- Alpine orogeny
The Alpine orogeny (sometimes also called Alpide orogeny) is an orogenic phase in the
Tertiarythat formed the mountain ranges of the Alpide belt. These mountains include (from west to east) the Atlas, the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Hellenides, the Carpathians, the Balkan, the Taurus, the Caucasus, the Alborz, the Zagros, the Hindu Kush, the Pamir, the Karakoram, and the Himalayas. Sometimes other names occur to describe the formation of separate mountain ranges: for example Carpathean orogenyfor the Carpathians, Hellenic orogenyfor the Hellenides or the Himalayan orogeny for the Himalayas.
It also led to the formation of more distant, but smaller geological features such as the
Weald-Artois Anticlinein Southern England/Northern France (the remains of which can be seen in the chalk ridges of the North and South Downsin southern England). Its effects are particularly visible on the Isle of Wight(where the Chalk Formationand overlying Eocenestrata are folded to near-vertical, as seen in exposures at Alum Bayand Whitecliff Bay) and on the Dorsetcoast near Lulworth Cove.
The Alpine orogeny occurred when the continents
Africaand Indiaand the small Cimmerian platecollided (from the south) with Eurasiain the north. Convergent movements between the tectonic plates (the Indian plateand the African platefrom the south, the Eurasian platefrom the north, and many smaller plates and microplates) began already in the early Cretaceous, but the major phases of mountain building began in the Paleoceneto Eocene. Currently the process still continues in some of the Alpide mountain ranges.
The Alpine orogeny is considered one of the three major phases of orogeny in Europe that define the geology of that continent. The three are:
Caledonian orogenythat formed the Old Red Sandstone continentwhen the continents Balticaand Laurentiacollided in the early Paleozoic.
*the Hercynian or Variscan orogeny that formed
Pangaeawhen Gondwanaand the Old Red Sandstone continent collided in the middle to late Paleozoic.
*the Alpine orogeny itself.
Geology of the Alps
Geology of the Himalaya
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