Evolution of the North Alpine Foreland Basin in the Central Alps

  1. P. A. Allen and
  2. P. Homewood
  1. O. Adrian Pfiffner

Published Online: 5 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch11

Foreland Basins

Foreland Basins

How to Cite

Pfiffner, O. A. (1986) Evolution of the North Alpine Foreland Basin in the Central Alps, in Foreland Basins (eds P. A. Allen and P. Homewood), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444303810.ch11

Author Information

  1. Institut de Géologie, Rue Emile-Argand 11, CH-2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 MAY 2009
  2. Published Print: 22 DEC 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632017324

Online ISBN: 9781444303810



  • north Alpine foreland basin evolution in Central Alps;
  • geometric thrust tectonic model - evolution of Eo-Oligocene flysch and Oligo-Miocene molasse basin of eastern Switzerland;
  • Late Eocene (40 Myr) times flysch sedimentation (Taveyannaz formation);
  • molasse basin (33, 22, 20 and 11 Myr);
  • erosional stage (5 Myr and present)


Based on a geometric thrust tectonic model the evolution of the Eo–Oligocene flysch and Oligo–Miocene molasse basin of eastern Switzerland can be correlated to the deformational history of the Helvetic zone of the adjoining Alps. The foredeep migrated in the direction of the foreland at the front of the advancing nappe pile. Downwarp of the foredeep was accompanied by normal faulting. Uplift of the hinterland was mainly due to movement on hinterland dipping thrust faults. During the infill of the North Helvetic flysch basin, deformation in the hinterland included the emplacement of exotic strip sheets (Pizol phase) associated with thrusting of the Penninic–Austroalpine nappes on to the internal Helvetic nappes, as well as nappe internal (Calanda phase) deformation of the latter. Sedimentation of the Lower Marine and Freshwater molasse is contemporaneous with basement shortening, coupled with the development of the Glarus thrust, in whose footwall flysch suffered already penetrative (Calanda phase) deformation. The Upper Marine and Freshwater molasse can be correlated to (Ruchi phase) post-metamorphic movement on the Glarus thrust and deformation of the internal (Sub-alpine) molasse. The erosion stage seems to correspond to an isostatic adjustment to the thickened and depressed crust.