Russian East European Craton

The Russian or East European craton is well exposed in the Baltic states and in the Ukrainian shield, but it is mostly buried beneath late Precambrian to Pha-nerozoic cover in the Russian craton. The amalgamated East European craton, which formed the core of the Baltica block in the Proterozoic supercontinents of Rodinia and Gondwana, consisted of the Fen-noscandian block (Baltic shield) in the northwest, the Volgo-Uralia block in the east, and the Sarmatia block in the south. The Baltic shield has a diverse Archean and Proterozoic crustal history including

Plate Tectonics Russia
Satellite image of Russia (M-Sat Ltd/Photo Researchers, Inc.)

several convergent margin accretionary events, while the core of Sarmatia appears to be older than the Baltic shield. Most of the Volgo-Uralia block is buried beneath thick younger cover, but deep drill holes have revealed Archean rocks at depth. Most of the East European craton is covered by a thick sequence of middle to late Proterozoic sedimentary cover that is 1.8 miles (3 km) thick, whereas most of the Baltic shield is exposed down to the Archean and late Pro-terozoic basement.

The Sarmatia block consists of the Ukrainian shield and the Voronezh uplift. The Ukrainian shield in the southern part of the East European craton consists of 3.8-3.2 billion-year-old rocks, exposed along the big bend of the Dneiper River. These rocks include five main granitoid-greenstone rich blocks, each separated by structurally complex belts containing banded-iron formations and other metasedi-mentary rocks. The Voronezh uplift north of the Ukrainian shield contains similar rocks and is separated from the Ukrainian shield by a younger rift, the Dneiper-Donets aulacogen.

The Ural Mountains, where the craton collided with the Siberian craton in the Late Paleozoic, mark the eastern margin of the East European craton. Phanerozoic sediments largely shed from the Alpine orogen bury the southern margin of the craton. The southwestern boundary of the East European craton is marked by the Trans-European suture zone, separating the craton from the Alpine and Variscan belts of western Europe. The Early Paleozoic Caledonian orogen truncates the northwestern margin of the craton.

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