Permian

Traditionally the Permian in northwest Europe is subdivided into two parts as defined originally in medieval Germany. The main Permian target for mining was the valuable ‘Kupferschiefer’ (‘coppershale’), overlain by ‘Zechstein’ (‘quarry stone’) consisting of carbonates and evaporites. It rested on the economically less interesting ‘Rotliegend’ (‘red foundation’) sequence.

In the Netherlands, the classic German lithostratigraphic subdivision into Lower Rotliegend, Upper Rotliegend and Zechstein was adopted for the Permian at group level. After the discovery of the giant Groningen gas field in the Upper Rotliegend (1959), a local subdivision was established (Stäuble and Milius (1970) ). van Adrichem Boogaert (1976) ; with data from Rhys (1974) ), and NAM and RGD (1980) modified and extended the original definition to encompas the entire Netherlands. Wijhe (1980) focused on the petroleum-geological aspects of the Rotliegend.

The Dutch subdivision and nomenclature of the Zechstein corresponds with those applied in Germany (Richter-Bernburg (1955) ; Kulick (1987) ). It is based on both evaporite cycles and the principles of sequence stratigraphy. The subdivision can also be applied to the clastic Zechstein, present in the central and southern part of the Dutch onshore and offshore. The translation of the German names has been adopted from NAM and RGD (1980) . Brueren (1959) , Visser (1963) , Derumeaux (1980) and van Adrichem Boogaert (1983) described the general development of the Zechstein in the Netherlands, and Clark (1980) and van der Baan (1990) considered to the reservoir properties of the carbonates.

‘Early’ Permian (Autunian and Saxonian)

Up to the end of the Carboniferous, Stephanian red beds were deposited locally in the Northwest European Basin, partly (dis)conformable on the underlying Westphalian, partly on folded older Carboniferous, deformed by the Asturian tectonic phase.

At the beginning of the Early Permian, late Hercynian tectonism resulted in transtensional rifting and the formation of a number of pull-apart basins in northeastern Germany and western Poland (Gast (1988) ; Franke (1990) ; Ziegler (1990). During the Autunian clastics and volcanics accumulated in these basins, attaining considerable thicknesses in these basins. The Emmen Volcanic Formation, in the eastern Netherlands, is only a subordinate part of this Lower Rotliegend development. The Saalian tectonic phase terminated Lower Rotliegend deposition in most of the Northwest European Basin. A lengthy period of non-deposition and regional uplift followed, resulting in erosion which removed hundreds to thousands of metres of sediment from large areas (Wijhe (1980) ;RGD (1993) ). The resulting paleogeological configuration (see Saalian unconformity subcrop map, Fig. C.4 (see pdf) has controlled the structural grain in later times. Mesozoic and Cenozoic structural elements date back at least to the Saalian phase.

Thermal subsidence after the Saalian events resulted in the formation of the Northern and Southern Permian Basins (Ziegler (1990) ). The latter basin stretched from the United Kingdom to Poland. To the south it was bounded by the Variscan mountain front (for the Netherlands: the London-Brabant Massif and Rhenish Massif). The Mid North Sea High - Ringkøbing-Fyn High constituted the northern delimitation. During the Saxonian, this extensive intramontane basin was filled with continental to marginally marine Upper Rotliegend deposits. In the deep centre of the basin a halite-dominated evaporitic sequence was deposited. A sandstone-dominated desert facies developed on gently inclined platform areas along the southern margin of the basin during the course of the Saxonian, overstepping the Saalian erosion surface. On the platform areas deposition started later (notably the Texel-IJsselmeer High (see pdf) and the Cleaver Bank High), and in places the platform remained exposed (southeast Drenthe). South of the Texel-IJsselmeer High (see pdf) - Cleaver Bank High, the Central Netherlands Basin and Off Holland Low formed subsidiary depocentres. The sediments south of these basin areas thin rapidly, and only a thin veneer of sands and conglomerates extending onto the north flank of the London-Brabant Massif is preserved. In places these may be partly related to the Late Permian Zechstein transgression (van Adrichem Boogaert (1976) ).Clastics were transported mainly from the S-SSE to the N-NNW. The sediments, deposited under periodically hot and arid climatic conditions, consist of dune sands, wadi, inland sabkha, and desert-lake deposits Glennie (1972) . Along the northern edge of the platform areas, an alternation of platform sandstones and basinal claystones was deposited as a result of repeated fluctuations in the level of the desert lake. The distribution and succession of different lithologies on the platform was controlled by these fluctuations, which reflect climatic variations. The relief and differential subsidence caused marked lateral facies variations on the platform. For instance, the southern Off Holland Low and the Central Netherlands Basin were dominated by aeolian sandstone sedimentation while the Groningen area comprises predominantly coarse-grained alluvial-fan and wadi deposition (Wijhe (1980) )

‘Late’ Permian (Thuringian)

The formation of a rift zone between Greenland and Scandinavia (Laurentia-Greenland and Fennosarmatia; Ziegler (1990) ) at the start of this epoch caused a sudden transgression into the low-lying Northern and Southern Permian Basins, which had subsided significantly below sea-level (Glennie (1990) ). The narrow seaway was obstructed periodically, resulting in cyclic deposition of evaporites, carbonates and minor clastics, now referred to as the Zechstein Group. During the Thuringian the Southern Permian Basin became divided into several tectonic elements, which resulted in large variations in thickness and composition of the Zechstein Group. The main depocentre in the Southern Permian Basin was situated in the northern offshore and the northeastern Netherlands. It was bordered to the north by the Mid North Sea High and the Ringkøbing-Fyn High, and to the south by the Texel-IJsselmeer High (see pdf) . This depocentre is characterised by thick salt sequences in the Z2 (Stassfurt) Formation and Z3 (Leine). Formation. Along the highs, extensive carbonate/anhydrite platforms formed. These highs were subject to periods of meteoric exposure. Siliciclastic sediment derived from the highs only locally form a minor constituent of the lower Zechstein (e.g. Doornspijk-2; van Adrichem Boogaert (1983) ). South of the Texel-IJsselmeer High (see pdf) , in the Central Netherlands Basin and the Lower Rhine Embayment, salt deposition occurred already during the deposition of the Z1 (Werra) Formation. Between these basins and the Brabant Massif a platform area existed, known as the South Netherlands Platform, on which fine-grained clastics, carbonates and anhydrite were deposited. In the southwestern offshore area, an early Permian clastics feeder system persisted during the Zechstein in the Off Holland Low. In its southern part, mainly sands were deposited, grading northwards into claystones and evaporites.
Towards the end of the Permian, the Southern Permian Basin was practically filled, and evaporite deposition became restricted to the very centre of the depression. A mildly sagging peneplain surface was left, onto which the very extensive lacustrine/floodplain deposits of the Lower Buntsandstein Formation (Lower Germanic Trias Group) were deposited.

Permian ages

After the publication of the introductory chapter (See Intro button), it became evident that the correlation of the local Permian stages Autunian, Saxonian and Thuringian with the global stages, and the absolute ages as presented in Fig. A.1 (see pdf) and Enclosure A.1 are debatable (Menning (1994) ).

Magnetostratigraphic investigations by Menning et al (1988) , in particular by the position of the Illawarra Reversal, suggest that the bulk of the Upper Rotliegend Group and the Zechstein Group would have been deposited in the Tatarian. In a correlation according to Harland et al (1990) , these deposits then represent the late Capitanian, Longtanian and to Changxingian encompassing, according to the same authors, the unlikely short duration of only 6 to 7 Ma. Menning (1994) postulates a duration of 8 Ma for the Havel and Elbe Subgroups alone, and Yang and Baumfalk (1994) , using Milankovitch cyclicity wire-line log analysis, estimate the duration of the deposition of the Upper Rotliegend Group in the centre of the Dutch part of the Southern Permian Basin to be at least 10.7 Ma. A consequence of Menning’s correlation is that the Upper Rotliegend, as far as it is present in the Netherlands, has a Late Permian age.

Menning (1994) concludes a duration of 7 (possibly 5) Ma for the Zechstein. The time scale for the Permian and Triassic he proposes, seems more suitable for use in the Netherlands than that of Harland et al (1990) ), and is adopted here.

Regional correlation Regional lithostratigraphic correlation chart of the Permian for the Netherlands and neighbouring countries Regional lithostratigraphic correlation chart of the Permian for the Netherlands and neighbouring countries
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Structural element Late Permian structural elements Late Permian structural elements
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  Early Permian structural elements Early Permian structural elements
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Chrono-stratigraphy Late Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the western offshore of the Netherlands Late Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the western offshore of the Netherlands
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  Late Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the central and eastern  Netherlands Late Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the central and eastern Netherlands
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  Early - Middle Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the western offshore of the Netherlands Early - Middle Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the western offshore of the Netherlands
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  Early - Middle Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the central and eastern  Netherlands Early - Middle Permian litho-chronostratigraphic chart for the central and eastern Netherlands
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References See References Permian

Van Adrichem Boogaert, H.A. & Kouwe, W.F.P., 1993-1997. [Stratigraphic unit]. In: Stratigraphic Nomenclature of the Netherlands.
Retrieved [Datum] from [url].