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Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
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The role of the Leba Ridge–Riga–Pskov Fault Zone in the tectonic evolution of the deep-facies Livonian Tongue within the Baltic Ordovician–Silurian sedimentary basin: a review; pp. 94–106
PDF | 10.3176/earth.2021.07

Igor Tuuling, Kairi Põldsaar

Located in the interior of the East European Craton (EEC), the Baltic Ordovician–Silurian Basin hosts an elongated tongue-like deep-marine depression, the Livonian Tongue (LT), which extends from Sweden across Latvia and separates the Estonian and Lithuanian shallow-marine shelves. The tectonic origin of the LT has been suggested already since its discovery in the early 1960s. However, the nature of tectonic forces and mechanisms behind the evolution of this narrow intracratonic subsidence zone in the Ordovician–Silurian of the Baltic Basin has remained poorly understood. The origin of the LT can be related to an extensive intracratonic dislocation zone known as the Leba Ridge–Riga–Pskov Fault Zone (LeRPFZ) that coincides largely with the axis of the LT. The LeRPFZ reveals some heavily uplifted basement blocks and has, therefore, been considered as an up-warped anticline-type structure. Recent studies show that the LT has developed in highly complex and changing stress field conditions during the Caledonian orogeny. The subsidence and widening phase of the LT in the Ordovician and early Silurian coincides with, and was possibly governed by, the Avalonia collision with Baltica from the SW when high shear stress forced LeRPFZ blocks to move obliquely towards the NE. As Laurentia was approaching Baltica and finally collided with it in the mid-Silurian, the shear stress became progressively mingled with compression from the NW and the subsidence of the LeRPFZ became reversed, triggering LT withdrawal to the SW. Thus, being once the deep-water centre of the Baltic Ordovician–Silurian Basin, the LT became the most uplifted and intensely eroded EEC interior zone by the Devonian.


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