ALPINE FOLDING (EN: alpine folding; DE: alpinische Orogenese, alpine Faltung; FR: plissement alpin; ES: plegamiento alpinico; RU: альпийская складчатость) is the era of the tectogenesis, which has manifested itself since the end of the Cretaceous, and predominantly during the Cenozoic within the limits of the geosynclinal regions, which developed themselves during the Mesozoic and early Paleogene; it has concluded itself with the emergence of the young mountainous structures, namely, the Alpides.
One of the regions of the typical manifestation of the Alpine folding is the Alps (with which is associated the origin of the "Alpine folding" name). Besides the Alps, there belong to the region of the Alpine folding: in Europe, the Pyrenees, Andalusian mountains, Apennines, Carpathians, Dinaric mountains, Balkans; in the North Africa, the Atlas mountains; in Asia, the Caucasus, Pontic mountains and Taurus, Turkmen-Khorasan mountains, Alborz and Zagros, Suleymanov mountains, Himalayas, folded chains of Burma, Indonesia, Kamchatka, Japanese and Philippine islands; in the North America, the folded ridges of the Pacific coast of Alaska and California; in the South America, the Andes; the archipelagos, which are framing Australia from the east, including the New Guinea and New Zealand islands. The Alpine folding has manifested itself not only within the limits of the geosynclinal regions as the epigeosynclinal folded structures, but also affected in certain places the neighbouring platforms, namely, Jura mountains and part of the Iberian peninsula (Iberian chains) in the Western Europe, southern part of the Atlas mountains in the North Africa, Tajik depression, and southwestern spurs of the Hissar ridge in the Central Asia, Eastern Rocky Mountains in the North America, Patagonian Andes in the South America, Antarctic peninsula in Antarctica, and others.
There is also associated with the Alpine folding the formation of the folds within the intermountainous downfolds of the arched-blocky mountainous structures of the Central Asia (Fergana, Tsaidam, and other depressions), which have emerged during the process of the epi-platformal orogeny. The Alpine folding in the broad sense (that is, which has embraced the Mesozoic and Cenozoic times), consisted of the several stages, among which they distinguish the Laramian (from the late Cretaceous to the early Paleogene), Pyrenean (from the late Eocene to the early Oligocene), Savian (at the turn of the Oligocene and Miocene), Styrian (middle Miocene), Attic (late Miocene), Rodanian (middle Pliocene), and Wallachian (Pleistocene). The manifestation of each stage does not extend in space for the entire region of the Alpine folding.
The territory, which is embraced by the Alpine folding, retains high tectonic activity also in the modern epoch, which expresses itself as the intensely dissected relief, high seismicity, and volcanic activity, which is continuing in many places (Vesuvius, Etna, and other volcanoes). There is associated with the Alpine folding the development of the various plutonogenic and volcanogenic hydrothermal deposits of the ores of copper, zinc, lead, gold, tungsten, tin, molybdenum, and especially antimony and mercury.
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