Paleomagnetic Studies in the Alpine-Mediterranean Area

  1. Charles L. Drake
  1. F.J. Vine

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/SP005p0032

Geodynamics: Progress and Prospects

Geodynamics: Progress and Prospects

How to Cite

Vine, F.J. (1976) Paleomagnetic Studies in the Alpine-Mediterranean Area, in Geodynamics: Progress and Prospects (ed C. L. Drake), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/SP005p0032

Author Information

  1. School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, University Plain, Norwich NR4 7TJ U.K.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1976

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875902036

Online ISBN: 9781118664902



  • Alpine-Mediterranean area;
  • Paleomagnetic studies;
  • Permo-Triassic rocks;
  • Red beds and volcanic rocks;
  • Sphenochasm and oroclinal bending


For more than a decade paleomagnetic studies in the Alpine-Mediterranean area confirmed or spawned radical ideas which were ahead of conventional geological wisdom at the time. More recently however, the documentation of the detailed history of sea floor spreading in the Atlantic and new data and interpretations relating to the ophiolites and their associated deep-water sediments in the Alpide belt have led to complex and highly imaginative geological models for the paleogeographic evolution of the area. As a consequence it is now a moot point whether paleomagnetic studies will ever be numerous or accurate enough to test all aspects of these hypotheses, although some preliminary indications are encouraging.

In older (i.e. pre-Mesozoic) orogenic belts however, the geometric constraints provided by sea floor spreading history are no longer available and the geological record is more difficult to decipher and to relate to the plate tectonic model. In these cases paleomagnetic studies may have an important and unique role to play in deducing the latitudinal component of relative motion between the bordering platform areas, and also in determining the lateral extent, and the nature of the rotation, of rotated blocks or platelets between them. Such rotated blocks and their degree of rotation may be difficult or impossible to define other than by the paleomagnetic technique. They may well be a common and hitherto unrecognized feature of certain ancient orogenic belts.