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European geology The geology of Europe is dominated by mountains, structures, and basins of the Alpine system in the south, stretching across southern France, northern Italy, then eastward through the Adriatic and Aegean arcs to the Black Sea and finally extending through Turkey to connect with the Himalayan system. This mountain chain formed during the Paleozoic-Cenozoic formation and closure of the Tethys Ocean. The Caspian Sea, on the northern side of the Alpine-Himalayan chain, may represent a piece of oceanic crust trapped during the closure of the Tethys Ocean. Continued closure of the remnants of the Tethys—the Mediterranean—is represented by the active plate margins in southeastern Europe, stretching from the Calabrian arc in Italy, the Hellenic arc in Greece, into the Cyprian arc, which merges with the northern extension of the Dead Sea transform fault. Turkey is moving westward, with the North Anatolian fault as its northern boundary, in response to its escaping from the active collision between Arabia and Asia.
Landsat 5 satellite image of western and central Europe (M-Sat/Photo Researchers, Inc.)
The geology of northwestern Europe is delineated largely by the Caledonide system, cutting through the British Isles, well exposed in the scottish Highlands, and along the northwestern scandinavian coast. This mountain range formed during the Paleozoic evolution and closure of the iapetus ocean. The Baltic shield forms a Precambrian craton in northeastern Europe. It is covered by thick continental and shallow marine deposits, deformed around its edges. The Baltic shield extends through svalbard Island (Norway) and the Kola Peninsula (Russia) in the north. Geologically the eastern boundary of Europe is considered to be the ural Mountains, which form a striking north-south line at the edge of the vast East European Plain, which covers deep sections of the Baltic shield and its correlatives.
Continue reading here: The Alpine Mountain Chain
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