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Middle Paleocene uplift of the Brabant Massif from central Belgium up to the southeast coast of England


During the middle Paleocene Laramide phase, several basins in Europe experienced subsidence, while others experienced uplift. Previous studies have shown that during the Laramide phase some basins surrounding the Brabant Massif experienced subsidence into shallow depocentres. This study discusses how the Brabant Massif simultaneously experienced uplift along its WNW–ESE Caledonian structural axis from central Belgium in the east up to the southeast coast of England (Ipswich) in the west. Uplift resulted in erosion of the formerly deposited Chalk Group on top of the axis of the Brabant Massif. The erosion products of the Chalk Group were reworked in the latest Danian to earliest Thanetian deposits that filled the surrounding depocentres. Early to middle Thanetian pulsed marine transgressions caused flooding and deposition across the entire region, including the previously uplifted axis of the Brabant Massif. The depositional thicknesses, however, indicate that the axis of the Brabant Massif remained a relative high up to the middle Thanetian.

Both the geometry and timing of the middle Paleocene vertical surface movements of the Brabant Massif and surrounding areas are very similar to those described for other structural entities in central and northern Europe, despite their often strongly differing Mesozoic tectonic evolutions. We discuss several mechanisms that might have triggered these vertical surface movements, of which lithospheric folding seems the most likely.

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