Seismic evidence of Caledonian deformed crust and uppermost mantle structures in the northern part of the Trans-European Suture Zone, SW Baltic Sea

C. M. Krawczyk*, A. Eilts, A. Lassen, H. Thybo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Collisional structures from the closure of the Tornquist Ocean and subsequent amalgamation of Avalonia and Baltica during the Caledonian Orogeny in the northern part of the Trans-European Suture Zone (TESZ) in the SW Baltic Sea are investigated. A grid of marine reflection seismic lines was gathered in 1996 during the DEKORP-BASIN '96 campaign, shooting with an airgun array of 52 l total volume and recording with a digital streamer of up to 2.1 km length. The detailed reflection seismic analysis is mainly based on post-stack migrated sections of this survey, but one profile has also been processed by a pre-stack depth migration algorithm. The data provides well-constrained images of upper crustal reflectivity and lower crustal/uppermost mantle reflections. In the area of the Caledonian suture, a reflection pattern is observed with opposing dips in the upper crust and the uppermost mantle. Detailed analysis of dipping reflections in the upper crust provides evidence for two different sets of reflections, which are separated by the O-horizon, the main decollement of the Caledonian deformation complex. S-dipping reflections beneath the sub-Permian discontinuity and above the O-horizon are interpreted as Caledonian thrust structures. Beneath the O-horizon, SW-dipping reflections in the upper crust are interpreted as ductile shear zones and crustal deformation features that evolved during the Sveconorwegian Orogeny. The Caledonian deformation complex is subdivided into (1) S-dipping foreland thrusts in the north, (2) the S-dipping suture itself that shows increased reflectivity, and (3) apparently NE-dipping downfaulted sedimentary horizons south of the Avalonia-Baltica suture, which may have been reactivated during Mesozoic normal faulting. The reflection Moho at 28-35 km depth appears to truncate a N-dipping mantle structure, which may represent remnant structures from Tornquist Ocean closure or late-collisional compressional shear planes in the upper mantle. A contour map of these mantle reflections indicates a consistent northward dip, which is steepest where there is strong bending of the Caledonian deformation front. The thin-skinned character of the Caledonian deformation complex and the fact that N-dipping mantle reflections do not truncate the Moho indicate that the Baltica crust was not mechanically involved in the Caledonian collision and, therefore, escaped deformation in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-244
Number of pages30
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Avalonia-Baltica suture
  • Caledonian Orogeny
  • Continental collision
  • Pre-stack depth migration
  • Reflection seismology
  • Structural reactivation
  • Sveconorwegian Orogeny


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