This final chapter in the investigation of coal sedimentation is concerned with depositional aspects of the highest order of magnitude, namely, the influence of the crustal setting on peat accumulation. This is a broad and complex field which draws on information gathered from many different disciplines of the earth sciences. Some of these are currently evolving quite rapidly, while others are in a mopping up stage, in sensu Kuhn (1970) and Walker (1973), following recent scientific revolutions. An example of the latter is the replacement of the geosynclinal hypothesis in the early 1970s by the concept of plate tectonics. Even after a life span of 20 years, this new paradigm is still in the process of being refined and fitted out with conceptual subsets, as shown by the current emphasis on terrane analysis. It is therefore not possible at this stage to make a definitive statement on the chosen subject, but merely to outline the principle on which a modern geotectonic classification of coalfields can be established. Even this modest goal is fraught with difficulty, because the change from the predominantly static geosynclinal view of global tectonics to its modern, largely mobilistic interpretation has complicated the tectonic classification of some coalfields. While the tectonic status of many coalfields, e.g. those in foredeeps or foreland basins has changed relatively little, the setting of coals found in inter- and intramontane troughs, i.e. within orogenic cordilleras, cannot be properly assessed without very careful study. According to the geosynclinal concept, practically all of these intradeeps, together with fore- and backdeeps, their extra-orogenic counterparts, were regarded as part of a group of molasse basins, the development of which accompanies or follows terminal geosynclinal tecto-orogenesis (Aubouin 1965).
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- Coal-Producing Tectonic Environments
Claus F. K. Diessel
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg
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