maps showing the tectonic development of Europe
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.