Europe is a classic example of how a large land area (continent) has grown during geological times by the younger mountain chains being welded to an older core area. Visit abbreviationfinder for all lands, organizations, clubs and locations within Europe. In the north you find the oldest bedrock in the Baltic shield, which is bounded to the west of the Caledonian mountain range. In the south, the Hercynian mountain range has welded first and then the Alpine mountain range. Above the older rocks and in lowering areas there are deposits of near flat sedimentary rocks, such as on the Russian platform, in England, Denmark, northern parts of Central Europe, under the North Sea and on the continental shelf.
The European plate was separated from the North American as the northern Atlantic began to expand around the beginning of the Tertiary period 60 million years ago. The continent only got its present shape towards the end of the tertiary 5 million years ago, when the Alpine mountain range was completed. In the north, the current geographical distribution of oceans, land and lakes was established only after the last ice age less than 10,000 years ago.
Compared to other major land areas, Europe has relatively little archaic bedrock (i.e. bedrock older than 2500 million years). The oldest are granite gneisses dating back to over 3000 million years, found in core areas around Lake Quits, in Ukraine and northwestern Scotland. At Lake Kvits there are also greenstone belts with the volcanic rock comatite, which is an original lava, formed on the seabed at very high temperature.
Proterozoic rocks (2500–570 million years old) occur in worn mountain ranges around the oldest Arctic core area on Lake Kvits: The svecofennian mountain range (2500–1600 million years old) extends through most of Finland and Sweden, while the Sveconorvegian (1200–850 million) old) occupies large parts of southwestern Sweden and southern Norway. Much of the bedrock here is granite formed from magma that has penetrated into transformed sediments and volcanic rocks at great depths in the earth’s crust. Old but relatively little converted sediments include reddish-brown sandstones at Trysil in Norway and Sweden and in north-west Scotland.
From later Precambrian (800–570 million years ago, also called Eocambrium and Vendium), there are field patric sandstone (“sparagmite”), conglomerate, confidence and limestone. The trust, which includes exist in several places in Norway, believed to be formed during a worldwide ice age; Warranty time.
In the period 570–245 million years ago, three major folding belts were constructed: the Caledonian from Spitsbergen through Norway, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Hercynian as an east-west zone through Central Europe, and the oral as an eastern boundary of Europe against Asia.. Where the old sea deposits have not been too heavily transformed in the folding zones, they are now found as slate, sandstone and limestone, often fossil-rich.
In the stable areas of Central Europe and the southern parts of the North Sea, later subsidence (basins) formed with deposits of, among other things. rock salt (from perm) and coal (from carbon).
Mesozoic and Kenozoic bedrock
Mesozoic and Kenozoic bedrock (245–65 million years old). Much of southern Europe was covered by a large ocean (Tethys) in the Middle Ages. Here large masses of volcanic rocks and sediments were deposited, which later collapsed, pushed and transformed as Africa pressed into the European soil and formed the Alps’ mighty mountain range in front of it. In some places, sedimentary rocks from Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous have been covered by thick tertiary deposits that accumulate in bowl-shaped subsidence areas. Where there have been appropriate source and magazine rocks, such as under the North Sea, this has led to the development and collection of oil and natural gas.
Faults and earthquakes
In the Rhine in Germany, in the Oslo field and under central parts of the North Sea, the earth’s crust has subsided along parallel fracture zones or faults. The African soil plate is still pushing against the European, and this creates tensions that lead to strong earthquakes in a zone from Morocco through the Mediterranean to Greece.
Young volcanic bedrock
Off the continental shelf, the European mainland borders on volcanic rocks on the seabed. Iceland lies on a ridge where volcanic bedrock is constantly forming, and this country has been created over the last 16 million years. Here are active volcanoes such as Hekla, Vatnajökull and Helgafell. On the European mainland there are active volcanoes in Italy (Etna, Stromboli, Vulcano, Vesuvius) and in Greece (Thira). In the Auvergne in central France, the Siebengebirge, the Eifel and other places in Germany, extinct volcanoes are associated with rupture zones.
Some older volcanic rocks (61–52 million years) are known from northwestern Scotland and Ireland, from the Faroe Islands and the Vøring Plateau outside northern Norway.
During the quarter hour
During the Quaternary period (1.6 million to 10,000 years ago), Northern Europe and the highest mountains in Southern and Eastern Europe were repeatedly covered by large masses of ice. With the ice masses came the moors, and the meltwater rivers carried sand and gravel. Large parts of northern Germany and the Netherlands would have been below today’s sea level if the thick deposits of the moors, sand and gravel were removed. Cold winds from the icy areas swept sand dust (silt) far away. The dust accumulated as deposits of lice in a belt south of the former ice edge and now constitutes very fertile soil in a belt through central Europe to the black soil areas of Ukraine.
In the north, the country was squeezed by the masses of ice. When the ice later melted, the sea moved in, until the land rose again. The sea deposits in the flooded areas offer fertile soil, e.g. the camp ground below the so-called marine border in Finland, Sweden and Norway.
Europe has relatively low mineral resources, with the exception of coal, lignite, oil, gas, iron ore, lead and zinc. Russia has large deposits of oil and gas, and under the North Sea there are 6% of the world’s gas reserves.