Adriatic Plate

The Adriatic or Apulian Plate is a small tectonic plate carrying primarily continental crust that broke away from the African plate along a large transform fault in the Cretaceous period. The name Adriatic Plate is usually used when referring to the northern part of the plate. This part of the plate was deformed during the Alpine orogeny, when the Adriatic/Apulian Plate collided with the Eurasian plate.

The Adriatic/Apulian Plate is thought to still move independently of the Eurasian Plate in NNE direction with a small component of counter-clockwise rotation.[1] The fault zone that separates the two is the Periadriatic Seam that runs through the Alps. Studies indicate that in addition to deforming, the Eurasian continental crust has actually subducted to some extent below the Adriatic/Apulian Plate, an unusual circumstance in plate tectonics. Oceanic crust of the African Plate is also subducting under the Adriatic/Apulian Plate off the western and southern coasts of the Italian Peninsula, creating a berm of assorted debris which rises from the seafloor and continues onshore. This subduction is also responsible for the volcanics of southern Italy.

The eastern Italian Peninsula, the coastal part of Slovenia, Istria, Malta and the Adriatic Sea are on the Adriatic/Apulian Plate. Mesozoic sedimentary rocks deposited on the plate include the limestones that form the Southern Calcareous Alps.

Adriatic Plate
Adriatic microplate boundaries


  1. ^ R. Devoti; C. Ferraro; E. Gueguen; R. Lanotte; V. Luceri; A. Nardi; R. Pacione; P. Rutigliano; C. Sciarretta; F. Vespe (March 2002). "Geodetic control on recent tectonic movements in the central Mediterranean area". Tectonophysics. 346 (3–4): 151–167. Bibcode:2002Tectp.346..151D. doi:10.1016/S0040-1951(01)00277-3.
Aegean Sea Plate

The Aegean Sea Plate (also called the Hellenic Plate or Aegean Plate) is a small tectonic plate located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea under southern Greece and far western Turkey. Its southern edge is a subduction zone south of Crete, where the African Plate is being swept under the Aegean Sea Plate. To the north is the Eurasian Plate, which is a divergent boundary responsible for the formation of the Gulf of Corinth.

Austroalpine nappes

The Austroalpine nappes are a geological nappe stack in the European Alps. The Alps contain three such stacks, of which the Austroalpine nappes are structurally on top of the other two (meaning they were thrusted over the other two). The name Austroalpine means Southern Alpine, because these nappes crop out mainly in the Eastern Alps (the Alps east of the line Lake Constance - Chur – Lake Como).

Because the Austroalpine nappes consist of material from the former Apulian or Adriatic plate, that was thrusted over the European plate, they are called allochthon nappes. In comparison with the other nappe stacks, they have experienced lower-grade metamorphism, which distinguishes them clearly from the Penninic nappes on which they rest.

Baltic Plate

The Baltic Plate was an ancient tectonic plate that existed from the Cambrian Period to the Carboniferous Period. The Baltic Plate collided against Siberia, to form the Ural Mountains about 280 million years ago. The Baltic Plate, however, fused onto the Eurasian Plate when the Baltic Plate collided against Siberia when the Ural Mountains were completely formed. The Baltic Plate contained Baltica and the Baltic Shield which is now located in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Dent Blanche nappe

The Dent Blanche nappe or Dent Blanche klippe is a geologic nappe and klippe that crops out in the Pennine Alps. The nappe is tectonostratigraphically on top of the Penninic nappes and by most researchers seen as Austroalpine.

The nappe is named after the mountain Dent Blanche, which is formed by rocks of the nappe. The most famous outcrop of the nappe is the Matterhorn, which is made of an erosional remnant (klippe) of Dent Blanche material lying on top of Penninic ophiolites (Zermatt-Saas zone). Because of this the Matterhorn came from Africa, as the Austroalpine nappes are fragments of the African plate.

Ebro Basin

The Ebro Basin was a foreland basin that formed to the south of the Pyrenees during the Paleogene. It was also limited to the southeast by the Catalan Coastal Ranges. It began as a fully marine basin with connections to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, before becoming an endorheic basin during the Late Eocene. In the Miocene the basin was captured by a precursor to the Ebro river and the new drainage system that developed eroded away much of the basin fill, except for resistant lithologies, such as the conglomerates at Montserrat.

Geology of Andorra

Andorra is located in the Axial Zone of the central Pyrenees mountain range in south western Europe, which means that it has intensely folded and thrusted rocks formed when the Iberian peninsula was rotated onto the European continent.

Geology of Austria

The geology of Austria consists of Precambrian rocks and minerals together with younger marine sedimentary rocks uplifted by the Alpine orogeny.

Geology of Italy

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.

Geology of Svalbard

The geology of Svalbard encompasses the geological description of rock types found in Svalbard, and the associated tectonics and sedimentological history of soils and rocks. The geological exploration of Svalbard is an ongoing activity, and recent understandings may differ from earlier interpretations.

Geology of the Alps

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 Alps arose as a result of the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, in which the Alpine Tethys, which was formerly in between these continents, disappeared. Enormous stress was exerted on sediments of the Alpine Tethys basin and its Mesozoic and early Cenozoic strata were pushed against the stable Eurasian landmass by the northward-moving African landmass. Most of this occurred during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. The pressure formed great recumbent folds, or nappes, that rose out of what had become the Alpine Tethys and pushed northward, often breaking and sliding one over the other to form gigantic thrust faults. Crystalline basement rocks, which are exposed in the higher central regions, are the rocks forming Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and high peaks in the Pennine Alps and Hohe Tauern (Stampfli & Borel 2004).

The formation of the Mediterranean Sea is a more recent development and does not mark the northern extent of terranes originating within the African plate.

Gothian orogeny

The Gothian orogeny (Swedish: Gotiska orogenesen) or Kongsberg orogeny was an orogeny in western Fennoscandia that occurred between 1750 and 1500 million years ago. It precedes the younger Sveconorwegian orogeny that has overprinted much of it. The Gothian orogeny formed along a subduction zone and resulted in the formation of calc-alkaline igneous rocks 1700 to 1550 million years ago, including some of the younger members of the Transscandinavian Igneous Belt.The deformation associated with the orogeny can be seen in metatonalite, paragneiss and biotite orthogneisses in southeast Norway. These rocks were all subject to amphibolite facies metamorphism.

Medvednica Fault Zone

The Medvednica Fault Zone is a fault zone in northern Croatia. It is named after the mountain Medvednica. The fault zone strikes ENE-WSW and is seismically active. The movements along the fault are sinistral and connected to the counterclockwise movements of the Adriatic plate. The fault also shows signs of thrusting.

Mezen Basin

The Mezen Basin is a sedimentary basin located in northwestern Russia. It list southeast of the White Sea and bounds the Timanide Orogen to the north and west. The basin is classified as a pericratonic and epicratonic foreland basin within the East European Craton. The Mezen Basin contains the following pre-Vendian sediments: the Ust-Nafta Group with a maximum thickness of 1200 meters, on top of this is rests the Safonovo Group made up of carbonates and siliciclastic sediments reminiscent of flysch. The Safonovo Group upward end is a unconformity that separates it from the poorly sorted sandstones of the Uftuga Formation.

Penninic thrustfront

The Penninic thrustfront is a major tectonic thrustfront in the French Alps. The thrustfront moves over a developing decollement horizon, and separates the (internal) high grade metamorphic rocks of the Penninic nappes from the (external) sedimentary rocks and crystalline basement of the Helvetic nappes. The last are in France often called zone Dauphiné or Dauphinois.

Thrusting over the decollement horizon continues today, as the Apulian tectonic plate moves westward, converging with the European plate.

Periadriatic Seam

The Periadriatic Seam (or fault) is a distinct geologic fault in Southern Europe, running S-shaped about 1000 km from the Tyrrhenian Sea through the whole Southern Alps as far as Hungary. It forms the division between the Adriatic plate and the European plate. The term Insubric line is sometimes used to address the whole Periadriatic Seam, but it is more commonly used to mean just a western part of it.

Piemont-Liguria Ocean

The Piemont-Liguria basin or the Piemont-Liguria Ocean (sometimes only one of the two names is used, for example: Piemonte Ocean) was a former piece of oceanic crust that is seen as part of the Tethys Ocean. Together with some other oceanic basins that existed between the continents Europe and Africa, the Piemont-Liguria Ocean is called the Western or Alpine Tethys Ocean.

Rhône-Simplon line

The Rhone-Simplon line is a large geologic faultzone in the Swiss Alps.

The line runs from the Ossola valley over the Simplon Pass and then follows the Rhône valley in an east-west direction. Somewhere south of Sion it goes over smoothly into the Penninic thrustfront.

Geologically speaking, the line serves as a huge dextral strike-slip fault. The northeastern block (called the Lepontin dome) is moving up as well. Geologists see the line as an expression of the continued NNW movement of the Apulian plate into the European plate.

Tisza Plate

The Tisza Plate is a tectonic block, or microplate, in present-day Europe. The two major crustal blocks of the Pannonian Basin, Pelso and Tisza, underwent a complex process of rotation and extension of variable magnitude during the Cenozoic era. The northward push of the Adriatic Block initiated the eastward displacement and rotation of both the Alcapa (or Pelso) and Tisza blocks. The Zágráb-Hernád line is the former plate margin between the Pelso of African origin and the Tisza Plate of Eurasian origin.


Volgo–Uralia is a crustal segment that together with the Sarmatian Craton and the Fennoscandian Craton makes up the East European Craton. Volgo–Uralia is the easternmost of the three segments and borders the Sarmatian Craton to the southwest along the Pachelma aulacogen and the Fennoscandian Craton to the northwest along the Volhyn–Central Russian aulacogen.

Geologic regions
UNESCO World Heritage Sites


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