GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 51, 4, BRATISLAVA, AUGUST 2000
LOWER TRIASSIC QUARTZITES OF THE WESTERN
CARPATHIANS: TRANSPORT DIRECTIONS, SOURCE OF CLASTICS
MILAN MIÍK and JOZEF JABLONSKÝ
Department of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, Comenius University, Mlynská dolina, 842 15 Bratislava,
(Manuscript received March 13, 2000; accepted in revised form June 20, 2000)
Abstract: The possibility of localizing the source area for the Lower Triassic (Scythian) quartzites and sandstones
(Lúna Fm.) was checked. Cross-bedding measurements show the transport from the Carpathian foreland, from the
NW and N (the same as in the Eastern Alps). The source area could be in the eastern part of the Bohemian Massif (now
subducted under the Carpathians), or in the Armorican Massif, if the supposed large left-lateral shift of the Central
Western Carpathians took place. The sedimentary environment can be characterized as fluvial braidplain of ephem-
eral sandy-pebbly streams with intervals of eolian transport. Rare intercalations of psephitic clasts contain only the
most resistent rocks: vein quartz, quartz porphyries (rhyolites) with their pyroclastics, rare intermediary volcanites,
postvolcanic products as jaspers and hematitic quartzites, graphitic metaquartzites, radiolarian lydites, silicified wood
of Dadoxylon sp., limnosilicites with pollen grains and a single silicite with ostracods. Various tourmalinitic rocks are
the most promissing for the identification of the provenance area.
Key words: Western Carpathians, Lower Triassic, paleogeography, braided rivers, pebble analysis, tourmalinites.
Our study was focused thoroughly on both the Malé Karpaty
and Povaský Inovec Mts.; supplementary analyses were car-
ried out from six other mountain ranges.
The previous authors considered the Scythian quartzites
(Liptovská Lúna Fm., Fejdiová 1980), prevailingly as ma-
rine littoral sediment. In the Austrian Alpine literature, these
quartzites used to be designated as the Permo-Scythian Sem-
mering Quartzite. In the Tatric Superunit of the Western Car-
pathians, they occur in a new sedimentary cycle without di-
rect connection to more polymictic Permian sediments with
synchronous acid volcanism. Scythian conglomerate interca-
lations lack granitic pebbles; a continuous passage into
Campilian strata can be observed. The quartzites are con-
ventionally assigned to the Seis (probably Griesbachian)
without paleontological or radiometric evidence. Miík &
Jablonský (1978) interpreted them as continental sediments
of ephemeral braided streams on a piedmont plain.
Transport directions (Fig. 1, details in further text) of quartz-
ites attest that the source area was placed at the outer side of
the West-Carpathian arc (transport from NW and N). There
are two comparative models for the concrete source area.
The first paleogeographical model (Michalík 1994) sup-
posed a left-lateral shift of several hundreds of kilometers of
the Tatric Superunit with the whole Central-Carpathian
Block against Paleo-Europe including Outer Carpathian
units. In this case the material of the Scythian quartzites of
the Tatric Superunit should have been derived from the Ar-
morican Massif and its prolongation now hidden under the
platform cover of the Paris Basin (l.c., Fig. 1). He estimated
the volume of Scythian clastics deposited in the Alpine-Car-
pathian area at 75,000100,000 km
and calculated that the
source area of these clastics must attain not less than 750,000
. According to the second alternative more or less au-
tochthonous or assuming a smaller left-lateral shift, the
eastern part of Bohemian Massif should have been the source
Due to the maturity of psephitic clastics containing only
several of most resistent rocks, the identification of the
source area is extremely difficult. A complete inventory of
identified rocks will be given in the further text. Only some
specific types could be indicative. Tourmalinitic rocks are
the most promissing. The comparison of identified clasts
with rocks of the supposed source areas is also handicapped
by the erosion of considerable pre-Triassic complexes, by
their large covering under the younger platform strata and by
the subduction of the eastermost part of the Bohemian Mas-
sif under the Carpathian Belt.
Lithoclasts in the Scythian quartzites
The evaluation of clasts was done from 120 thin sections.
The localization of the identified rock types is given on Fig. 1.
Clasts from the Scythian quartzites were already partly
studied in the Vysoké Tatry Mts. by Turnau-Morawska
(1955), Borza (1955), Roniewicz (1966); in the Vepor Mts.
by Losert (1963), in the Nízke Tatry Mts. by Koutek (1931)
and Fejdiová (1985), in the Malá Fatra Mts. by Ïuroviè
(1973 but his material was mixed with Permian conglomer-
ates), in the Malé Karpaty Mts. by Miík & Jablonský (1978)
and in the Povaský Inovec Mts. by Miík & Jablonský
(1999), now completed here.
In the Malé Karpaty Mts. (including the Hainburg Hills),
Tribeè Mts. and partly in the Povaský Inovec Mts., clasts of
quartz-tourmaline rock with tourmaline spherolites up to 2
mm in diameter occur (Pl. I: Figs. 13). Tourmaline is fre-
quently zonal (Pl. II: Fig. 1) with blue colour mostly on the
periphery of green or brown crystals. Their columns are com-
monly broken and healed by quartz (Pl. II: Fig. 1). Some-
times the whole rock is penetrated by veinlets with tiny tour-
Fig. 1. Transport directions derived from the cross-bedding in the Scythian quartzites of the West-Carpathian area (number in the centre
of current rose represents sum of measurements) and the composition of psephitic clasts in their intercalations: Tgr tourmalinite, Tvq
tourmalinized vein quartz, Tqt tourmalinized quartzite, Tpy tourmalinized pyroclastic rock, Tch tourmalinized chlorite
schist, M graphitic metaquartzite, Ml graphitic laminated metaquartzite, Mhm hematitic metaquartzite of Dill-Lahn type, Ch
chlorite schist, Qt quartzite, Qp quartz porphyry (paleorhyolite), Qps spherulitic quartz porphyry, Qpf felsite clast of devit-
rified volcanite without phenocryst, Vi volcanic rock probably of intermediary composition, J jasper-rosy silicite connected with
postvolcanic activity, L lydite-black silicite, Lr lydite with remains of radiolarians, S grey silicite very fine-grained, Spl si-
licite with fragments of plant tissue, Sw silicified wood, So silicite with ostracods.
Plate I: Clasts of tourmaline rocks in the Lower Triassic quartz-
ites. Fig. 1. Tourmaline spherulites in quartz aggregate. Dúbravka-
1, slopes of Devínska Kobyla near Bratislava, Malé Karpaty Mts.
Fig. 2. Blue tourmalines in quartz-tourmaline rock. Former Stocker-
au kiln-4 near Bratislava, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 3. Quartz-tourma-
line rock. Hradite-6, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 4. Quartz-tourma-
line rock. Sonnwendstein, Weinstrasse Eastern Alps, Austria. Fig. 5.
Quartz-tourmaline with very fine-grained felt-like cryptic tour-
maline aggregates. Dúbravka-4, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 6. Quartz-
biotite-tourmaline rock with elongated, pointed clasts of quartz. Tri
Jazdce-2 near Pezinok, Malé Karpaty Mts.
maline aggregate of the second generation (Pl. II: Fig. 4).
Quartz grains display undulatory extinction, pressure lamel-
lae and cataclastic disintegration. Clasts of tourmaline
quartzites are rare (Pl. II: Fig. 5). They have a mosaic of
quartz grains about 1 mm. The tourmaline spherolites are sit-
uated independently in the quartz mosaic.
Several clasts of tourmalinized pyroclastic rock were
identified. In one case a fragment of red acid volcanite with
fluidal structure was enclosed. Feldspar phenocrysts were si-
licified. In another case a magmatic corroded quartz phenoc-
ryst was found.
In all the other mountain ranges (Fig. 1) only clasts of
cryptic tourmalinite were found. They represent an initial
stage of tourmaline formation represented by extremely tiny
acicular aggregates in almost undifferentiated groundmass
with floating angular quartz fragments (Pl. I: Figs. 5, 6). Ac-
icular tourmalines penetrate in their marginal parts. Their
second generation in veinlets are more visible (Pl. II: Fig. 4).
The cryptic tourmalinites contain rare fragments of felsites
and jasper. Such aggregates are colloidal and/or gel related.
One single clast of a totally aberrant sericitic-tourmaline
rock with brown columnar tourmaline in haphazard position
was found in Donovaly, Nízke Tatry Mts. (Pl. II: Fig. 3).
The content of boron in three analyzed clasts was 0.7 %,
1.2 % and 1.2 %, that is approximately up to 40 % of tourma-
line in the rock (Miík & Jablonský 1978). In the preliminary
geochemical study of tourmaline by Uher (1999, Fig. 1, Ta-
ble 1) several types were found: schorl to foitit, dravite to
magnesian uvite. Besides quartz rarely fine-grained musco-
vite, biotite, chlorite and also feldspars were present. Among
the accessory minerals zircon, monazite (Ce), xenotime (Y),
hematite, rutile, titanite, anatas (Pl. II: Fig. 2) and epidote
Other known occurrences of tourmalinitic rocks in West-
ern Carpathians should be mentioned. Tourmalinitic rocks
were described from the Cretaceous Upohlav Conglomerate
by imová (1985, p. 4243). Birkenmajer & Wieser (1990, p.
22) mentioned pebbles of tourmalinized ignimbrites from the
Upper Cretaceous conglomerates of the Pieniny Klippen
Belt. Soták (1990) found a single pebble of tourmalinized
pyroclastic rock in Sedlec from the Paleogene dánice-Hus-
topeèe Formation, Soták et al. (1996, p. 108) mentioned
them from the Eocene ambron Conglomerate. Turnau-
Morawska (1953) found one pebble within Keuper conglom-
erates (Upper Triassic) of the High Tatra Mts. Radwañski
(1959, p. 359) identified a clast of tourmaline-quartz rock in
Liassic sediments of the High Tatra Mts. Vozárová-Min-
arovièová (1966) found pebbles of tourmalinites in Permian
conglomerates of the Veporic Superunit. Miko & Hovorka
(1978) described tourmalinitic intercalations in crystalline
complex of the Nízke Tatry Mts; eni & Hvoïara (1985)
found comparable synmetamorphic layers of quartz with
tourmaline also in Veporic crystalline complex.
As our clastic material was undoubtelly transported from
the NW and N, it cannot be in a connection with previously
mentioned localities in the Veporic Superunit. Occurrence of
tourmalinitic rock in Scythian quartzite of the Eastern Alps
(Vetters 1970) indicates the existence of common Alpine-
Carpathian sedimentary sources at that time.
If we suppose Czech Massif as a potential source, the data
about tourmalinite occurrences in Variegated Group of
Moldanubian Unit as well as in other crystalline complexes
of the Czech Massif (Kebrt et al. 1984) are important for us.
There tourmalinites accompany small lenticular bodies of
amphibolites, leptynites in paragneisses and micaschists.
They are frequently joined with a stratiform mineralization.
It is noteworthy that they were also known earlier from peb-
bles than from outcrops: from Ordovician conglomerates of
the Krkonoe Mts. (Chaloupský 1963) and Paleozoic con-
glomerates of the Branná Group (Bukovanská & Mísaø
1959). In the southern Moldanubian Unit, two types occur:
tourmaline up to 2 mm in granoblastic quartz with metamor-
phic structure and very tiny tourmaline grains (0.00X mm) in
brecciated quartzites with arsenopyrite. No tourmaline spher-
ulites were mentioned in contrast to their abundance in our
material from the Scythian quartzites.
Allen (1967) described clasts of tourmalinitic rocks from
the Hastings Beds of Permo-Triassic New Red Sandstone
from the second potencial source the Armorican Massif.
They are clasts of veinrocks and tectonized tourmalinitic
quartzites. No tourmaline spherulites were mentioned either.
The author supposed their transport from the SW. Jiang et al.
(1999) described pebbles of tourmalinitic rocks from the De-
vonian Old Red Sandstone of SW Ireland originating from
quartz-tourmaline veins, banded tourmalinites and tourma-
Acid volcanic rocks
Rosy rhyolite (paleorhyolite, quartz porphyry) in clasts
larger than 2 cm are rare. They contain quartz phenocrysts
with magmatic corrosion (Pl. II: Figs. 6, 8), sometimes also
sericitized feldspars phenocrysts; matrix is devitrified. Fluid-
al structure is common (Pl. II: Figs. 6, 8, 9). Macroscopic
spherulite structure was found only once (Pl. II: Fig. 7). The
rock is red and white, the spherulites contain micrograined
centres bordered with radial palisade quartz. Small felsitic
fragments (under 3 mm) with relics of spherulitic structure
are common (Pl. II: Fig. 10). The same types were present as
clasts in Liassic crinoidal limestones of the Pieniny Klippen
Plate II: Clasts of tourmaline rocks and paleorhyolites in the
Lower Triassic quartzites. Fig. 1. Zonal tourmalines in quartz-
tourmaline rock cracked and healed by younger quartz. Tri Jazdce-6
by Pezinok, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig 2. Anatas aggregate in felt-like
tourmalinite. Pred Kostolným vrchom-6, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig.
3. Sericite-tourmaline rock with haphazard distribution of brown
columnar tourmaline an aberrant type. Donovaly Hiadel Val-
ley, Nízke Tatry Mts. Fig. 4. Veinlet of quartz with tourmaline nee-
dles in cryptic tourmalinite. K¾aèno-Faèkov Saddle, Stráovské
vrchy Mts. Fig. 5. Tourmalinized quartzite. Block in Quarternary
sediments, 2 km SW from Jablonové, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 6.
Rhyolite with fluidal structure and corroded quartz phenocrysts.
Devín Castle. Fig. 7. Remnants of spherolite texture in silicified
rhyolite; fine-grained quartz fills the spherulite centers. Zlatý vrch-
10, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 8. Fluidal structure in rhyolite
(quartz porphyry). Devín-3, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 9. Fluidal struc-
ture in acid volcanite. Zrkadlisko-9, near Dolany, Malé Karpaty
Mts. Fig. 10. Felsite with remnants of spherulitic structure. K¾aèno-
Faèkovské sedlo-2, crossed polars.
Belt (Miík & Aubrecht 1994, Pl. I: Figs. 5, 6). Quartz-mus-
covitic xenoliths were found twice in them. A peculiar rock
darkgrey brecciated rhyolite (autobrecciation in the lava
flow Pl. III: Fig. 1) also contains terrigenous admixture of
quartz aggregates with undulatory extinction. Crystallo-li-
thoclastic tuffites are very rare. As the isolated phenocrysts
of the beta-quartz type are almost missing among the grains
in the Scythian quartzites, the vitroclastic tuffites should
have been the principal type. The acid volcanites described
are most probably of Permian age. One case of a probably
porphyroid with phantoms of phenocrysts visible due to the
absence of pigment and with schistosity accompanied by
sericite aggregates could be, eventually, derived from Lower
Paleozoic (Ordovician?) strata.
Intermediate and basic volcanic rocks
Small fragments of volcanic rock with acicular feldspars
(Pl. III: Fig. 2) and another one with feldspar microlites (Pl.
III: Fig. 3) were exceptionally found. They might belong, to
the trachytic varieties.
Red silicites postvolcanic products
Hematitic jaspers with metacolloidal annular structure
and syneretic cracks (Pl. III: Fig. 4), with clasts of tiny
ooids possessing pigmented centres and enclosed in a clear
quartz aggregate (Pl. III: Fig. 5), with skeletal hematite
(Pl. III: Fig. 6), with idiomorphic quartz crystals within a
hematitic aggregate (Pl. III: Fig. 7), with phantoms of he-
matitic spherulites are interpreted as postvolcanic products
of the acid Permian volcanism. A silcrete nature of some
samples is not excluded (e.g. rosy brecciated silicite from the
Chleb locality, Malá Fatra Mts.). We have illustrated a com-
parable clast of red jasper from Liassic crinoidal limestones
of the Pieniny Klippen Belt (Miík & Aubrecht 1994, Pl. II:
Figs. 1, 2).
Hematitic metaquartzite containing laminae of coarse-
grained cataclastic quartz alternated with fine-grained quartz
laminae enriched in hematite (tiny leaflets Pl. III: Fig. 9)
is comparable to ferrolitic quartzites of the Lahn-Dill type.
The rock contained 25.01 % of Fe
. Another ferrolitic
quartzite displays metamorphic folding. Early Paleozoic ages
for both are not excluded.
Dark silicites with organic remains
Silicified wood of Coniferae displays perfectly preserved
cellular tissue (Pl. IV: Fig. 1). This black fragment of the
araucarite Dadoxylon sp. (according to the determination of
V. Sitár) with the diameter of 7 cm is one of the largest clasts.
In the thin section the tissue is brown coloured. It was silici-
fied by permeation. A coarse-grained quartz mosaic indepen-
dent of the cellular structure can be seen in the polarized light
(Pl. IV: Fig. 2). Its StephanianPermian age is guaranteed.
Ostracode silicite (Pl. IV: Fig. 3) of black colour is
formed by microquartz (chalcedony) mosaic. It contains a
lot of silicified ostracods with both valves. The former voids
between them are filled by coarse-grained quartz. A frag-
ment of plant tissue, phantoms of probable coprolites and a
ghost of carbonate rhombohedron are present. Ostracode si-
licite might represent former chert nodules in limestones (Si-
lurian-Devonian?) or a hydrothermally silicified sediment.
Radiolarian lydites are formed by microquartz and espe-
cially by fine-grained quartz mosaic elongated along the
plane of metamorphic foliation, sometimes with laminae of
metamorphic differentiation. The rock is pigmented by
graphite. Voids after the former radiolarians are also de-
formed according to the foliation (Pl. IV: Fig. 4); they differ
by the absence of pigment. Small pyrite crystals occur rarely.
Five pebbles of this type were found in the Malé Karpaty
Mts., Nízke Tatry Mts. and Stráovské vrchy Mts. They are
probably of Early Paleozoic age.
Black and grey limnosilicites formed by microquartz
(chalcedony) contain badly preserved fragments of plant
tissue and rare spore grains (Pl. IV: Fig. 5). In one case a
brecciated structure was present with tiny kaolinite crystals
and dissolved rhombohedra between the fragments. Only
three samples occurred. We considered them to be limnosi-
licites most probably of Permian age.
Black lydites without organic remains possess similar
features as those with radiolarians. The periphery of lydite
clasts was frequently altered in microstylolites; exceptionally
a rectangular microstylolite was found inside the rock (Miík
& Jablonský 1978, Pl. I: Fig. 2; Pl. IX: Fig. 3).
They are among the most frequent and largest (up to 8 cm)
psephitic clasts in Scythian quartzites (31 thin sections from
all mountain ranges). They almost always possess a distinct
metamorphic lamination and therefore platy form of clasts.
Rod-like sections of graphite crystals (Pl. IV: Fig. 6; similar
rock was illustrated by Roniewicz 1966, Pl. VII: Fig. 1) are
roughly concentrated in laminae (Pl. IV: Fig. 9). Tiny hexag-
onal crystals also occur (Pl. IV: Fig. 8). Fine undulation
formed by isoclinal folds is exceptional. Micas occur in vari-
Plate III: Clasts of volcanic rocks and postvolcanic silicites in
the Scythian quartzites. Fig. 1. Brecciated rhyolite. Hajabaèka
Valley near Donovaly, Nízke Tatry Mts. Fig. 2. Intermediary volca-
nite. Ladmovce, Zemplín Horst. Fig. 3. Small clast of basic volca-
nite. Zlatý vrch-10, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 4. Hematite jasper
with annular metacolloidal structure affected by syneretic cracks.
Zrkadlisko-2 near Dolany. Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 5. Fragment
composed of ooids with hematite pigmented centres in brecciated
hydrothermal silicite. ESE from Biela Skala near Solonica, Malé
Karpaty Mts. Fig 6. Red silicite with skeletal hematites. Zrkadlisko-
7 near Dolany. Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 7. Red jasper with idiomor-
phic zoned quartz crystals; post-volcanic product of Permian acid
volcanism. Hainburg Hills, Austria. Fig. 8. Phantoms of spherulites
preserved due to the hematite pigment in red silicites (jasper). Zrk-
adlisko-2 near Dolany, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 9. Tiny hematite
crystals in the ferrolite (Fe-quartzite of Lahn-Dill type). Tri Jazdce-
1 near Pezinok, Malé Karpaty Mts.
able quantities mostly concentrated in laminae enriched in
muscovite, sericite, chlorite, rarely biotite partly chloritized.
Quartz grains are cataclastic with undulatory extinction,
sometimes with chevron pressure lamellae (Pl. IV: Fig.
10). Differentiation in coarse-grained and fine-grained lami-
nae is frequent, graphite pigment is mostly bound to the lat-
ter. Accessory apatite, rare zircon and tourmaline are present,
from the opaque minerals pyrite, magnetite and hematite are
frequent. Two foliation planes crossed in an angle of 25°
were noted in a thin section. One metaquartzite pebble with
synsedimentary neptunic or clastic veinlet filled by quartz-
ite matrix (Pl. IV: Fig. 9) is a testimony of pebble fragmenta-
tion under compactional pressure. This exceptional phenom-
enon contrasts with various cases of crushed pebbles with
clastic veins found in deep-water conglomerates of Creta-
ceous and Paleogene age (e.g. Miík, Sýkora, Mock &
Jablonský 1991, p. 63, Pl. IX: Figs. 2, 3; Miík, Sýkora &
Jablonský 1991, Pl. XVII: Figs. 1, 2).
Clasts of the milky white vein quartz are the most predom-
inating psephitic component, composed of cataclastic quartz
grains with denticulate and mortar structure boundaries. In
thin sections some pyrite crystals and muscovite were
present. The largest clasts on the localities were 810 cm, an
exceptional clast attained 30 cm.
Comments on the composition of the quartzites
The granulometry of the Scythian quartzites was published
by Fejdiová (1985), it will not be repeated here. The most
frequent median diameter is about 0.5 mm. In more tecton-
ized zones the quartz grains contain deformations, Böhm
translation lamellae sometimes strongly contorted (Pl. V:
Fig. 1). The outlines of grains are mostly angular, strongly
affected by intrastratal solution. Chemical compaction can be
estimated at 20 %. Matrix is rare, mostly represented only by
coatings of neomorphic clayey (micaceous) minerals and Fe-
hydroxides. Higher birefringence points to illite. In quartz-
ites affected by tectonic pressures the flakes are either per-
pendicular to the grain surface or parallel to the foliation.
If the sediment was later affected by eolian transport, well
rounded grains possess syntaxial quartz overgrowths (Pl. V:
Fig. 3). In those localities also faceted clasts (ventifacts,
Dreikanter Pl. V: Fig. 6) occur. Rounding of psephitic
clasts is rare. Strongly angular clasts of vein quartz typical of
braided rivers are most frequent (Pl. V: Fig. 2) which leads
us to reject the formerly propagated idea about marine shoal
Feldspars are almost exclusively orthoclase and more rare-
ly microcline; perthite and plagioclases are very rare. Their
amount in subarcoses in the Povaský Inovec Mts. is up to
10 % (Vozokany-2 9.95 %, Kostolný vrch-1 9.73 %,
algovce-3 6.35 %, Pred Kostolným vrchom-2 5.75 %,
Zlatý vrch-3 3.72 %). According to our observations,
feldspars in quartzites are almost missing in the Malé Kar-
paty Mts. The same was found by Fejdiová (1985, p. 119).
Their content in six thin sections was 0.9 %4.1 % and in an-
other 13 samples they were totally absent. In the Malá Fatra
Mts. she found their share between 4.5 % and 24.3 %, from
the Nízke Tatry Mts. 2.817.3 %, from the High Tatra Mts.
0.327.4 %. Feldspars in the Povaský Inovec Mts. are yel-
lowish, cloudy due to kaolinization, those from the
Stráovské vrchy Mts. (Tuinská Valley, K¾aèno-Faèkov
Saddle) are clear, containing some flakes of sericite, in the
Nízke Tatry Mts. they are also clear.
Kalifeldspars are evidently more resistent to diagenetic so-
lution. They frequently preserved their tabular habit, and
partly penetrated in quartz grains. Even pointed overgrowths
of Triassic age on older feldspars indented in quartz (Pl. V:
Fig. 5). They were already reported by Fejdiová (1985). Di-
agenetic overgrowths on detrital microclines in the form of
similar minute rhombs were described by Worden & Rushton
(1992) from the Permo-Triassic continental clastics of
Muscovite is very rare and degraded biotite even rarer,
showing, that micas were eliminated by water currents or de-
flation before final deposition. Rare zircon, rounded tourma-
line, rutile, titanite were present as accessory minerals in thin
sections. Heavy mineral associations were analysed from the
naturally disintegrated quartzites at two localities (Miík &
Jablonský 1978, p. 16): Èervený Kameò (Malé Karpaty Mts.):
tourmaline 49 %, clouded grains (leucoxene, limonite etc.)
37 %, zircon 11 %, rutil 2 %, titanite 1 %. Dono-
valy (Nízke Tatry Mts.): barite 71.3 %, clouded minerals
15.1 %, zircon 10.1 %, rutile 2.0 %, tourmaline
1.6 %. Barite (Pl. V: Fig. 7) is authigenic.
Voids after dissolved tiny pyrite cubes frequently occur in
quartzites. They were sometimes filled by fine-grained
quartz mosaic leaving small quadrate phantoms limited by
Plate IV: Clasts of black silicites with organic remains and gra-
phitic metaquartzites in the Scythian quartzites. Fig. 1. Tissue
of silicified wood, araucarite Dadoxylon sp. Zlatý vrch-9,
Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 2. The same in polarized light. Quartz
mosaic is independent of the plant tissue. Crossed polars. Fig. 3.
Ostracode silicite, ostracode valves replaced by microquartz.
Block in Quaternary deposites, 2 km SW from Jablonové, Malé
Karpaty Mts. Fig. 4. Deformed voids after dissolved radiolarians
in radiolarian lydite. Dúbravka-10, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 5.
Spore grains preserved in probably limnosilicite. Ladmovce-1,
Zemplín Horst. Fig. 6. Rod-like sections of graphite crystals and
aggregates in metaquartzite. Kukla-2 near Dolany, Malé Karpaty
Mts. Fig. 7. Graphitic metaquartzite without metamorphic lamina-
tion. Zlatý vrch-7, Povaský Inovec Mts., crossed polars. Fig. 8.
Cluster of graphite crystals in metaquartzite. Plieiny-1, Povaský
Inovec Mts. Fig. 9. Synsedimentary crack in a clast of graphitic
metaquartzite, filled by surrounding psammitic sediment of Scyth-
ian age. NNE from Kadlubek, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 10. Chlorit-
ic metaquartzite penetrated by chevron pressure lamellae (inclu-
sions trails in quartz oriented 45° to the foliation plane). Predné
ioretné near Dolné Oreany, Malé Karpaty Mts.
LOWER TRIASSIC QUARTZITES OF THE WESTERN CARPATHIANS
Differences in the spatial distribution of some
The composition of the clastic material of the Scythian
quartzites seems to be very similar in all localities. However
local differences may lead to identification of individual al-
Tourmalinite rocks seem to be limited to the western part
of Slovakia and disappear north- and eastwards. They were
not found in the Malá Fatra Mts. (Ïuroviè 1973 and our re-
sult from the locality Chleb), High Tatra Mts. (detailed de-
scription of Turnau-Morawska 1955 and Roniewicz 1966)
and eastern Slovakia (our research in Zemplín Horst) until
now. Coarse-grained tourmalinites are typical of the Malé
Karpaty (including the Hainburg Hills) and Tribeè Mts.
Cryptic tourmalinites occur in the Povaský Inovec Mts.,
Stráovské vrchy Mts. and Nízke Tatry Mts.
Striking differences concern the feldspars in quartzites.
They are almost totally absent in the Malé Karpaty Mts. (Fej-
diová 1971; also Miík & Jablonský 1978). In subarcoses of
the Povaský Inovec Mts. the feldspars possess a fine yel-
lowish kaolinite staining. The feldspars in sporadic samples
from the Stráovské vrchy Mts. and the Nízke Tatry Mts. are
usually clear with tiny inclusions.
There is a hope that in spite of apparent homogenization of
clasts several distributory provinces will be distinguished.
Transport directions derived from cross bedding
The transport of the material for Scythian quartzites was
evaluated from cross bedding (Pl. VI: Figs. 16). The mea-
surements of paleotransport directions were carried out in the
Polish part of the High Tatra Mts. by Dzulyñski & Gradzins-
ki (1960), in the Slovak part by us, in the Tribeè Mts. by Hók
(1989), in the Malé Karpaty Mts. by Miík & Jablonský
(1978), in the Povaský Inovec Mts. by Miík & Jablonský
(1999) completed by new samples. The data coincide well
with those from the Eastern Alps (Eisbacher 1963).
More than 80 % of all cross-beddings convicingly show a
paleotransport from the N and NW, from the outer side of the
Carpathian arc (Fig. 1). Broader dispersions at the remaining
localities can be explained by meandering ephemeral
streams, irregular morphology of the surface, later tectonic
factors (e.g. rotation of several scales in the Malé Karpaty
Mts.) and most probably by presence of eolian diagonal lam-
The sedimentary environment can be characterized as open
fluvial braidplain of sandy-pebbly braided rivers a similar
one as was interpreted by Mader (1985, Fig. 26) for the
Buntsandstein time the equivalent of our quartzites and
Diagonal beddings with distinct bedding-plane partings
(Pl. VI: Figs. 26) are of fluvial origin. This interpretation is
supported also by frequent poorer sorting in those beds, rare
platy clasts in the foresets, single erosion channels and main-
ly by the erosion of the upper parts of diagonally laminated
beds by the overlying bed. The alternation of diagonally lam-
inated beds with those displaying parallel bedding reflects an
inconstant intensity of flow. Pebbly-supported conglomer-
ates of channel facies are totally missing, only matrix-sup-
ported conglomerate intercalations occur. We regard them as
sediments liquefied during the flash floods transported by
mass flows. Residual gravel sheet was formed as fluvial lags
on the bottom of shallow stream courses.
Diagonally laminated beds with bounding surfaces (Pl. VI:
Fig. 1) and beds with a trough cross-lamination could be of
eolian origin. Such types were rarely found in all the studied
core mountains with the exception of the High Tatra Mts. Eo-
lian activity is documented by ventifacts (Pl. V: Fig. 6) as
well as by quartzites with well-rounded sand grains (Pl. V:
Fig. 3). The eolian origin of some diagonal beddings was
also postulated by Hók (1989) from the Tribeè Mts.
The lower parts of the quartzites contain thin sandy-con-
glomeratic intercalations with sparse clasts of the most re-
sistent rocks. The largest diameter of clast in the majority of
localities was 68 cm, the record diameter was 30 cm (clast
of vein quartz, loc. Hrabníky, Povaský Inovec Mts.). The
clasts are predominantly angular, rarely well rounded and lo-
cally also faceted ventifacts were found accompanied by
well rounded and sorted eolian sands transformed into
The degree of roundness of quartz grains in quartzites can-
not always be interpreted because the matrix is very rare to
absent, and outlines of grains were influenced by pressure
solution. They are well preserved only in eolian sands, where
quartz grains possess typical syntaxial rims (Pl. V: Fig. 3).
Due to the interstratal solution (chemical compaction up to
20 %) the share of eolian and fluvial material cannot be ex-
actly interpreted from quartz grains in the thin sections. Feld-
spars are better for that purpose, because they are more re-
sistent against pressure solution.
Heavy minerals were not studied systematically, but it may
be stressed that in spite of frequent laminated stratification in
quartzites no laminar concentrations of heavy minerals (mi-
croplacers) occur, which is further evidence against the older
Plate V: Scythian quartzites. Fig. 1. Torsion of pressure lamellae
in quartz grains. algovce-Holý vrch-3, Povaský Inovec Mts.,
crossed polars. Fig. 2. Angular quartz clasts oriented along the a
axis at the upper plane of the quartzite layer lag sediment in the
canal of a braided river. Zrkadlisko near Èastá, Malé Karpaty Mts.
Fig. 3. Syntaxial rims on well-rounded quartz grains with coatings
attest the eolian origin for a part of the Scythian quartzites. Block in
Quaternary sediments. Jablonové-7, Malé Karpaty Mts. Fig. 4.
Asymmetrical ripples on the bedding surface of overturned quartz-
ite bed. ENE from Biela Skala near Solonica, Malé Karpaty Mts.
Width of the hammer 10.7 cm in all pictures. Fig. 5. Idiomorphic
syntaxial feldspar overgrowth indentates in clastic quartz grain. Vo-
zokany, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 6. Faceted clast (ventifact) at-
tests eolian activity during the pauses of the stream transport. 500
m W of Hradite, Povaský Inovec Mts. Fig. 7. Abundant barite
grains in the heavy fraction separated from the naturally disintegrat-
ed Scythian quartzites. Donovaly, Nízke Tatry Mts.
LOWER TRIASSIC QUARTZITES OF THE WESTERN CARPATHIANS
opinion of their marine origin. Scythian quartzites overlie
granitoids or phyllites. There is no relation between the com-
position of the clasts in the quartzites and these underlying
rocks. The material was deposited on a peneplanized area.
Interpretation of source area
The source area was formed predominantly by granitoids
and Permian strata. The primary source of the granitoids
uplifted granitoid basement, is shown by the presence of kal-
ifeldspars sometimes with relicts of crystal habit. The absence
of granitoid pebbles can indicate strong mechanical disintegra-
tion under an arid, desert climate.
We suppose that the greater part of the source area was cov-
ered by Permian strata represented by abundant clasts of acid
volcanites. Pyroclastic rocks prevailed over lavas. Quartz por-
phyries were accompanied by postvolcanic rocks like jaspers.
Intermediary volcanites are very rare, the basic ones are absent
due to their instability. Their Stephanian or Permian age is
indicated by silicified Coniferae araucarite Dadoxylon sp.
fragments and by pollen grains of Coniferae.
The maturity of the psephitic clasts suggests that the majori-
ty of them originate from a secondary source; they were al-
most all redeposited from Permian conglomerates.
Abundant graphitic metaquartzites, quartz-tourmalinitic
rocks and lydites with radiolarians evoke a supposition that
metamorphosed complexes were also uncovered. But in such a
case some less resistent rocks also had to be present with re-
gard to the well-preserved feldspars. In the quartzites, quartz
grains with acicular inclusions typical of more intensely meta-
morphosed complexes are almost totally lacking.
The Lower Paleozoic complexes supplying the Permian and
Lower Triassic conglomerates were primary poor in carbonate
rocks. No chert nodules from limestones were identified. A
single ostracode silicite is probably a product of hydrothermal
The most frequent psephitic clasts, more than 95 %, belong
to the white vein quartz, which was probably formed by lateral
secretion within phyllites, but not even a small enclave of
phyllite occurs in them. Neither vermicular chlorite nor metal-
lic minerals were identified in the vein quartz.
Scythian quartzites were deposited by sandy braided rivers
in an open plain. Rare psephitic clasts transported by fluidized
sandy debris flows formed the channel lag on the bottom of
shallow streams (Pl. V: Fig. 2). They contain the most resistent
rocks (Fig.1, Pls. IIV): vein quartz, tourmalinitic rocks,
quartz porphyries (rhyolites), rare intermediate volcanites,
postvolcanic products such as jaspers and hematitic quartzites,
graphitic metaquartzites, lydites sometimes with phantoms of
radiolarians, fragments of silicified wood Dadoxylon sp., lim-
nosilicites with pollen grains and a single silicite with ostra-
codes. Intermittent eolian transport is documented by local
rounding of psammitic grains with syntaxial rims (Pl. V: Fig.
3) and ventifacts (Pl. VI: Fig. 6).
The source area was formed predominantly by granitoids
and their Permian cover. The primary source of granitoids
from an uplifted basement is shown by currently present kal-
ifeldspars with relicts of crystal habit. The total absence of
granitoid pebbles is a sign of strong mechanical disintegra-
tion under an arid, desert climate. Eroded Permian strata are
represented by abundant clasts of acid volcanites and
postvolcanic silicites. The StephanianPermian age is indi-
cated by silicified Coniferae and their pollen grains. Pebbles
of resistent Lower Paleozoic rocks were probably redeposit-
ed from Permian conglomerates. Paleozoic complexes were
primarily poor in carbonate rocks; no chert nodules from
limestones were identified.
Cross-bedding measurements (Fig. 1; Pl. VI: Figs. 16)
show that the material for the quartzites of the Central Western
Carpathians was transported from the N, NW, from Bohemian
Massif, or from the Armorican Massif, if the supposed large
left-lateral shift (Michalík 1994) took place. There are not
enough data to test these hypotheses. It can only be noted that
the nearest relicts of Permian strata in the Boskovice and Blan-
ik Furrows lack the volcanic rocks what would prove against
the first hypothesis. Tourmalinites found in the southern part
of the Moldanubian Unit and Svratka Dome (Kebrt et al. 1984)
will later be compared in detail, but it may be stressed that no
spherulitic aggregates were mentioned there in contrast to our
material. Where the Armorican Massif is concerned, compari-
son with tourmalinitic rocks from Permian conglomerates in
Britain (Allen 1976; Jiang et al. 1999) might be useful.
Perhaps more sophisticated methods (e.g. radiometric study
of zircons) will make it possible to say more in future. A com-
parative study of Scythian quartzites from the Western Alps is
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to express their
gratitude to Doc. J. Michalík (Geological Institute of Slovak
Academy of Sciences, Bratislava) and Doc. A. Vozárová
(Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, Faculty of Sci-
ences, Comenius University, Bratislava) for their valuable
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