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Abstract and keywords

Upper Carboniferous, Namurian to Westphalian coal measures in Belgium form part of the Variscan Foredeep in northwestern Europe, with maximum preserved thickness over 3500 m. Despite post-depositional separation of the Wallonian and Campine coal basins by the Brabant Massif and different tectonic styles, a common lithostratigraphic nomenclature can be applied. The stratigraphic subdivision is based on the distinction between a carbonate-dominated marine ‘Dinantian’ and siliciclastic continental, coal-bearing ‘Silesian’. Basal units testify of a marine transgression, locally continuous with Dinantian carbonate sedimentation, elsewhere drowning an emergent karst landscape. Progressive advance and uplift of the Variscan orogenic belt caused rapid subsidence in the foreland and transition from prodelta mudstones to upper alluvial plain conglomerates, with fewer marine incursions. The Belgian Coal Measures Group encompasses this complete tectonically-driven sedimentary succession.