The 1:5 Million International Geological Map of Europe and Adjacent Areas (IGME 5000), was printed in December 2005 and released in February 2006. This map, a BGR (Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources of Germany) product coordinated by Dr. Kristine Asch under the aegis of the Commission for the Geological Map of the World, is the result of the collaboration of 48 European geological surveys and the support of a network of scientific advisors.
This document replaces the Carte Géologique Internationale de l’Europe et des régions riveraines de la Méditerranée, published in Hanover (in French) in 1971, at the same scale and projection (Lambert conformal conic). This new version extends further to the north and the west covering a large part of the North Atlantic, Greenland, and the European Arctic continental shelf (Barents Sea), as well as the West Siberian shelf (Kara Sea). To the south, the mapped areas stretch from the Canary Islands and southern Morocco, to the far end of the Persian Gulf. It encompasses therefore all inland seas, i.e. the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. An important innovation is the inclusion of the geological mapping information for the offshore areas, which represent around 60% of the map surface. The map has been generated digitally and is underpinned by a fully geoscientifical spatial database.
The mapping of the onshore areas follow the principles of traditional geological cartography, i.e. based on the age of the formation of the outcropping (or subcropping) rocks, corresponding to the three main classic domains which are sedimentary rocks, igneous rocks and metamorphic rocks.
The age of the sedimentary deposits is given by a set of color shades (with its relevant geological symbols) identifiying the 49 chronostratigraphic boxes ranging from the Archean to the Holocene, the Proterozoic being subdivided into three units (Paleo-, Meso-, Neoproterozoic).
The igneous formations are differentiated in intrusive and extrusive magmatic rocks. Each of these two categories being characterized by a set of four specific colors, corresponding to four chronological mega-units which are: Cenozoic (with Quaternary differentiated for extrusive formations), Mesozoic, Paleozoic, and Precambrian. The age of each of these units is indicated by the symbol of the coeval sedimentary rock.
The metamorphic rocks are figured schematically by an overprint on the age of the protolith, indicating the grade of metamorphism: low grade, medium grade, high grade, and undifferentiated grade.
As formerly stated, particular attention was paid to the geology of the seafloor, which embraces three main structural/geodynamic domains: passive continental margins, oceanic basin, and the complex Mediterranean area.
In as much as possible, the principles governing the mapping of the continental shelves are the same as for the onshore areas, which is the case of about 2/3 of the corresponding surfaces, actually – the large north-west European platforms of the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Arctic area. Otherwise, the continental margins are figured in a more schematic way. The large basaltic outpours resulting from the Early Cenozoic opening of the North Atlantic are plotted, namely the “Seaward Dipping Reflector Series” edging the margin of Greenland on the one hand, and that of the British Isles and Norway on the other hand.
For the North Atlantic basin, a classic sample of an expanding ocean, the chronostratigraphic age of the basaltic oceanic crust was represented using the same shades as those used for the Meso-Cenozoic coeval onshore sedimentary deposits. The magnetic anomalies and the location of the continent-ocean boundaries are also plotted.
Updated data enhanced the cartography of the Mediterranean Sea and its neighboring inland sea, an area characterized by an overall compressive context between Africa/Arabia and Eurasia where subductions, island arcs, continental crust thinning associated with localized submarine volcanism, collisions, tectonic escape (of the Anatolian block), sedimentary accretionary prisms, neoformation of Neogene oceanic crust (Algeria-Provence and Tyrrhenian back arc basins) and remnants of the Mesozoic Tethyan ocean s.l. (Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, South Caspian basin) coexist. The extension of the messinian salt figures also in the map.