Pripyat-Dniepr-Donets Basin: implications for dynamics of rifting and the tectonic history of the northern Peri-Tethyan Platform

R A Stephenson, S M Stovba, V I Starostenko, Randell Stephenson

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A brief review of the geophysical and geological features of the Pripyat-Dniepr-Donets Rift Basin (PDDB), and its inverted counterpart the Donbas Foldbelt (DF), is presented. This is followed by a thematic discussion of the implications of these data for models of the tectonic development of the PDDB and the adjacent southwestern part of the Eastern European Craton (EEC). The discussion focuses on (1) the Late Devonian rifting mechanism; (2) Carboniferous-Early Permian Basin development and tectonic setting; (3) mechanism(s) of Early Permian uplift and unconformity development; and (4) the formation of the DF and its relationship with Tethyan tectonics. The northwestern part of the PDDB is non-problematic in terms of how its general development fits with conventional rift basin models involving lithospheric extension and thermal subsidence. The sheer volume of magma generated and its geochemical signature, compared to subsidence modelling and crustal structure results, nevertheless, are indicative of mantle plume activity during rifting. It also appears that rifting processes may have compositionally changed the cratonic lithosphere in the vicinity of the PDDB. A series of (trans) extensional or tensional tectonic events affected the PDDB during its post-rift Carboniferous-Early Permian development. During these deformation increases in intensity towards the southeast PDDB into the DF. The style of observed deformation contradicts regional tectonic scenarios in which the Carboniferous-Early Permian is a time of consolidation of the Scythian Orogen along the nearby southern margin of the EEC. Post-rift tectonic subsidence rates accelerate during the Early Carboniferous, also increasing from northwest to southeast. Subsidence mechanisms that are related to convergent orogenic processes at this time are incompatible with the structural observations. There are some indications that an open ocean lying to the southeast and south of the PDDB-DF existed in the Carboniferous. The widespread Early Permian unconformity is expressed not only as a platform scale relative sea level drop in the DDB-DF but also as an abrupt. rapidly developed. monoclinal uplift affecting the southern margin of the basin. The latter was likely connected to motion along a primarily strike-slip plate boundary near the boundary of the EEC and the Scythian Platform. The main phases of (trans)compressional tectonics that formed the DF were Cimmerian (latest Triassic -earliest Jurassic) and, especially, Eo-Alpine (latest Cretaceous -earliest Tertiary) rather than Hercynian/ Uralian (Early Permian).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-406
Number of pages38
JournalPeri-Tethys Memoir 6: Peri-Tethyan Rift/Wrench Basins & Passive Margins
Publication statusPublished - 2001




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