Geology of the Alps

Jun 30th, 2015
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The Alps are one of the great mountain range systems of Europe stretching approximately 1,200 kilometers across eight Alpine countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south. It contains many peaks higher than 4000 meters.

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John Renier BustamanteBSA - IIGeology of the AlpsIntroductionThe Alps are one of the great mountain range systems of Europe stretching approximately 1,200 kilometers across eight Alpine countries from Austria and Slovenia in the east, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, France to the west and Italy and Monaco to the south.1 It contains many peaks higher than 4000 meters. This paper will present its structure, how the mountain range formed, and the kind of environment.Geologic StructureThe Alps are often divided into Eastern, Central Alps and Western Alps, even though the boundaries between these subdivision are rather arbitrary. The division between the Eastern and Central Alps is approximately the line between St. Margrethen, Chur and Sondrio, the division between the Central and Western Alps is unclear (Pfiffner 2009, p. 25). The main suture (big shear zone) in the Alps is called the Periadriatic Seam and runs through the Alps from east to west. This is the boundary between materials from the (former) European and Apulian plates. South of this line are folded and thrusted units of the Southern Alps.North of the Periadriatic seam, rocks from three main palaeogeographic "domains" are found: the Helvetic or Dauphinois, the Penninic and the Austroalpine domains. This subdivision is made according to the paleogeographical origins of the rocks: the Helvetic Zone contains material from the European plate, the Austroalpine Zone material from the Apulian plate, t

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