Alpide belt

The Alpide belt or Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt[1] is a seismic belt and orogenic belt that includes an array of mountain ranges extending along the southern margin of Eurasia, stretching from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic.[2] It includes the Alps, the Carpathians, the Pyrenees, the mountains of Anatolia and Iran, the Hindu Kush, and the mountains of Southeast Asia. It is the second most seismically active region in the world, after the circum-Pacific belt (the Ring of Fire), with 17% of the world's largest earthquakes.[2]

The Alpide belt is being created by ongoing plate tectonics such as the Alpine orogeny. The belt is the result of Mesozoic-to-Cenozoic-to-recent closure of the Tethys Ocean and process of collision between the northward-moving African, Arabian and Indian plates with the Eurasian plate.[1]

Alpiner Gebirgsgürtel
Approximate extent of the Alpide orogenic system

Main ranges

Indonesia lies between the Pacific Ring of Fire along the northeastern islands adjacent to and including New Guinea and the Alpide belt along the south and west from Sumatra, Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Flores, and Timor). The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake just off the coast of Sumatra was located within the Alpide belt.


  1. ^ a b K.M. Storetvedt, K. M., The Tethys Sea and the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt; mega-elements in a new global tectonic system, Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, Volume 62, Issues 1–2, 1990, Pages 141–184 Abstract
  2. ^ a b "Where do earthquakes occur?". USGS. Archived from the original on 5 August 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
1952 Hasankale earthquake

The 1952 Hasankale earthquake occurred at 08:03 local time on 3 January in Hasankale (today Pasinler) in Erzurum Province, Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. The earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 5.8 and a maximum felt intensity of VIII (Severe) on the Mercalli intensity scale, causing 41 casualties. This spot has been the subject of studies due to the amount of earthquakes that occur in Turkey. 17% of earthquakes, globally, occur in this area. This is because the Alpide belt crosses through Turkey. The earthquakes are cause when the plates try to slide past each other on a transform boundary.

Alpine orogeny

The Alpine orogeny or Alpide orogeny is an orogenic phase in the Late Mesozoic (Eoalpine) and the current Cenozoic that has formed the mountain ranges of the Alpide belt. These mountains include (from west to east) the Atlas, the Rif, the Baetic Cordillera, the Cantabrian Mountains, the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennine Mountains, the Dinaric Alps, the Hellenides, the Carpathians, the Balkan Mountains and the Rila-Rhodope massif, the Taurus, the Armenian Highlands, the Caucasus, the Alborz, the Zagros, the Hindu Kush, the Pamir, the Karakoram, and the Himalayas. Sometimes other names occur to describe the formation of separate mountain ranges: for example Carpathian orogeny for the Carpathians, Hellenic orogeny for the Hellenides or the Himalayan orogeny for the Himalayas.

The Alpine orogeny has also led to the formation of more distant and smaller geological features such as the Weald–Artois Anticline in southern England and northern France, the remains of which can be seen in the chalk ridges of the North and South Downs in southern England. Its effects are particularly visible on the Isle of Wight, where the Chalk Group and overlying Eocene strata are folded to near-vertical, as seen in exposures at Alum Bay and Whitecliff Bay, and on the Dorset coast near Lulworth Cove. Stresses arising from the Alpine orogeny caused the Cenozoic uplift of the Sudetes mountain range and possibly faulted rocks as far away as Öland in southern Sweden during the Paleocene.The Alpine orogeny is caused by the continents Africa and India and the small Cimmerian plate colliding (from the south) with Eurasia in the north. Convergent movements between the tectonic plates (the Indian plate and the African plate from the south, the Eurasian plate from the north, and many smaller plates and microplates) had already begun in the early Cretaceous, but the major phases of mountain building began in the Paleocene to Eocene. The process continues currently in some of the Alpide mountain ranges.

The Alpine orogeny is considered one of the three major phases of orogeny in Europe that define the geology of that continent, along with the Caledonian orogeny that formed the Old Red Sandstone Continent when the continents Baltica and Laurentia collided in the early Paleozoic, and the Hercynian or Variscan orogeny that formed Pangaea when Gondwana and the Old Red Sandstone Continent collided in the middle to late Paleozoic.

Azores–Gibraltar Transform Fault

The Azores–Gibraltar Transform Fault (AGFZ), also called a fault zone and a fracture zone, is a major seismic fault in the Central Atlantic Ocean west of the Strait of Gibraltar. It is the product of the complex interaction between the African, Eurasian, and Iberian plates.

The AGFZ produced the large-magnitude 1755 Lisbon and 1969 Horseshoe earthquakes and, consequently, a number of large tsunamis.

Branta thessaliensis

Branta thessaliensis is a prehistoric species of black goose known from fossils found in Greece. It is among the earliest known members of its genus.

Described in 2006, it was of similar size to the Canada goose. It is known from a humerus bone, which differs form the living species by a wider distal end of the diaphysis, a dorsal condyle that is more rounded in dorsal view and more prominent compared to the ventral condyle in distal view, and a deeper humerotricipital sulcus in distal view.

The fossil was found in a Late Miocene (Middle Turolian: European Mammal Neogene stage MN12, 7.5-6.8 million years ago) deposit at Perivolaki in Thessaly, after which region the species was named. Both near-shore freshwater bodies and open grassland habitat were found in the Perivolaki area during MN12.

The species provides further support for the distinctness of Branta from the Anser grey geese by that time. It also suggests that the present biogeography of Eurasian Branta - breeding at Arctic and wintering at Mediterranean latitudes - is a product of post-Miocene times, possibly due to range shifts during the ice age era. In this aspect it is notable that such a breeding-wintering range disjunction is less pronounced in the Canada and cackling geese of North America, where unlike in there was no W-E barrier (the Alpide belt) barring range shifts in response to the advancing ice.

Brassy ringlet

The brassy ringlets are a species group of ringlet butterflies in the genus Erebia. Though closely related, their monophyly is not completely resolved. Still, the brassy ringlets are taxa similar to E. tyndarus – the Swiss brassy ringlet –, and in many cases certainly close relatives. A notable trait of their genus is an ability to adapt well to cold and somewhat arid habitat, like taiga or regions with alpine climate. Optimal habitat in Eurasia, where most of the brassy ringlets are found, therefore occurs in two distinct belts – in the very north of the continent and in the Alpide belt – in interglacials, and in glacials in one periglacialic belt at lower altitude, in places interrupted by dry wasteland and deserts.

Cimmeria (continent)

Cimmeria was an ancient continent, or, rather, a string of microcontinents or terranes, that rifted from Gondwana in the Southern Hemisphere and was accreted to Eurasia in the Northern Hemisphere. It consisted of parts of what is today Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, Shan–Thai, and Malay Peninsula. Cimmeria rifted from the Gondwanan shores of the Paleo-Tethys Ocean during the Carboniferous-earliest Permian and as the Neo-Tethys Ocean opened behind it, during the Permian, the Paleo-Tethys closed in front of it. Cimmeria rifted off Gondwana from east to west, from Australia to the eastern Mediterranean.

It stretched across several latitudes and spanned a wide range of climatic zones.


The genus Colymboides contains three species of early loon dating from the late Oligocene or early Miocene. They are considered to be the earliest known unambiguous gaviiform fossils. The genus is widely known from early Priabonian – about 37 million years ago in the Late Eocene – to Early Miocene (late Burdigalian, less than 20 million years ago) limnic and marine rocks of western Eurasia north of the Alpide belt, between the Atlantic and the former Turgai Sea. It is usually placed in the Gaviidae already, but usually in a subfamily Colymboidinae, with the modern-type loons making up the Gaviinae. But the Colymboides material is generally quite distinct from modern loons, and may actually belong in a now-extinct family of primitive gaviiforms. The best studied species, Colymboides minutus, was described by Robert Storer as being much smaller than modern loons and not as well adapted to diving.


The rodent family Diatomyidae, found in Asia, is represented by a single known living species, Laonastes aenigmamus.

Dinosaurs of Romania

The dinosaurs of Romania are exclusively Cretaceous. Lowermost Cretaceous dinosaurs come from a bauxite mine in the Bihor County (northwest Romania) that has yielded thousands of disarticulated bones. Uppermost Cretaceous dinosaurs have been known from the Hațeg Basin (south Transylvania) since the end of the 19th century, mostly as bone concentrations (fossiliferous pockets); more recently, nests with dinosaur eggs, including hatchlings, have been found in Hațeg. Although separated by a gap of approximately 60 million years, the two dinosaur faunas from Romania share some common features: predominance of ornithopods, absence of large theropods (although the Maastrichtian Hațeg assemblage has several small theropods), and, in general, the small size of the individuals (see also insular dwarfism).

The discovery of dinosaur bones in a bauxite mine at Cornet-Brusturi, near Oradea (Bihor County) was made accidentally by two miners in 1978 during ore exploitation. Almost at the same time, research in the already known Uppermost Cretaceous dinosaur-bearing deposits from the Hațeg Basin were restarted by Dan Grigorescu, after an interruption of more than 60 years, since Franz Nopcsa’s work in the region.

The Berriasian bauxite deposits at Cornet have yielded approximately 10,000 bones and bone fragments, mainly from ornithopod dinosaurs and rarer pterosaurs. The region was located to the east of the Piemont-Liguria Ocean, and during the Early Cretaceous formed an archipelago of coral and volcanic islands, not too dissimilar to today's Indonesia or the Caribbean. As the Apulian Plate moved northwest towards the end of the Cretaceous and the beginning of the uplift of the Alpide belt, the offshore Hațeg Island was formed at the rim of the shrinking Tethys Ocean.

Among the species that lived here are: Zalmoxes, Telmatosaurus, Balaur, Rhabdodon, Magyarosaurus and Struthiosaurus. Other prehistoric creatures that lived among them, without being dinosaurs are: Allodaposuchus and Hatzegopteryx.

Geological history of Europe

The formation of Europe as a coherent landmass dates to after the breakup of Pangaea, taking place during the Oligocene and completed by the early Neogene period, some 20 million years ago.

Geology of Albania

The geology of Albania is a term that embodies the geological history of Albania. The Albanides represent the main geological structures on the territory of the country. They belong to the Alpide belt and stretches between the Dinarides in north and the Hellenides in south within the Mediterranean belt.

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.

Geology of the 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 geological evolution of individual parts of the chain is complex, a result of tectonic processes like folding, thrusting and the formation of sedimentary basins of various types during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. These processes sometimes affected not only the sedimentary fill of the basins, but also, in some cases, the former basement.

Many aspects of the geological structure of the Western Carpathians have not been completely studied and are subject to ongoing research and debate. The appropriate classification of a number of specific tectonic units is still not clear.

Leucaspius delineatus

Leucaspius delineatus, known as the sunbleak, belica or moderlieschen is a species of freshwater fish in the Cyprinidae family. It is currently the only species included in genus Leucaspius, whereas formerly others were included, which now have been moved to Ladigesocypris or Pseudophoxinus or merged with L. delineatus.

Mountain range

A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.

Mountain ranges are usually segmented by highlands or mountain passes and valleys. Individual mountains within the same mountain range do not necessarily have the same geologic structure or petrology. They may be a mix of different orogenic expressions and terranes, for example thrust sheets, uplifted blocks, fold mountains, and volcanic landforms resulting in a variety of rock types.

Spined loach

The spined loach (Cobitis taenia) is a common freshwater fish in Europe. It is sometimes known as spotted weather loach, not to be confused with the "typical" weather loaches of the genus Misgurnus. This is the type species of the spiny loach genus (Cobitis) and the true loach family (Cobitidae).

Sunda Arc

The Sunda Arc is a volcanic arc that produced the islands of Sumatra and Java, the Sunda Strait and the Lesser Sunda Islands. A chain of volcanoes forms the topographic spine of these islands.

The Sunda Arc marks an active convergent boundary between the East Eurasian plates that underlie Indonesia, especially the Sunda Plate and the Burma Plate, with the India and Australian Plates that form the seabed of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The Sunda Arc is a classic example of a volcanic island arc, in which all the elements of such geodynamic features can be identified.

The India and Australian Plates are subducting beneath the Sunda and Burma plates along the Sunda Arc. The tectonic deformation along this subduction zone in the Java Trench (also known as the Sunda Trench) caused the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake of 26 December, 2004.

Taurus Mountains

The Taurus Mountains (Turkish: Toros Dağları), are a mountain complex in southern Turkey, separating the Mediterranean coastal region of southern Turkey from the central Anatolian Plateau. The system extends along a curve from Lake Eğirdir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the east. It is a part of the Alpide belt in Eurasia.

The Taurus mountains are divided into three chains from west to east as follows;

Western Taurus (Batı Toroslar)

Akdağlar, the Bey Mountains, Katrancık Mountain, Geyik Mountain

Central Taurus (Orta Toroslar)

Akçalı Mountains, Bolkar Mountains, Anti-Taurus Mountains, Tahtalı Mountains, Aladaglar Mountain

Southeastern Taurus (Güneydoğu Toroslar)

Nurhak Mountains, Malatya Mountains, Maden Mountains, Genç Mountains, Bitlis Mountains

Western Carpathians

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).

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