The Variscan slate deposits

The European slate deposits are mainly situated in the Variscan orogen within Early Paleozoic rock units. The Table gives a geographic and stratigraphic overview about the most important slate deposits, which will be described more detailed within the correspondig menues.


Location Stratigraphy
Portougal: Porto/Valongo Ordovician
A Terra Cha Lower Cambrian ("Candana Serie")
Monte Rande, Los Oscos, Alto Bierzo, El Caurel Middle Ordovician ("Luarca Formation")
Valdeorras, La Cabrera Middle- to Upper Ordovician
("Luarca Formation"/"Argüeira Formation"/
"Rozadais Formation")
Aliste Middle- to Upper Ordovician (?)
Bernardos Upper Precambrian to Lower Cambrian (Phyllite)
Villar del Rey Lower-Ordovician to Middle-Devonian
Anger Middle Ordovician ("schistes de Anger")
Maël Carhaix Lower Carboniferous (Kulm, "Formation des schistes de Châteaulin")
Devonian ("Tredorn slates")
Martelange (Luxem., Belgium) Lower-Devonian
Hunsrück Lower-Devonian
Eifel (Mosel) Lower-Devonian ("Mayener Schieferfolgen")
Sauerland Middle-Devon ("Fredeburger beds", "Asten beds", "Flinz beds")
Thuringia Lower-Carboniferous ("Lehestener beds-Kulm")
Saxony Lower-Ordovician
Nizny Jesinek Upper-Ordovician to Lower Carboniferous (Andelskohorkse- ,Moravske- und Hradecke beds)

The most important Variscan slate deposits and their stratigraphic position.


The division of the Variscan and position of the slate deposits

The European slate deposits are concentrated in certain zones within the Variscan. The slates, for example, of Saxony and Thuringia are situated within the Saxothuringian Zone and in its continuation, in the Lusitanian-Alcudia Zone as well as Ossa Morena Zone one can find the slates of Villar del Rey.
The most important slate region is situated within the Leon-West Asturian Zone and in the Galician-Castillian Zone. The Early-Paleozoic slates in the first zone partly builds the counterpart to the Saxothuringian (Schönenberg & Neugebauer, 1987). The slates of Hunsrück, Mosel and Sauerland belong to the Rhenohercynian. Towards east, the Moravian slates of the Nizky Jesinek lie in the Moravo-Silesian.



Slate provinces within the European Variscan.
The Welsh slates are outside the Variscan


The french slate deposits of Maël-Carhaix and Anger lie within the Armorican Massif of the North- and Central-Armorican-Zone. Both zones are generally thought to be the continuation of the Saxothuringian-Zone. In contrast, the South-Armorican-Zone is considered to be the continuation of the Moldanubian-Zone. On the other hand, the geological development of the North- and Central-Armorican-Zone and the Saxothuringian-Zone are not comparable. For example, the shelf environment of the Armorican Ordovician is completely different from the deep water facies of the Ordovician slates of the Saxothuringian-Zone (Pique et al., 1994). Hence, the Saxothuringian-Zone is considered to run out westwards below the Parisian basin and along the Bray fault (Lefort et al., 1994).

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