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Abstract

Saxo-Thuringia is a suture bounded part of the Variscan belt in central Europe and represents a fragment of the Armorica microplate. Structural investigations and a critical review of other geologic data allow the reconstruction of its geodynamic history. Two south-dipping subduction zones, corresponding to the Rheno-Herzynian and the Tepla sutures, delimited Saxo-Thuringia before the Variscan orogeny. As a result of the continental collision between Avalonia to the north and a further fragment of Armorica to the south, both outer realms of Saxo-Thuringia record high-grade metamorphism and a subsequent uplift between 340 and 310 Ma. Contemporaneously, the low-grade metamorphic internal zone of Saxo-Thuringia records thrust contraction of the late Pre-Cambrian basement and the formation of a fold belt in the overlaying Palaeozoic deposits. Two pre-Variscan tectonic imprints are distinguishable: (1) the consolidation of late Pre-Cambrian basement in the Cadomian–Avalonian belt and (2) a Cambrian and early Ordovician rift setting related to the opening of the Rheic ocean and the fragmentation and separation of Armorica.