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Eötvös Loránd Geophysical Institute of Hungary, Paleomagnetic Laboratory, Columbus 17-23, H-1145 Budapest,



 Institute of Geology, Sachsova 2, HR-1000 Zagreb, Croatia


 Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva 6, HR-1000 Zagreb,



 Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ante Kovačića 5, HR-1000 Zagreb, Croatia


 Eötvös Loránd University, Geophysics Department, Ludovika tér 2, H-1083 Budapest, Hungary;

(Manuscript received August 17, 1998; accepted in revised form March 17, 1999)


Five sedimentary localities (Ottnangian through early Pannonian age) and one igneous site (K/Ar age

17 Ma) were studied paleomagnetically. Apart from one sedimentary locality, all yielded excellent or good paleomag-
netic results, with declinations indicating counterclockwise (CCW) rotations. The declinations are between 300 and


 and seem to vary in space and not in time. Since the youngest rock exhibiting CCW rotation is of early Pannonian

age, it is reasonable to connect the rotations to the “intra-Pannonian” or “Rhodanian” tectonic phase, i.e. the most
marked and last Tertiary tectonic event manifested in thrusts and strike-slip movements in the south-western part of
the Tisza (Tisia) or South Pannonian megatectonic unit. The new paleomagnetic results are in harmony with CCW
rotations postulated for the Slavonian Mts. However, the Tertiary paleomagnetic data from the Slavonian Mts. and the
Mecsek Mts. point to extreme mobility within the south-west part of the Tisza megatectonic unit. This seems to be in
conflict with current tectonic models which work with a rigid Tisza megatectonic unit in the Tertiary.

Key words: 

Southern Pannonian Basin, paleomagnetism, rotations.


The importance of paleomagnetic data as indicators of tec-
tonic movements has long been recognized. Such data have
also been obtained and interpreted in terms of tectonics for
the Carpatho-Pannonian region (e.g. Márton & Márton 1981,
1983; Márton 1986, 1987). In recent years, Tertiary rocks
have been intensively studied, especially north of the Hun-
garian Mobile Belt (e.g. Márton & Márton 1995; Márton et
al. 1996; Túnyi & Márton 1996). Acquisition of data, howev-
er, in the Tisza (Tisia) Unit (south of the same mobile belt)
has been hampered by the scarcity of suitable outcrops. In
Hungary, only the Mecsek area, is accessible for paleomag-
netic sampling, but the quality of the rocks is not always sat-
isfactory (coarse grain size, deep weathering etc.).

The paleomagnetic data from the Mecsek Mts. obtained

from 1995 onward (Márton & Márton, in prep.) have clearly
indicated that the work has to be extended to other parts of
the Tisza Unit as well. Nearest to the Mecsek area, the
Slavonian Mountains in Croatia seemed to be a natural
choice for extension and, as a first step, a pilot sampling was
carried out there in 1997. It was supported by a joint project
between the Croatian and Hungarian Academies of Sciences.

The Slavonian Mountains, consisting of the Psunj, Ravna

Gora, Papuk, Krndija, Dilj and Požeška Gora Mts., are locat-
ed in the central part of Slavonia in Northern Croatia
(Fig. 1). The Požega Valley lies in the centre of the study

area and is encircled by all the above mentioned mountains.
Most of the Psunj, Papuk and Krndija Mts. are composed of
Variscan and Alpine formations which are unconformably
covered by the Neogene sedimentary rocks of the Pannonian
Basin. The Phanerozoic formations of the Slavonian Moun-
tains have been penetrated by a number of oil-wells in the
surrounding basement, particularly in the adjacent Drava De-
pression (Pamić 1986). These have been summarized in
Pamić & Lanphere (1991) for Paleozoic crystalline rocks and
in several explanatory texts for the Mesozoic and Cenozoic
formations accompanying separate sheets of the 1:100,000
geological map covering this area of northern Croatia
(Jamičić et al. 1987, 1989; Korolija & Jamičić 1989; Šparica
et al. 1980, 1987).

Most of the Papuk, Krndija and Psunj Mts. are composed

of Variscan greenschist and amphibolite facies metamorphic
rocks associated with larger masses of penecontemporaneous
migmatites and S-type granites with subordinate I-type gran-
ites. These rocks are accompanied by Silurian to Early Car-
boniferous very low-grade metapelites and metapsammites
intruded by metabasic sills which probably represented the
protolith for the Variscan crystalline complex (Raffaelli
1965). Mesozoic formations are subordinate and are repre-
sented mainly by Triassic and to smaller extent, by Jurassic
and Late Cretaceous clastic and carbonate rocks in the Papuk
and Krndija Mts. and by the Late Cretaceous igneous and
sedimentary rocks in the Požeška Gora Mt. (Fig. 1).

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274                                                                                            MÁRTON et al.

 In the Tertiary fill of the Slavonian part of the South Pan-

nonian Basin the following formations can be distinguished:
1) Ottnangian–Karpatian clastic and carbonate sedimentary
rocks; 2) Karpatian–Badenian volcanic rocks represented by
basalts, trachyandesites, andesites and rhyolites; 3) Badenian
lithotamnium limestones, clastic, volcanic and pyroclastic
rocks, mainly of andesite-basalt composition; 4) Early Sar-
matian-Pannonian limestones and clastics; 5) Pontian clastic
sediments with coal-seams; 6) Miocene–Pliocene sands and
clays and 7) Dacian and Romanian coarse to fine-grained
clastics. These formations are unconformably overlain by
Plio-Quaternary and Quaternary clays, sands and gravels of
alluvial, eolian and deluvial origin.

Geological setting and the paleomagnetic

sampling localities

North of the northern margin of the Dinarides, which

emerged in Late Eocene/Oligocene times, numerous isolated
deep to shallow water, marine, brackish to freshwater basins
originated (Paratethys). In some parts of the present Pannon-
ian Basin clastic sedimentation started in these isolated ba-

sins during the Oligocene transpression phase. In the study
area, there are not sufficient observations to support the oc-
currence of the Oligocene formations. Most recently, howev-
er, Oligocene andesites, dacites and pyroclastic rocks have
been quite positively identified at the base of the Neogene
formations of the Drava Depression (Pamić 1997). On the
basis of oil well data K. Kalac (pers. comm. 1998) is of the
opinion that Oligocene sedimentary rocks are also present in
this depression.

In the area of the Slavonian Mountains, the Early Miocene

basin evolution started after the Oligocene transpression
phase. The Miocene rift formations are characterized by dif-
ferent lithologies originating in different, tectonically unsta-
ble environments.

Sedimentation of breccias, alluvial conglomerates and

sands over subsided Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Paleogene for-
mations started in the Ottnangian. Penecontemporaneous
salina-type lake existed only locally, and silty sediments, as
at the site Poljanska (Fig. 1) associated with some coarse-
grained clastics and pyroclastics were deposited in them
(Šćavničar et al. 1983). The whole area of the Slavonian
Mountains was affected by further subsidence which gave
rise to a freshwater lake development in which marls, clays,
silts, (e.g. site Sokolina — Fig. 1), sands and gravels, accu-

Fig. 1.

 Simplified geological map of the Slavonian Mountains area based on data of the Geological Map of the Republic of Croatia

1:300,000 (Institute of Geology, Zagreb, Croatia, 1997). Legend: 1 — Quaternary and Quaternary-Pliocene sedimentary rocks; 2 — Da-
cian-Romanian Paludina Beds; 3 — Miocene-Pliocene sands and clays; 4 — Pontian clastics with coal seams; 5 — Early Sarmatian-Pan-
nonian limestones and clastics; 6 — Badenian Lithotamnium limestones, clastics, volcanics and pyroclastics; 7 — Karpatian-Badenian
larger volcanic bodies, basalts, trachyandesites and rhyolites; 8 — Ottnangian-Karpatian carbonate and clastic sedimentary rocks; 9 —
Mesozoic sedimentary and igneous rocks; 10 — Paleozoic metamorphic rocks, migmatites and granites.

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FIRST PALEOMAGNETIC RESULTS ON TERTIARY ROCKS                                                      275

mulated. The lake was probably deep and hydrologically
open (Pavelić 1991). Possibly, due to a connection with the
Mediterranean Sea (Rögl & Steininger 1983) a new marine
regime started during the Karpatian, in which marls, sands
and gravels accumulated. In the area of Krndija Mt. compar-
atively large masses of trachyandesites erupted (site Torine
— Fig. 1) during this period (Pamić et al. 1992/1993). At the
end of the Karpatian, mainly sands were deposited in shallow
water environments.

At the beginning of the Badenian, sedimentation of sands

and gravels continued which, however, owing to subsequent
transgression, changed into marls, calcarenites and gravels

typical of offshore environments (Pavelić 1991). In several
areas submarine volcanic activity is indicated by the com-
mon interlayering of pyroclastic rocks with sediments.

The Sarmatian is characterized by the predominance of

marls (e.g. site Našice — Fig. 1), and limestones with spo-
radic interlayering of sands and silts, all related to environ-
ments that turned from marine into brackish (Korolija &
Jamičić 1989; Jamičić et al. 1987; Šparica et al. 1987).

In the Pannonian, the environment became “caspibrackish”

and more freshwater, characterized by deposition of shallow
water limestones which are overlain by younger, deep water
marls (e.g. site Grižići — Fig. 1), (Šparica et al. 1980). Similar

Fig. 2.

 Poljanska: a — Stereographic plot of principal axes of anisotropic susceptibility (full squares: maximum axis, full triangles: inter-

mediate axis, full circles: minimum axis). b — Modified demagnetization (Zijderveld) plot showing directional (D: declination, I: Incli-
nation) as well as intensity (R) and susceptibility (kappa) (see inset) changes for specimen HR 2 during thermal demagnetization. c  —
Uppermost box: IRM — (Isothermal Remanent Magnetization) acquisition curve of specimen HR 10. Underlying two boxes: Thermal
demagnetization curves of a 3-component IRM (same specimen). Symbols are as follows: hollow circles: low; full circles: medium, full
squares: high coercivity component. Lowermost box: Susceptibility changes during demagnetization (same specimen).

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276                                                                                            MÁRTON et al.

sedimentary environments existed during the Early Pontian. In
the Late Pontian, during the main filling phase of the Pannon-
ian Basin, sands, clays and gravel were deposited. Freshwater
sedimentation prevailed during the Pliocene (Jamičić et al.
1987; Šparica et al. 1980, 1987; Korolija & Jamičić 1989).

Paleomagnetic sampling and laboratory procedure

From the above mentioned five localities, 45 paleomagnet-

ic samples were drilled in the field and magnetically oriented
in situ. From each core, one or more standard-size (one inch
diameter, two cm long) specimens were cut. The natural re-
manent magnetization (NRM) and the susceptibility of each
specimen were measured on Cryogenic and JR-4 magnetom-
eters and KLY-2 Kappabridge, respectively. These measure-
ments were followed by stepwise demagnetization of the
NRM, either by the AF (alternating field) or thermal method
or the combination of the two, until the magnetic signal was
lost. Additional magnetic measurements were carried out for
the identification of the magnetic minerals, such as Curie
temperature measurements, IRM (isothermal remanent mag-
netization) acquisition experiments and thermal demagneti-
zation of a three-component IRM (method published by
Lowrie 1990). The anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility was
measured for two localities.

Paleomagnetic results

The locality at Poljanska (Fig. 1) yielded an excellent pale-

omagnetic result. After the removal of an overprint compo-
nent by demagnetization, a single component remanence was
obtained (Fig. 2b) which is of reversed polarity. The carrier
of this remanence is magnetite as shown by the IRM demag-
netization characteristics (Fig. 2c). The locality mean paleo-
magnetic direction is well-defined (Table 1). All the mineral
magnetic properties as well as the anisotropy of the suscepti-
bility (Fig. 2a) suggest that the characteristic remanence is
primary. Therefore, it is the tilt-corrected paleomagnetic di-
rection (Table 1 and Fig. 5) which we will interpret in terms
of tectonics.

Study of samples from the locality at Sokolina (Fig. 1)

was unsuccessful, probably, because the rock has not re-
tained its original magnetization (the NRM directions are

widely scattered and the NRM is lost already on moderate

Sampling in the Našice Quarry (Fig. 1) required special

care because the available outcrops showed clear signs of
weathering (yellow staining). The grey coloured samples
which were eventually taken were seemingly fresh. Never-
theless, the NRM turned out to be very weak and only a few
samples could be used to define the characteristic magnetiza-
tion (Table 1). The magnetic minerals present are pyrrhotite
and hematite as shown by the thermal demagnetization
curve(s) of the three-component IRM (Fig. 4c).

Fig. 3.

 Torine: a — Susceptibility versus temperature curve show-

ing a Curie-temperature of 575 


C for specimen HR 33. b — Mod-

ified AF — (Alternating Field) demagnetization (Zijderveld) plot
showing directional as well as intensity changes during demagne-
tization of specimen HR 34A.

Slavonian Mountains




















HR 1-10, Ottnangian













HR 17-28, Sarmatian













HR 29-35, Karpatian















HR 36-45, Pannonian












Table 1:

 Paleomagnetic results. Locality mean paleomagnetic directions before (D


, I


) and after tilt correction (D


, I


) with statistical

parameters (k, 



, Fisher 1953). n/no number of used/collected samples on which the calculation of the overall mean is based. Remark a:

locality mean direction is based on fully demagnetized samples and the results of component analysis (Kent et al. 1983), remark c: local-
ity mean direction is based on the combination of stable end points and remagnetization circles (McFadden & McElhinny 1988).

° °



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FIRST PALEOMAGNETIC RESULTS ON TERTIARY ROCKS                                                      277

Fig. 4.

 Grižići and Našice. a — As in Fig. 2b for specimen HR 41. b — As in Fig. 3b for specimen HR 44B. Specimens HR 41 and HR

44B are from Grižići. c — As in Fig. 2 c for specimen HR 18B from Našice.

Site Torine (Fig. 1), the only igneous site collected, gave

similarly well-defined paleomagnetic direction as Poljanska.
The AF-demagnetization behaviour is essentially that of a sin-
gle-component remanence (Fig. 3b). The Curie-temperature
curve (Fig. 3a) shows that the remanence carrier is magnetite.

Site Grižići (Fig. 1) also gave meaningful result, though

the samples were weakly magnetized and easily demagne-
tized (Fig. 4a,4b).

Discussion and conclusions

From the paleomagnetic localities of the present study,

Poljanska and Torine are of excellent quality and both show
moderate but significant counterclockwise rotation. The
quality and precision of the Našice result are much poorer

and, in addition, it is only consistent with Poljanska and To-
rine if Našice is not corrected for tectonic tilt, i.e. with the
assumption that the remanence is younger than the tilting.
However, since Našice is strongly tectonized, the secondary
nature of the remanence, which is carried by pyrrhotite, is
very likely. Grižići is also rotated to some extent irrespective
of the direction being taken before or after tilt correction and
the sense of rotation is as above.

Although the general trend of the paleomagnetically indi-

cated rotations is counterclockwise, the mean paleomagnetic
directions are statistically different from one another. The larg-
est rotation was observed for Našice, somewhat smaller for
Torine and the rotation angle is even smaller for Poljanska and
Grižići. Obviously, these differences stem from local effects
and cannot be attributed to decreasing the angle of rotation
with time. The rotation of the Slavonian Mountains is con-

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278                                                                                            MÁRTON et al.

strained by the Našice result to have taken place after the Sar-
matian. The moderate rotation of Grižići is just an indication
that the rotation can be, at least partly, post-Early Pannonian.

Similar counterclockwise rotations were observed recently

for the Tertiary of the northern margin of the Mecsek Mountains
(Márton & Márton, in prep.), and earlier for a single isolated oc-
currence of Tertiary ignimbrite in the Mid-Hungarian Mobile
zone, further to the north (Márton & Márton 1989).

The observations of counterclockwise rotations in these ar-

eas are somewhat surprising since both the Mecsek and the
Slavonian Mountains are thought to be parts of the Tisza
megatectonic province which has been thought of as a single
tectonostratigraphic unit in the Tertiary (Kovács et al. 1988)
and a unit that must have rotated in the clockwise sense in
post-Cretaceous times (e.g. Márton 1986; Balla 1986;
Pătra cu et al. 1994).

As for the tectonics of the Slavonian Mts., they form a

horst between the Drava (North) and Sava (South) basins.
These basins were formed as a result of a general N-S com-
pression during the Neogene (Bergerat & Csontos 1988;
Bergerat 1989) which was accommodated by movements
along NW–SE trending, dextral strike-slip faults during the
Neogene and Quarternary (e.g. Jamičić 1988; Royden 1988).
The dextral strike-slip movements led to an overall
transpression in the intervening area (Slavonian Mts.) which
was accompanied by clockwise rotations, en-echelon folding
and formation of a Riedel-type conjugate fault system, con-
sisting of NW-SE striking dextral and NE-SW striking sinis-
tral faults (Jamičić 1995). According to Jamičić (1988, 1995)
most movements occurred along the sinistral set of faults
which should have caused an overall counterclockwise rota-

tion as well as folding of the fault-separated blocks leading
eventually to a reduction of the width of the area between the
Drava and Sava rivers.

In the Hungarian part of the South Pannonian Basin, the

counterclockwise rotations seem to be older than in the
Croatian part (Márton & Márton in prep.). Thus the northern
margin of the Mecsek Mts. and the Slavonian Mts. must have
moved independently, despite of the similar sence and mag-
nitude of rotations.

Contrary to what was found for the northern margin of the

Mecsek Mts. the paleomagnetic study of the Tertiary in the
main body of the Mecsek Mts. revealed clockwise rotations,
that must have occurred during the Pannonian. The event of
clockwise rotation in the Mecsek may be correlated with an
intra-Pannonian compressional event which has been docu-
mented recently by Benkovics (1997).

 It has been shown very recently by Tari-Kovačić & Pamić

(1998), that compressive tectonics took place in the whole
South Pannonian Basin at the beginning of the Pliocene. Re-
flection seismic data indicate that some units of the Northern
Dinarides are thrust over the Tisza megaunit, at about 5–6 Ma
or later. This is a new tectonic regime which reflects an in-
crease of intraplate compressional stress producing localized
deformations and broad buckling and uplift of the Pannonian
Basin. The deformation phase is probably an expression of the
persisting convergence of Africa–Arabia and Europe.


The fieldwork was financed by a joint

project of the Academies of Sciences of Croatia and Hunga-
ry. Additional support was provided by the Hungarian Scien-
tific Research Fund (OTKA), Project No. T 01708.


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