ORIENTATIONS OF PALEOSTRESSES IN LIMESTONES OF THE WEST CARPATHIAN FLYSCH 409
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 54, 6, BRATISLAVA, DECEMBER 2003
ORIENTATIONS OF PALEOSTRESSES IN THE JURASSIC
LIMESTONES ON THE FRONT OF THE WEST CARPATHIAN FLYSCH
NAPPES (PAVLOV HILLS, SOUTH MORAVIA)
and ZDENÌK STRÁNÍK
Czech Geological Survey, Leitnerova 22, 658 69 Brno, Czech Republic; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute of Physics of the Earth, Masaryk University, Tvrdého 12, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic
(Manuscript received September 23, 2002; accepted in revised form March 11, 2003)
Abstract: The paleostress analysis was applied at 16 sites in the Mesozoic limestones, which are tectonically incorpo-
rated into the Cretaceous and the Paleogene strata on the front of the West Carpathian flysch nappes (South Moravia,
Czech Republic). 25 solutions were obtained. These solutions can be divided into two groups. The first group represents
the paleostress field with predominantly NW-SE compression and NE-SW extension connected with the Early Neogene
movements of the dánice Nappe. The azimuth of eigenvector of acceptable
axes varies from 97° up to 167°. This
variability can be explained by rotation of individual tectonic slices of the dánice Nappe during the movement of this
nappe. The different tectonic scales probably rotated in different directions (anticlockwise rotation in the case of some
scales, clockwise rotation in the case of others). The second group of solutions represents the paleostress field with NE-
SW compression and NW-SE extension.
Key words: Neogene, Outer Western Carpathians, Waschberg-dánice Belt, paleostresses.
Tectonic movements are closely related to the orientations of
the principal stress axes. The orientations of the principal
stress axes can be computed by analysis of the orientations of
kinematic indicators on activated brittle failures. Similarly,
the character of movements along the significant tectonic
structures could be determined from the known orientation of
the principal stress axes.
The paleostress analysis based on the investigation of the
fault striae data was carried out at 16 sites situated in the small
area (about 20 km
) of the Pavlov Hills region (South Mora-
via, Czech Republic). In this way, more detailed knowledge
about the character of the paleostress fields affecting this part
of the Outer Western Carpathians was obtained. The aim of
this article is to inform about the results of this analysis and to
contribute to better knowledge of structural and paleostress
evolution within the outermost part of the junction area of the
Western Carpathians and Eastern Alps.
Geological and structural setting
The Pavlov Hills region is situated in the outermost part of
the outer units of the Carpathian flysch belt, near the front of
the Waschberg-dánice Belt (Fig. 1). The tectonic slices of
the Klentnice Formation (Oxfordian to Tithonian) and the
Ernstbrunn Limestones (Late Tithonian?Hauterivian, see
Stráník et al. 1999) form the N-S to NNE-SSW orientated
klippen in this region. The Upper Cretaceous sediments of the
Klement Formation and the Pálava Formation were transgres-
sively deposited on the Ernstbrunn Limestones. The imbricat-
ed tectonic slivers of the Mesozoic sediments were detached
from the European Platform, tectonically transported and in-
corporated into the frontal zone of the dánice Nappe (Pícha
& Stráník 1999; Stráník et al. 1999). Originally, these Meso-
zoic sediments were deposited on the eastern slope of the Pav-
lov carbonate platform, which was situated on the western
margin of the dánice area (Eliá & Eliáová 1986). The Low-
er Miocene sediments found between two tectonic slices in the
borehole Pavlov Hills-1 (Stráník et al. 1962) prove the Styrian
age of the origin of this imbricated structure, contemporane-
ous with the final stage of the overthrust of the dánice
The greater part of the dánice Nappe is formed by the Ter-
tiary sediments of the Nìmèice Formation (Middle Eocene to
Lower Oligocene in the studied region), the Menilitic Forma-
tion (Oligocene) and the dánice-Hustopeèe Formation (Ege-
rian) (Stráník et al. 1999).
The dánice Unit is thrust to the NW over the Neogene sed-
iments of the Carpathian Foredeep deposited on the SE margin
of the Bohemian Massif. In the northern part of the Pavlov
Hills region, the narrow tectonic slices of the Pouzdøany Unit
are developed in front of the dánice Nappe. The eastern part
of the dánice Unit is covered by the Neogene sediments of
the Vienna Basin. In the basement of the Vienna Basin, the
dánice Unit dips under the Magura Nappe.
The Pavlov Hills region is affected not only by oblique
thrusts developed during the movements of nappes, but also
by significant strike-slip shear zones and oblique-slip trans-
verse faults. The imbricated fabric of the dánice Unit is dis-
turbed by the NW-SE to E-W trending faults on the front of
410 HAVÍØ and STRÁNÍK
the West Carpathian flysch nappes. Significant displacement
is supposed also along the N-S oriented faults forming the
eastern tectonic boundary of the klippen in the Pavlov Hills
region. Sinistral NNE-SSW and NE-SW strike-slip faults,
which belong to the Falkenstein-Mikulov Fault System,
bound the klippen ibenièník and Svatý kopeèek in the south-
ern part of the Pavlov Hills region (Roth 1980; Stráník et al.
1999). The huge strike-slip movements connected with the
Early to Middle Miocene formation of the Vienna pull-apart
basin were discussed by a number of authors (for instance
Fodor 1995; Hubatka & Krejèí 1996; Roth 1980; Royden
1985). These movements were connected with the Neogene
tectonic extrusion of the West Carpathian region from the Al-
pine domain to the NE accompanied by the counter-clockwise
rotation of the extruded blocks (Decker et al. 1994; Fodor
1991; Kováè 2000).
The paleostress analysis was based on study of fault striae
data. Slickolites were predominantly used as kinematic indi-
cators, other indicators (offsets of planar structures, crystal fi-
bres etc.) were less often observed. The program BRUTE3
(Hardcastle & Hills 1991) was used to calculate the orienta-
tions of the principal paleostresses. Only exceptionally, in the
Fig. 1. Geological scheme of the junction area of the Western Carpathians and Eastern Alps with the Pavlov Hills region marked (geolog-
ical map compiled and modified after Kodym et al. 1967 and Mahe¾ 1973).
ORIENTATIONS OF PALEOSTRESSES IN LIMESTONES OF THE WEST CARPATHIAN FLYSCH 411
Fig. 2. Example of solutions for heterogeneous data set and for homogeneous sub-sets at the Svatý kopeèek site (104) computed by pro-
gram BRUTE3 (Hardcastle & Hills 1991) contoured diagrams of acceptable orientations of the principal stresses and diagram of the
best computed orientations of the principal stresses (Lambert projection, lower hemisphere). White circle eigenvector of the all ac-
ceptable orientations of the
axis; black circle best solution of the
axis; white square eigenvector of all the acceptable orien-
tations of the
axis; black square best solution of the
axis; N number of acceptable solutions; great circles fault planes
used for stress analysis; grey arrows orientations of principal horizontal stresses (see text for more information).
412 HAVÍØ and STRÁNÍK
cases of less numerous data sets, the orientations of principal
stresses were estimated with the use of the graphical method
of Angelier & Mechler (1977).
The program BRUTE3 tests all possible reduced tensor
configurations (by selected increments) against analysed data
sets and chooses the acceptable tensors, which satisfy the lim-
its (Hardcastle & Hills 1991). The first tested factor is the
maximum limit of 25° for angular difference
rake of maximum shear stress and the rake of measured stria-
tions. Secondly, the value of the shear component of stress
was compared with the minimum value following from the
Coulomb criteria for the reactivated faults.
The reduced tensor has four degrees of freedom. Three an-
gular variables of the acceptable reduced tensor describe the
acceptable orientations of the principal stress axes. Fourth
variable is the shape ratio
defined by Angelier (1975) as
). The shape ratio was tested in the range
from 0.1 to 0.9, program BRUTE3 does not test the limit val-
The orientations of the principal stress axes of acceptable
tensors could be contoured to show the range of the accept-
able results (Fig. 2). For each principal axis the relevant
eigenvector of orientation matrix was computed as the aver-
age orientation. The mean value of the angular difference
between the rake of maximum shear stress and the rake of
measured striations was used as criteria for the selection of the
best solution. The best solutions are reduced tensors with
the least mean value of
The contoured diagrams were also used for separation of
heterogeneous data (Fig. 2). Solutions, which are acceptable
for any sub-set of data, are displayed in diagram. This con-
toured diagram shows several groups of possible solutions.
Found possible solutions were used as a criterion for separa-
tion of data by the program SELECT (Hardcastle & Hills
Computed orientations of principal paleostresses
25 solutions (see Table 1) based on the analyses of fault ge-
ometries were obtained at 16 sites in the Pavlov Hills region
(Fig. 3). 21 solutions were computed by program BRUTE3.
Four solutions were determined by the graphical method of
Angelier & Mechler (1977). Two main groups of solutions
were distinguished according to orientations of the principal
axes. These groups are the following:
1. group of predominantly NW-SE compression and/or NE-
2. group of NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension.
Predominantly NW-SE compression and/or NE-SW
19 solutions of the analyses carried out at 12 sites shows
predominantly NW-SE compression and NE-SW extension.
Most of these solutions have gently dipping
Computed solutions are represented by sub-horizontal
axis only at two sites (sites 111 and 118).
Fig. 3. Geological scheme of the Pavlov Hills region (after Stráník
et al. 1999, modified and simplified) with marked studied sites (grey
circles). White arrows show computed orientations of horizontal
principal stresses (see text for more information).
ORIENTATIONS OF PALEOSTRESSES IN LIMESTONES OF THE WEST CARPATHIAN FLYSCH 413
Table 1: Solutions of paleostress analysis computed by program BRUTE3 (Hardcastle & Hills 1991) or determined by the graphical
method of Angelier & Mechler (1977). EL Ernstbrunn Limestone, KF Klement Formation.
Mostly steep strike-slip or oblique-slip faults correspond to
the discussed orientation of the principal stresses. The sinistral
and dextral strike-slips trend NNW-SSE to NNE-SSW and
NW-SE to E-W, respectively. There is significant variability
in the trend of the thrusts and oblique thrusts. Predominantly,
they are dipping to the E. At the Janiùv vrch site (118) N-S to
NNW-SSE trending oblique normal faults were also mea-
In the cases of solutions determined by program BRUTE3,
the azimuth of eigenvector of acceptable
axes varies from
97° up to 167° (Fig. 4). At sites 104 and 118 on the northern
margin of Svatý kopeèek and at site 111 near Soutìska, the
crossing of several fault structures used for the determination
of discussed paleostresses was observed.
At site 111 near Soutìska, the eastwards dipping thrusts of
Ernstbrunn Limestones over the sediments of the Klement
Formation and the Pálava Formation were used for determina-
tion of orientation of paleostress field with E-W to WNW-
ESE maximum compression. The thrusts are cut by younger
WSW-ENE oriented steep oblique thrusts which were active
under NW-SE compression.
At the Svatý kopeèek (104) and Janiùv vrch sites (118) the
duplex fabric of the Ernstbrunn Limestone was observed
(Fig. 5). The duplex fabric originated between larger moder-
ately dipping faults, which were repeatedly reactivated
(strike-slips, oblique thrusts). At the Janiùv vrch site (118),
the tectonic planes bounding individual tectonic slices trend
E-W to NW-SE. Striations on these planes prove oblique-slip
movements. The resulting solutions show the sub-horizontal
axis oriented NW-SE or NNW-SSE and the
ping towards SE or ESE. The dip of the
axis is about 50° in
the case of local field determined from duplexes (solution
Fig. 4. Orientation of eigenvectors of the acceptable
imum compression) and
axes (maximum extension) determined
by program BRUTE3. Upper diagrams point diagrams of ori-
entations of eigenvectors (Lambert projection, lower hemisphere);
lower diagrams histograms of strikes of eigenvectors (fre-
quency of histograms is 10°).
414 HAVÍØ and STRÁNÍK
118A) and about 35° in the case of other solutions determined
from the large thrusts and from strike-slip faults (solutions
118B, 118C and 118D). Some oblique thrusts and strike-slip
faults are cut by the tectonic boundaries of duplexes. On the
other hand, some other thrusts and strike-slip faults cut the du-
plex fabric. These facts prove the activity of the oblique
thrusts and strike-slip faults both before and after the forming
of the duplex fabric (Fig. 6). The azimuth of eigenvector of
axes varies from 125° up to 161°, in the case of
individual solutions from site 118. The faults older than duplex
fabric correspond mostly to the NNW-SSE orientation of
axis, the faults younger than duplex fabric correspond mostly to
the NW-SE orientation of
axis. At the Janiùv vrch site
(118), the youngest paleostress field (solution 118E) is repre-
sented by sub-horizontal NE-SW
axis and steep
Two solutions with different azimuth of the
also determined at the Svatý kopeèek site (104). This azimuth
is 155° in the first case and 167° in the second case.
The discussed fact shows that paleostresses with the predom-
inantly NW-SE compression and NE-SW extension affected
the Ernstbrunn Limestone in the Pavlov Hills region during
more than one stage of movements along faults. Individual
stages probably passed each into other continuously. The dif-
ferences between solutions representing individual stages of
fault activity could be explained by one of two hypotheses:
rotation of the principal paleostress axes be-
tween individual stages and change of the value of
rotation of faulted block of affected rocks be-
tween individual stages and change of the value of
principal stresses. The anticlockwise block rotation
is presumed by Fodor (1991, 1995) in the West Car-
pathian flysch nappes. The solutions determined at
site Janiùv vrch (118) show the possibility of the
clockwise rotation of the Svatý kopeèek block.
At Dívèí hrad site (114) situated on the northern
boundary of the Pavlov Hills region, the
axes significantly dip to the NW and NE respective-
ly. Two similar solutions were determined from the
N-S oriented faults. The plunge of measured stria-
tions varies from 48° to 83°. On some fault planes
more than one striation was measured, different stri-
ations correspond to different dip of the principal
paleostresses. The determined orientation of the
principal paleostresses shows the significant north-
ward tilting at site 114 (Fig. 7). During the predom-
inantly NW-SE compression and NE-SW exten-
sion, the block rotation around the probably
sub-horizontal EW axis occurred. The value of the
angle of this rotation was probably about 20°30°.
The significant dip of all striations could be ex-
plained by continuing rotation after the end of fault
movements connected with the NW-SE compres-
The strike-slip faults and oblique thrusts used for
determination of the discussed paleostress dislocate
not only the Ernstbrunn Limestone, but also the
overlaying Upper Cretaceous sediments of the Kle-
ment Formation. It means that the predominantly
Fig. 5. Scheme of the duplex fabric of the Ernstbrunn Limestone observed in
the Svatý kopeèek quarry (site 104). Diagrams (Lambert projection, lower
hemisphere) show measured orientations of planes bounding individual tectonic
horses (grat circles), arrows show sense of displacement. Striations on the tec-
tonic planes bounding individual horses (tectonic slices) prove oblique move-
ments along these planes (not dip-slip movements).
NW-SE compression could be active after the Late Creta-
ceous. In the Pavlov Hills 1 borehole, the tectonic slice of the
Lower Karpatian sediments were found (Stráník et al. 1962).
It proves the existence of Karpatian (or younger?) predomi-
nantly NW-SE compression.
NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension
In the case of five solutions, the maximum compression is
oriented NE-SW and maximum extension is oriented NW-SE.
The E-W trending sinistral and N-S to NNE-SSW trending
dextral strike-slips correspond to this orientation of principal
axes. At site Kotel (109), the fault population attributed to this
paleostress also contains NW-SE trending sinistral strike-slip
faults. The NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension was
found at sites situated both in the southern and northern parts
of the studied area. Individual faults which geometrically cor-
respond to this orientation of principal paleostresses were also
measured at some other sites. It shows the regional signifi-
cance of this paleostress field. The NE-SW compression and
NW-SE extension affected the whole Pavlov Hills region. The
less frequent fault striae data corresponding to this paleostress
field could be explained by older age or smaller intensity of
this paleostress field in comparison with the predominantly
ORIENTATIONS OF PALEOSTRESSES IN LIMESTONES OF THE WEST CARPATHIAN FLYSCH 415
of the Carpathian units to the NE (Kováè 2000;
Nemèok et al. 1998b). Thus the contact of the Bo-
hemian Massif and the Western Carpathians was
strongly affected by the lateral movement of the
West Carpathian units. During the Neogene sinis-
tral transpression, the Carpathian flysch nappes
were obliquely thrust onto the eastern margin of the
Bohemian Massif. The last movements of the
dánice Nappe terminated during the Karpatian in
the southern Moravia region (Kováè 2000).
The Paleogene and the Early Neogene WNW-
ESE to NNW-SSE orientation of maximum com-
pression is documented from the junction area of
the Western Carpathians and Eastern Alps (for in-
stance Fodor 1991, 1995; Marko et al. 1995; Nem-
èok et al. 1998a; Peresson & Decker 1997). This
orientation corresponds well to the results discussed
in this article. Paleostress field is represented by
predominantly NW-SE compression and NE-SW
extension was computed at a number of sites in the
Pavlov Hills region. The determined WNW-ESE to
NNW-SSE compression was connected with the
nappe movements during the OligoceneEarly Mi-
ocene transpression in the westernmost Car-
pathians. The Cenozoic NW-SE to NNW-SSE com-
pression significantly affected the eastern margin of
the Bohemian Massif. For instance, the Neogene
NW-SE compression was found at several sites on
the south-eastern margin of the Nízký Jeseník re-
gion and in the Maleník block (Havíø 2002).
Fodor (1991, 1995) has supposed the stable N-S
orientation of maximum compression in the west-
ernmost Carpathians and easternmost Eastern Alps
during the OligoceneEarly Miocene and anticlock-
wise block rotation which affected the observed
faults. The blocks rotated in a broad zone affected
by sinistral transpression.
The rotation of the tectonic blocks should be tak-
en into account. This possible rotation, which ac-
companied the movement of the dánice Nappe,
can explain the time and space variation of the ori-
entation of the principal stresses found in the Pav-
lov Hills region. The variability of the orientation of
individual klippen in the Pavlov Hills region can
also be explained by this rotation (Stráník et al.
At the Kotel site (109) near the Klentnice, two different pa-
leostress fields with NE-SW compression and NW-SE exten-
sion were found. This fact shows that the Mesozoic blocks on
the front of the West Carpathian flysch nappes were probably
affected by the NE-SW compression and NW-SE extension
during more (at least two) different tectonic episodes.
The orientations of paleostresses in relation
to the tectonic development
While the collision started in the Alpine region already dur-
ing the Eocene, in the Carpathian region continuing subduc-
tion caused the Oligocene to Miocene large-scale movements
Fig. 6. Scheme of relative ages of paleostress fields at the Janiùv vrch site
(118). Orientations of principal stresses are computed by program BRUTE3
(Hardcastle & Hills 1991) solutions 118A, 118B, 118C, 118D and 118E
or determined using the method of Angleier & Mechler (1977) solution
118F (Lambert projection, lower hemisphere). For symbols see Fig. 2 (see text
for more information).
1996). The different tectonic scales (or tectonic blocks) proba-
bly rotated in different directions. In the case of some blocks,
the anticlockwise rotation can be supposed, other blocks were
affected by clockwise rotation. The value of angle of the dis-
cussed rotation can be estimated as up to 40°.
During the Early Badenian the orientation of the principal
stresses was changed in the junction area of the Western Car-
pathians and Eastern Alps. After termination of nappe move-
ments, the maximum compression axis was turned to NNE-
SSW, while maximum extension was WNW-ESE (for
instance Fodor 1991, 1995; Marko et al. 1995; Nemèok et al.
1998a; Peresson & Decker 1997). This orientation of the prin-
cipal stresses was connected with transtensional regime. In the
Vienna Basin, the transtension is proved by the negative flow-
416 HAVÍØ and STRÁNÍK
er structures (Hubatka & Krejèí 1996). The NE-SW compres-
sion and NE-SW extension were also found at several sites in
the Pavlov Hills region. Some of these determined solutions
can correspond to the discussed transtensional regime. But
two different solutions computed at site 109 show that the ex-
istence of an other (probably older) stress field with similar
orientation of the principal stresses also has be taken into ac-
The results of paleostress analysis show that two paleostress
fields played dominant roles during Cenozoic tectonic devel-
opment in the Pavlov Hills region.
The first paleostress field is represented by predominantly
NW-SE compression and NE-SW extension. This paleostress
field is connected with the Early Neogene movements of the
dánice Nappe. The variability of the orientation of principal
stresses can be explained by rotation and tilting of individual
tectonic scales during movement of the nappe.
The second paleostress field is characterized by NE-SW
compression and NW-SE extension. The field with this orien-
tation of the principal stresses affected the Mesozoic blocks
on the front of the West Carpathian flysch nappes during
more (at least two) different tectonic stages. One (younger)
tectonic stage can correspond to the Badenian (or younger?)
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Fig. 7. Orientations of principal stresses computed at the Dívèí hrad
site (114) (Lambert projection, lower hemisphere) and scheme of
orientation of striations on steep NS trending faults. Plunge of stri-
ations varies due to northward tilting (see text for more informa-
tion). For other symbols see Fig. 2.