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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Alpide Geosynclinal (Folded) Region


the youngest portion of the Mediterranean Geosynclinal Belt; includes Cenozoic folded mountain ranges.

The region incorporates the folded systems of the Alps, the Carpathians, the Balkans, the Apennines, Sicily, and the seaside ranges of Morocco, Algiers, and Tunisia as well as the Pyrenees, the Andalusian Mountains, the Aegean Archipelago, Crete, Asia Minor, the Crimea, the Caucasus, the Iranian Uplands, and the Himalayas. The region developed on an ancient basement—partly Precambrian (Baikal) and partly Paleozoic. The earliest geosynclinal basins developed in Triassic and early Jurassic times. Later basins developed at the end of the Jurassic and during the Cretaceous periods.

Two stages, divided by a great cycle of folding, may be identified in the region’s development. The first—from Triassic times to the end of the Paleocene—was marked by the development of geosynclinal basins, the filling of these basins by sedimentary and volcanic sequences, and folding and local uplift; the second, the orogenous, or concluding, stage—late Paleocene, Neocene, and Recent times—was marked by dominant uplifts that gave rise to great mountain systems, including the Himalayas, the Greater Caucasus, and the Alps, and by interior and marginal basins which were filled with Neocene and Recent sedimentary sequences, frequently molasse and volcanic. The ranges of the Alps have attained their present heights, in places 7,000 or even 8,000 meters, because of the great Recent uplifts.

The Alpide geosynclinal region is divided into a series of geosynclinal systems which, in the course of their development, have been transformed into folded structures differing from one another in structure and history—for example, the Alps, the Carpathians, the Crimean-Caucasian Ranges, and the Lesser Caucasus. The systems are divided from each other by more or less important interior massifs—the remains of the basement upon which the geosynclinal systems developed. The largest interior massifs include the Serbian-Macedonian, Rhodope, Aegean, Kirsch, Menderes, and Pannonian. The Alpide geosynclinal region was distinguished by A. D. Arkhangelskii and N. S. Shatskii in 1933.


Muratov, M. V. “Stroenie skladchatogo osnovaniia Sredizem-nomorskogo poiasa Evropy i Zapadnoi Azii i glavneishie etapy razvitiia etogo poiasa.” Geotektonika, 1968, no 2.
Tektonika Evropy. Explanatory brochure for the International Tectonic Map of Europe. Edited by A. A. Bogdanov, M. V. Muratov, and N. S. Shatskii. Moscow, 1964.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.