PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 3
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 55, 1, BRATISLAVA, FEBRUARY 2004
LATE JURASSIC PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION
OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES (CROATIA)
DAMIR BUCKOVIÆ, BLANKA CVETKO TEOVIÆ and IVAN GUIÆ
Department of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Ul. kralja Zvonimira 8/II, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia;
(Manuscript received October 28, 2002; accepted in revised form June 23, 2003)
Abstract: Upper Jurassic limestones exposed in four selected successions of the Western Dinarides show contempora-
neous but different facies development within the Western Dinaric region, which belongs to the marginal and northwest-
ern part of the large Upper Triassic-to-Upper Cretaceous Adriatic-Dinaric carbonate platform. In the framework of
global tectonic movements in the Tethyan Realm during the Late Jurassic, block-faulting on the northeastern margin of
the Adriatic-Dinaric carbonate platform significantly affected platform interior, through differential synsedimentary
tectonic movements: uplifts and tiltings culminating in sporadical emersions, and simultaneous increased subsidences,
with the formation of intraplatform troughs connected to the open sea. Thus, block-faulting initiated changes in accom-
modation space within the inner platform realm and acted as an indirect impulse for autocyclic processes to take place
both in the shallow-water and/or deeper-water platform environments.
Key words: Late Jurassic, Croatia, Western Dinarides, Adriatic-Dinaric carbonate platform, paleoenvironments,
The documentation of lateral variations in sedimentary succes-
sions is critical for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Sedi-
mentological and petrographic features of many Upper Jurassic
sedimentary successions from the Western Dinarides, as well
as their biostratigraphy, are described by numerous authors
(e.g. Radoièiæ 1966; Guiæ 1969; Milan 1969; Guiæ & Babiæ
1970; Babiæ 1973; Saviæ 1973; Plenièar et al. 1976; Nikler
1978; Æosoviæ 1987; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988; Tiljar & Veliæ
1991, 1993; Tiljar et al. 1994; Veliæ et al. 1994, 1995; Buc-
koviæ 1994, 1995, 1998). They show that sedimentary envi-
ronments were strongly differentiated. For this study, we have
chosen four distinct successions, each characterized by its
own unique sedimentary signature. They represent the four
typical Upper Jurassic environments in the Western Dinarides.
These are (1) Soice, a deep-water succession with open basin
characteristics; (2) Breze, a predominantly shallow-water
platform succession, partly with deeper-water characteristics;
(3) Jazvina, a shallow-water platform succession; and (4)
Rovinj, a shallow-water platform succession, punctuated by
Biostratigraphic correlation plays a key role in lateral trac-
ing of these successions, which are several tens of kilometres
apart. The investigated successions have been subdivided into
informal lithostratigraphic units, which do not coincide with
the chronostratigraphic units. Therefore, the ages of these
units are only approximately defined. Sartoni & Crescenti
(1962) were the first within the Mediterranean Realm to sub-
divide an entirely carbonate Mesozoic succession into bios-
tratigraphic units and correlate them with the chronostrati-
graphic scale. They were later followed by numerous authors
(e.g. De Castro 1962; Farinacci & Radoièiæ 1964; Nikler &
Sokaè 1968; Guiæ 1969; Guiæ et al. 1971; Babiæ 1973;
Æosoviæ 1987; Veliæ 1977; Tiljar & Veliæ 1993). According
to Veliæ (1977), the Oxfordian and the lowermost Kimmerid-
gian correspond to the Macroporella sellii Cenozone, while
the MiddleUpper Kimmeridgian and the Tithonian corre-
spond to the Clypeina jurassica Cenozone. The latter has two
subzones: the Clypeina jurassica s.str. Subzone (Upper Kim-
meridgianLower Tithonian), and the Clypeina jurassica and
Campbelliella striata Subzone (Upper Tithonian). The inter-
val between these two cenozones is occupied by the Cylin-
droporella anici Cenozone. However, as we did not found Cy-
lindroporella anici Nikler et Sokaè, we could not trace the
range of this cenozone across our successions.
In this paper, we document facies changes within the selected
carbonate successions of the Western Dinarides in order to re-
construct and analyse the paleoenvironmental evolution of the
northwestern part of the Adriatic-Dinaric carbonate platform
during the Late Jurassic. To do this, we use our own results
from current and some earlier field investigations as well as
the published results of other researchers.
The study area (Fig. 1) represents part of a huge and long-
lasting carbonate platform, named the carbonate platform of
the External Dinarides by Polak et al. (1982) and/or the
Adriatic-Dinaridic carbonate platform by Guiæ & Jelaska
(1993), Jelaska et al. (1994, 2000), Pamiæ et al. (1998),
Trubelja et al. (2001). Some Croatian geologists have also
named it the Adriatic Carbonate Platform (e.g. Guiæ & Jelas-
ka 1990; Bariæ & Veliæ 2001; Æosoviæ & Moro 2001; Kapelj
et al. 2001; Matièec et al. 2001; Veliæ 2001; Veliæ et al. 2001;
Vlahoviæ et al. 2001).
Herak (1986), however, distinguished an Adriatic from a
separate Dinaric platform. Among the commonly used various
names for the fossil carbonate platform(s) of the karst Dinar-
4 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
ides in Croatia, we prefer to use the name Adriatic-Dinaric
carbonate platform (ADCP) following the usage adopted by
the majority of Croatian geologists. A more elaborated expla-
nation of this choice is beyond of scope of this paper.
According to Jelaska et al. (1994, 2000), the ADCP starts
with Norian-Rhaetian peritidal stromatolitic dolomite (Haupt-
dolomit). Interrupted by several pelagic incursions and short
emersions, the carbonate sedimentation regime lasted until the
Lutetian transgression, when platform conditions were partly
restored for the last time. Today, sediments of the ADCP crop
out in a vast area extending from northeastern Italy along the
eastern Adriatic coast to northwestern Greece and cover an area
of about 1400 by 350 km (Jenkyns 1991; Grötsch et al. 1993).
Description of the studied successions
Within the Upper Jurassic sediments of the studied succes-
sions, various lithostratigraphic units can be distinguished,
formed in particular environments and under identifiable sedi-
The Soice succession
Description. Within the Soice succession (Mt umberak),
two units can be distinguished (Fig. 2a): (1) the Soice-1 Unit
(So-1), consisting of pelletal-bioclastic wacke-
stones, sporadically interbedded with coarse-
grained layers which include bioclastic-intrac-
lastic grainstone/rudstones in the lower part and
bioclastic-peloidal grainstones in the upper part
of a single interbedded layer; and (2) the Soice-2
Unit (So-2), composed of skeletal wackestones.
Between these two units, there is a portion of the
section covered by vegetation.
The pelletal-bioclastic wackestones of the So-1
Unit form 2070 cm thick beds dominated by
cryptocrystalline spheroidal-ellipsoidal pellets
and filaments embedded in calcareous mud (Fig.
3.1). In the Middle and Upper Jurassic carbonate
deposits of the Mediterranean and Atlantic ar-
eas, filaments are usually interpreted as skeletal
fragments of pelagic bivalves or their prodisso-
conchs (e.g. Colom 1955; Peyre 1959; Bernoulli
1967). Beside the pellets and filaments, there are
calcitized radiolarians, sponge spicules, and os-
tracode fragments, which are locally more abun-
dant. Coarse-grained interbedded layers, 520 cm
thick, are separated from the wackestones at
their lower bedding planes by sharp and uneven
erosional contacts. In the lower part, these grain-
stone/rudstones contain poorly sorted angular to
subrounded echinoderm fragments, commonly
with micritic envelopes and/or abraded surfaces
(Fig. 3.2). Subrounded intraclasts, peloids (mi-
critized bioclasts and/or rounded intraclasts?)
and molluscan fragments are less common. Go-
ing upwards within a single coarse-grained layer,
the size of particles gradually decreases, grad-
ing into grainstones with prevailing spheroidal
Fig. 1. Geographical locations of the studied successions: 1 Soice; 2
Breze; 3 Jazvina; 4 Rovinj. Geological sketches 14 according to Basic Geo-
logical Map 1:100,000, sheets: Novo Mesto (Plenièar et al. 1976) (1); Crikvenica
(unjar et al. 1970) (2); Delnice (Saviæ D. & Dozet 1984) (3); and Rovinj (Polak
& ikiæ 1969) (4) (all modified). Legend: T
Upper Triassic; J
and Dogger; J
Middle KimmeridgianLower Tithonian (beds with layers and nodules of chert)
Middle Kimmeridgian-Lower Tithonian; J
Lower Cretaceous; K
peloids, intraclasts, foraminifers, and molluscan fragments
(Fig. 3.3). Among the foraminifers, Nautiloculina oolithica
Mohler, Protopeneroplis striata Weynschenk, Trocholina
elongata (Leupold), and Pseudocyclammina lituus (Yokoya-
ma) have been determined, indicating an early Late Jurassic
age (Veliæ 1977).
The skeletal wackestones of the So-2 Unit differ from the
underlying pelletal-bioclastic wackestones by containing
abundant calpionellids, embedded in the calcareous mud (Fig.
3.4). In these 210 cm thick beds, Calpionella alpina Lorenz
and Calpionella elliptica Cadisch have been determined, evi-
dencing the Calpionella Cenozone (Late Tithonian/Early Ber-
riasian; Remane 1964; Babiæ 1973). Sponge spicules, echino-
derm fragments, and calcitized radiolarian tests are much rarer.
Bioturbation occurs only locally. Wackestones of this Unit are
thinly bedded, sporadically more marly, and without any sedi-
Interpretation. The facies of the So-1 Unit is quite similar to
that of toe-of-slope sedimentary environments, as it has been
described by many authors (e.g. Masetti et al. 1991; Reijmer &
Everaars 1991; Reijmer et al. 1991; Herbig & Bender 1992;
Harris 1994; Herbig & Mamet 1994). The sedimentary textures
and the occurrence of benthic foraminifers in the coarse-grained,
interbedded layers clearly indicate gravity redeposition from a
shallow-water platform into the adjacent deep-water environ-
ment at the bottom of the slope. Due to variations in the turbidit-
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 5
ic flow and in the amount of transported sediment, the coarse-
grained layers are of variable thickness and grain size.
The thin beds of the So-2 Unit represent autochthonous car-
bonate mud deposition (pelagic rain) with open marine fau-
na. More marly intervals correspond to increased influx of
fine-grained siliciclastic detritus, derived from the north, that
is from the Hercynian massifs (Pamiæ et al. 1998).
The Breze succession
Description. Within the Breze succession, along the main
road, starting from the Dogger-Malm boundary, four units
have been distinguished (Buckoviæ 1994, 1995) (Fig. 2b): (1)
the Breze-1 Unit (Bz-1), consisting of pelletal-skeletal wacke-
stones; (2) the Breze-2 Unit (Bz-2), composed of pelletal-bio-
clastic wackestones with chert layers and nodules (in irregular
alternation with siliceous beds); (3) the Breze-3 Unit (Bz-3),
consisting of pelletal-bioclastic wackestones frequently inter-
bedded with bioclastic packstone/floatstones; and (4) the
Breze-4 Unit (Bz-4), composed of bioclastic-peloidal wacke-
stone/packstones with rare floatstones and sporadic grain-
Veliæ et al. (1994) and Buckoviæ (1994, 1995) contempora-
neously and separately investigated this profile, and therefore
Fig. 2. Correlation of studied Upper Jurassic successions: a) Soice (Buckoviæ 1998, modified); b) Breze (Veliæ et al. 1994; Buckoviæ 1994,
1995; modified); c) Jazvina (Tiljar & Veliæ 1993; Tiljar et al. 1994; Buckoviæ 1994; modified); d) Rovinj (Tiljar & Veliæ 1987; Veliæ &
Tiljar 1988; Tiljar et al. 1994, 1995; Veliæ et al. 1995; modified). 1 pelletal-bioclastic wackestones; 2 layers of bioclastic grain-
stones, grainstone/rudstones (in So-1 Unit) and wackestone/floatstones, grainstone/floatstones (in Jz-2 Unit); 3 covered portion of sec-
tion; 4 skeletal wackestones; 5 pelletal and peloidal wackestones; 6 pelletal-bioclastic wackestones with layers and nodules of chert
(in irregular alternation with siliceous beds); 7 pelletal-bioclastic wackestones; 8 mudstones and pelletal wackestones; 9 shallow-
ing- and coarsening-upward sequences (see Fig. 5a for details); 10 shallowing- and coarsening-upward sequences (see Fig. 5b for de-
tails); 11 coarsening-upward sequences (see Fig. 7a for details); 12 Rovinj breccia; 13 shallowing-upward sequences (see Fig. 7b
for details); 14 shallowing- and coarsening-upward sequences (see Fig. 7c for details); 15 dolomites.
6 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
the description of its facies characteristics mainly correspond
to each other.
The predominant component of the pelletal-skeletal wacke-
stone beds of the Bz-1 Unit (each 2090 cm thick) are oval to
suboval tiny faecal pellets and rarer coarser peloids (micri-
tized bioclasts and/or rounded intraclasts?) which in places
prevail forming peloidal-skeletal wackestones (Fig. 4.1). They
contain a rich benthic biota: Praekurnubia crusei Redmond,
Kurnubia palastiniensis Henson, Salpingoporella sellii (Cres-
centi), Pseudocyclammina lituus (Yokoyama) and Redmon-
doides lugeoni (Septfontaine), as well as debris of Thaumato-
porella. This assemblage belongs to the Macroporella sellii
Cenozone (Veliæ 1977). Echinoderm and molluscan frag-
ments of variable sizes are sporadically present. Very rarely,
large fragments of Cladocoropsis mirabilis Felix can be
Separated by a minor fault, deposits of the Bz-2 Unit over-
lie the Bz-1 Unit. Its lower portion (the first 38 m) is charac-
terized by pelletal-bioclastic wackestones with rare intercala-
tions and nodules of chert, whereas the upper part (the next
34 m) consists of an irregular alternation of pelletal-bioclastic
wackestones and greyish-green siliceous beds. The lower por-
tion of this unit is characterized by thicker bedding in compar-
ison with its upper part (1050 cm compared to 315 cm).
Additionally, layers and nodules of chert inside the upper part
of this unit are very frequent. Besides the pellets, the wacke-
stones contain tiny echinoderm fragments and rare calcitized
radiolarians, sponge spicules, as well as hydrozoan and gas-
tropod debris (Fig. 4.2). Such limestones alternate with easily
cleavaged and poorly consolidated siliceous beds in the upper
portion of this unit. The contacts between wackestones and
siliceous beds are always sharp. The siliceous beds are clayey-
tuffitic layers formed by the alteration of volcanic ash and
fine-grained vitric tuffs, containing radiolarians and spicules
of siliceous sponges (æavnièar & Nikler 1976).
The first appearance of the bioclastic packstone/floatstone
layer inside the pelletal-bioclastic wackestones marks the be-
ginning of the Bz-3 Unit. The bioclastic packstone/floatstones
are 210 cm thick layers characterized by more or less clearly
expressed grading and orientation of elongated bioclasts par-
allel to bedding. They are composed of poorly sorted, abraded
and broken echinoderm, hydrozoan, and molluscan frag-
ments, as well as micritic intraclasts (Fig. 4.3). Peloids, ooids,
and algal bioclasts are rarely present. These coarse-grained
Fig. 3. Typical microfacies of units from the Soice succession. 1 Pelletal-bioclastic wackestone with filaments. Toe-of-slope envi-
ronment. So-1 Unit. Soice. Scale bar 0.8 mm. 2 Bioclastic-intraclastic grainstone/rudstone with predominant coarser echinoderm and
molluscan fragments. Lower part of a single interbedded coarse-grained layer. Toe-of-slope environment. So-1 Unit. Soice. Scale bar
1.6 mm. 3 Bioclastic-peloidal grainstone with Nautiloculina oolithica Mohler (arrow). Upper part of a single interbedded coarse-
grained layer. Toe-of-slope environment. So-1 Unit. Soice. Scale bar 1.6 mm. 4 Skeletal wackestone with calpionellids. Basin envi-
ronment. So-2 Unit. Soice. Scale bar 0.4 mm.
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 7
layers are always separated from both the underlying and
overlying wackestones by sharp contacts, of which the lower
one is erosional. Upwards in this section, the coarse-grained
interbedded layers become more frequent and thicker.
At the top of the last coarse-grained layer, a change in parti-
cle content occurs and marks the beginning of the Bz-4 Unit.
In 1580 cm thick beds of pelletal-bioclastic wackestones,
more rarely peloidal and/or ooidal grainstones, pellets, micrit-
ic intraclasts, and molluscan fragments are the predominant
components. Foraminifers occur more rarely. Irregular fenes-
trae and/or dissolution vugs filled by drusy calcite frequently
occur (Fig. 4.4). Large diceratid shells, as well as Clypeina ju-
rassica Favre, Campbelliella striata (Carozzi), and Pseudocy-
clammina lituus (Yokoyama) can occasionally be found, de-
fining the Clypeina jurassica and Campbelliella striata
Subzone (Veliæ 1977).
Interpretation. The presence of large amounts of pelllets
and benthic foraminifers implies that the Bz-1 Unit has been
deposited in low-energy platform shoals and/or lagoons with
slow and constant rate of sediment accumulation (open plat-
form Wilson 1975; low-energy shallow lagoon Veliæ
et al. 1994). Echinoderm, molluscan, and Cladocoropsis frag-
ments indicate sporadic higher energy conditions, when car-
bonate material was derived from neighbouring reef-mounds
or patch reefs whose relicts composed of coral, hydrozoan,
spongiomorph and diceratid skeletons can be found locally
(Veliæ et al. 1994).
In the Bz-2 Unit, the absence of benthic biota and the rather
common presence of radiolarian tests indicates greater depth
and a stronger influence of the open sea. This depositional en-
vironment was a rather spacious, elongated lagoon, bounded
by inner carbonate ramps, which was only sporadically con-
nected with the open sea (Veliæ et al. 1994). In this deeper-
water environment, the vitroclasts, carried by the wind from
distant volcanic eruptions, were devitrified and altered, result-
ing in chert or clayey-tuffitic layers (æavnièar & Nikler
The first coarse-grained bioclastic packstone/floatstone lay-
er of the Bz-3 Unit represents gravity displaced carbonate ma-
terial, deposited in a deeper-water environment. Veliæ et al.
(1994) referred to it as an elongated intraplatform lagoon, but
Buckoviæ (1994, 1995) identified it as an intraplatform
trough. Both Veliæ et al. (1994) and Buckoviæ (1994, 1995)
regard this gravity displaced carbonate material as massive
Fig. 4. Typical microfacies of units from the Breze succession. 1 Peloidal-skeletal wackestone. Arrow points at Kurnubia palastinien-
sis Henson. Platform lagoon environment. Bz-1 Unit. Breze. Scale bar 0.8 mm. 2 Pelletal-bioclastic wackestone with small echinoderm
fragments, sponge spicules, and rare calcitized radiolarians. Intraplatform trough environment. Bz-2 Unit. Breze. Scale bar 0.8 mm. 3
Bioclastic packstone/floatstone with coarser echinoderm and hydrozoan fragments. Intraplatform trough environment. Bz-3 Unit. Breze.
Scale bar 1.6 mm. 4 Pelletal-bioclastic wackestone with irregular fenestrae and/or dissolution vugs. Platform intertidal to supratidal
environment. Bz-4 Unit. Breze. Scale bar 0.8 mm.
8 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
peri-reefal deposits. Processes of redeposition were very simi-
lar to those in which the allochthonous layers of So-1 Unit
were formed. However, here the episodic accumulation of the
redeposited bioclastic coarse-grained material in the deeper-
water environment produced successive infilling and progres-
sive shallowing of the original deeper-water environment and,
thus, the gradual progradation of the shallow-water platform
environment (Buckoviæ 1994, 1995). However, as distinct
from Soice, here this infilling and progressive shallowing of
the original deeper-water environment was possible because
both the depth and spaciousness of this elongated intraplat-
form trough were probably much smaller than the Soice
Later in the sedimentary succession, gravity displaced car-
bonate material, that is peri-reefal deposits, was overlain by
prograding ooid-bioclastic and ooid carbonate shoals (Veliæ et
al. 1994). Once the shallow-water environment was re-estab-
lished, carbonate accumulation of the Bz-4 Unit became rath-
er high, resulting in further shallowing, which periodically
reached up to intertidal-supratidal levels, producing shallow-
ing-upward sequences with sporadic subaerial exposure
(Veliæ et al. 1994; Buckoviæ 1994, 1995).
The Jazvina succession
Description. At the Jazvina locality, five units have been
recognized (Tiljar & Veliæ 1993; Buckoviæ 1994). In this pa-
per we name them as follows (Fig. 2c): (1) the Jazvina-1 Unit
(Jz-1), with mudstones and pelletal wackestones; (2) the Jazvi-
na-2 Unit (Jz-2), with bioclastic wackestone/floatstones and
grainstone/rudstones; (3) the Jazvina-3 Unit (Jz-3), with pe-
loidal-skeletal wackestones and packstones; (4) the Jazvina-4
Unit (Jz-4), composed of shallowing and coarsening-upward
sequences with mudstones or pelletal wackestones as the low-
er sequence facies types, fenestral mudstones or pelletal wack-
estones as the middle sequence facies types, and ooid grain-
stones as the upper sequence facies types (Fig. 5a); and (5) the
Jazvina-5 Unit (Jz-5), composed of shallowing- and coarsen-
ing-upward sequences, which differ from the underlying Jz-4
sequences by the presence of the pisoid-intraclastic grainstone/
rudstones as the upper sequence facies types (Fig. 5b).
Tiljar & Veliæ (1993) and Buckoviæ (1994) contemporane-
ously and separately investigated this profile, and therefore
the description of its facies characteristics mainly correspond
to each other.
Mudstone and pelletal wackestone beds of the Jz-1 Unit are
2090 cm thick and mostly contain variable amounts of fora-
minifers and peloids in carbonate mud. Among the foramini-
fers, Pseudocyclammina lituus (Yokoyama), Redmondoides lu-
geoni (Septfontaine), Praekurnubia crusei Redmond, Kurnubia
palastiniensis Henson and Trocholina elongata (Leupold) have
been determined. Sporadically, tiny molluscan fragments, algal
oncoids, and cyanophyte filaments with thick micritic enve-
lopes can also be found. Bioturbation occurs locally. Coarse-
grained, coated Cladocoropsis, echinoderm, and molluscan
fragments occur more frequently in the upper part of this unit.
This indicates a gradual transition into the overlying Jz-2 Unit.
Rhythmical alternations of the bioclastic wackestone/float-
stones with bioclastic grainstone/rudstones is the main charac-
teristic of the Jz-2 Unit. Both facies types are 2060 cm thick
and contain various coarse-grained molluscan and hydrozoan
skeletal debris (Fig. 6.1). Sporadically, hummocky cross strat-
ification (HCS) is observed within the grainstone/rudstones.
Besides the above mentioned allochems, peloids, subspheroi-
dal micritic intraclasts, and algal oncoids occur very rarely.
Foraminifers keep occurring; in addition to those from the un-
derlying unit, Nautiloculina oolithica Mohler, Labyrinthina
mirabilis Weynschenk, Chablaisia chablaisensis Septfon-
taine, and Mohlerina basiliensis (Mohler) appear, indicating
the Macroporella sellii Cenozone (Veliæ 1977).
Poorly sorted and locally bioturbated, mud-rich limestones
of the Jz-3 Unit predominantly contain typical shallow-water
allochems; pellets, peloids, and benthic foraminifers (Fig.
6.2). Whereas peloidal-skeletal wackestone beds dominate,
packstones are rarer. Packstones commonly contain numerous
foraminifers, well-known from the underlying units. Howev-
er, contrary to the underlying units, this whole unit is addi-
tionally characterized by the presence of the algal species Sal-
pingoporella sellii (Crescenti). Algal oncoids, tiny molluscan
fragments, and angular to rounded micritic intraclasts also oc-
cur in variable proportions. Algal oncoids and coarser micritic
and/or pelmicritic intraclasts may be the dominant component
in a few places inside this unit, thus forming individual beds
of oncoid-intraclastic wackestone/floatstones or grainstone/
rudstones. This unit is characterized by 1580 cm thick beds.
Shallowing- and coarsening-upward sequences of the Jz-4
Unit consist of three texturally and compositionally various
facies types. The thickness of the lower sequence facies types
ranges from 40120 cm, whereas the thicknesses of the mid-
dle and upper sequence facies types are frequently equal,
amounting to 1520 cm.
Figs. 5ab. Detail of sequences in: a) Jz-4 Unit (Buckoviæ 1994;
modified); b) Jz-5 Unit (Tiljar & Veliæ 1993; Tiljar et al. 1994;
Buckoviæ 1994; modified). A shallow subtidal, B intertidal-
supratidal, C oolite shoal (tidal bar, in: Tiljar & Veliæ 1993; Ti-
ljar et al. 1994), D vadose zone.
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 9
Mudstone or pelletal wackestone beds are usually 20
60 cm thick and contain pellets, rare peloids, and foramini-
fers. In these members, rare algal oncoids and fragments of
Clypeina jurassica Favre and/or Salpingoporella annulata
Carozzi are also present. Less common allochems are mainly
tiny molluscan and echinoderm fragments. This allochem
content continues into the middle member with the distinct
difference that the latter contains irregular fenestrae, molds of
bioclasts, and/or dissolution vugs filled by drusy calcite. Only
locally, fenestrae, molds, and vugs are roofed by microstalac-
titic cement, while some larger molds and dissolution vugs are
lined at their bottom with crystal silt showing geopetal fabric.
Ooid grainstones are composed of well sorted ooids with
peloidal and, much more rarely, bioclastic nuclei, surrounded
by a microcrystalline envelope. Within the individual ooids
primary radial-fibrous fabric is clearly visible (Fig. 6.3). Nu-
merous ooid grainstone members contain only crushed and/or
regenerated ooids with a considerable amount of crystal and
pelletal silt in the pore spaces, thus showing geopetal fabric,
while microstalactitic and meniscus cement occur rarely. Local-
ly, ooid grainstone members show distinct cross lamination.
Because this unit originated under different conditions than
the underlying one, some fossils are lacking (Tiljar & Veliæ
1993). Thus, Kurnubia palastiniensis Henson and Trocholina
alpina (Leupold) become the predominant foraminifers.
Clypeina jurassica Favre, which appears after the first ca. 60 me-
tres of this unit, defines the vertical range of the Clypeina ju-
rassica s.str. Subzone (Veliæ 1977).
A distinct cyclic pattern of three facies types can also be ob-
served in the Jz-5 Unit.
The first two members of these shallowing- and coarsening-
upward sequences are characterized by the same composition-
al and textural features as the first two members from the un-
derlying Jz-4 Unit. However, the middle, fenestral, member is
frequently capped with skeletal-intraclastic grainstones con-
taining abundant Clypeina jurassica Favre and/or Campbel-
liella striata (Carozzi), fragments and micritic intraclasts. In a
few places, these grainstones contain variable amounts of
molluscan and echinoderm fragments, cortoids, and foramin-
iferal tests. The thicknesses of these first two members are fre-
quently equal, amounting to 3550 cm.
The third facies types are always 1015 cm thick pisoid-in-
traclastic grainstone/rudstones. They contain angular to
rounded micritic-pelletal intraclasts (sometimes with fenestral
fabric), with or without pisoid envelopes (Fig. 6.4). Intergran-
ular pores commonly contain variable amounts of crystal and
Fig. 6. Typical microfacies of units from the Jazvina succession. 1 Bioclastic grainstone/rudstone with predominant coarser molluscan
fragments. Platform lagoon environment. Jz-2 Unit. Jazvina. Scale bar 1.6 mm. 2 Peloidal-skeletal wackestone with Salpingoporella sellii
(Crescenti) (arrow) and Praekurnubia crusei Redmond. Platform subtidal environment. Jz-3 Unit. Jazvina. Scale bar 0.8 mm. 3 Ooid
grainstone composed of ooids with well preserved radial-fibrous fabric. Platform oolite shoal environment. Jz-4 Unit. Jazvina. Scale bar
1.6 mm. 4 Pisoid-intraclastic grainstone/rudstone with micritic and/or micritic-pelletal intraclasts surrounded with pisoid envelopes. Plat-
form vadose environment. Jz-5 Unit. Jazvina. Scale bar 1.6 mm.
10 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
pelletal silt; this internal sediment frequently shows grading
and geopetal fabric. Meniscus and microstalactitic cements
occur only sporadically.
Beside sporadic findings of the foraminifers Redmondoides
lugeoni (Septfontaine) and Pseudocyclammina lituus
(Yokoyama), this unit contains abundant fragments of the
dasyclad species Clypeina jurassica Favre and Campbelliella
striata (Carozzi). Campbelliella striata occurs throughout this
unit, while Clypeina jurassica disappears after about the mid-
dle. This unit belongs in its entire range to the Clypeina juras-
sica and Campbelliella striata Subzone (Veliæ 1977).
Interpretation. The depositional environment for the Jz-1
Unit is interpreted as a shallow, low-energy lagoon below the
fair-weather wave-base, situated in the inner platform region.
Tiljar & Veliæ (1993) consider this unit to be deposited in
low energy shoals in the outer part of the carbonate ramp (out-
er-ramp?), probably mostly below the fair weather wave-base,
with constant and steady accumulation of sediment in a quiet
water environment. However, the increasing amount of
coarse-grained fragments in the upper part of this unit sug-
gests stronger influence of adjacent environments, inhabitated
by molluscs, echinoderms, and hydrozoans. These could be
reef mounds or patch-reefs build-up of various coarser skele-
tal organisms. These organic structures could be formed on la-
goonal floor irregularities providing hard substrate, where
bottom currents provide oxygen and nutrients. Their growth
was due to local accumulation of skeletal material and to the
baffling and trapping of finer sediment by lagoonal organisms
(e.g. fleshy algae). As a result of destruction of these struc-
tures by currents and waves during major storms, coarse-
grained skeletal fragments were spread throughout the lagoon,
sporadically initiating formation of additional lagoonal floor
irregularities which became nucleui for new organic struc-
tures. When reef mounds or patch-reefs, in such a way, spread
(prograded) and occupied more space, the Jz-2 Unit, com-
posed solely of coarse-grained skeletal fragments, began to be
deposited during major storms. These limestones are typical
examples of bioclastic carbonate sediments deposited on a
carbonate platform in high energy shoals, in which large
quantities of fossil debris, transported by waves and tidal cur-
rents, have been accumulated (Tiljar & Veliæ 1993). Bioclast
abundance, good sorting, and partial hummocky cross stratifi-
cation in this unit clearly indicate high-energy, stormy condi-
tions, in which the waves and currents reworked and transport-
ed skeletal fragments. Rhythmical alternation of wackestone/
floatstones and grainstone/rudstones indicate oscillations in
water energy; wackestone/floatstones were deposited when
storms began to calm down.
High carbonate mud content within the Jz-3 Unit suggests a
subtidal depositional environment (shoreface above fair-
weather wave-base and/or lagoon Tiljar & Veliæ 1993).
Contrary to the depositional environment of the Jz-1 Unit,
rich foraminiferal content (particularly in the packstones) in-
dicates better water circulation above the fair-weather wave-
base and thus more favourable ecological conditions than
those in the Jz-1 Unit. Packstone beds suggest sporadic high-
er-energy environments, triggered by periodical storms which
winnowed the muddy foraminiferal material. During sporadic
major storms, carbonate mud was washed out and neighbour-
ing reef mounds or patch-reefs were eroded, giving rise to bio-
clastic-intraclastic grainstone/rudstone beds.
Within the Jz-4 Unit, three sedimentary environments with
different depositional styles can be recognized. Periodically
changing conditions, ranging from shallow subtidal to oolite
shoals, have produced a series of shallowing- and coarsening-
upward sequences. Gradual transition of the mudstones and
pelletal wackestones to those with fenestral fabric, as well as
molds of bioclasts and/or dissolution vugs, clearly indicate
shallowing-upward evolution, with sporadic subaerial expo-
sure as a consequence of tidal-flat progradation or aggradation
in the subtidal zone of maximum carbonate productivity (Ti-
ljar & Veliæ 1993). Oolite shoals from adjacent areas, which
constantly changed their position during periodic storms and/
or higher tidal currents, capped the underlying intertidal-su-
pratidal fenestral deposits, thus forming the third, ooid grain-
stone member of the shallowing- and coarsening-upward se-
quences. During stormy periods, ooids were thrown by waves
onto the vadose zone, and thus subjected to desiccation and
vadose diagenesis, producing vadose features (microstalactitic
and meniscus cement, crystal and pelletal silt). Triggered by
periodical storms and/or high tides, several episodes of re-
deposition took place, when ooidal deposits were transported
from the vadose to the subtidal zone and back, which caused
their partial cracking and multiphase regeneration. Tiljar &
Veliæ (1993) consider this unit to be deposited in specific cir-
cumstances ranging from beach bar to lagoon and intertidal
environments as a result of ooid bar and tidal flat prograda-
tion, so their interpretation of this unit is rather different.
They interpreted these shallowing-upward sequences as be-
ginning with the ooid grainstones, and passing up into the la-
goonal mudstones/wackestones (for such a model see also
Straser 1994; Straser et al. 1999). They are capped by the
fenestral tidal flat wackestones with the evidence of subaerial
The first two facies types of the Jz-5 Unit originated under
similar conditions as the first two facies types of the underly-
ing Jz-4 Unit. However, after the final emergence of the sec-
ond member, carbonate detritus (mainly intraclasts), thrown
onto the emergent surface from the adjacent subtidal environ-
ments by action of storm waves and high tides, was exposed
to vadose diagenesis. During these periods, some intraclasts
developed pisoid envelopes, and internal sediment was pro-
duced (for a more complex and different interpretation of this
unit, see Tiljar & Veliæ 1993).
The Rovinj succession
Description. Inside the Upper Jurassic succession in the vi-
cinity of Rovinj, earlier authors have distinguished four units
(see Tiljar & Veliæ 1987; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988; Tiljar et al.
1994, 1995; Veliæ et al. 1995) (Fig. 2d): (1) the Lim Unit,
consisting of peloidal-skeletal wackestones, less commonly
peloid grainstones or packstones; (2) the Muèa Unit, com-
posed of coarsening-upward sequences with peloidal-skeletal
wackestones as the lower sequence facies types, ooid grain-
stones as the middle sequence facies types and the bioclastic-
ooidal grainstones, more rarely rudstones, as the upper se-
quence facies types (Fig. 7a); (3) the Rovinj Breccia Unit; and
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 11
(4) the Kirmenjak Unit, consisting in its lower part of shal-
lowing-upward sequences with black-pebble breccia as the
lower sequence facies types, mudstones as the middle se-
quence facies types, fenestral mudstones as the upper se-
quence facies types. In the upper part of the Kirmenjak Unit
black-pebble breccia does not appear and there are shallow-
ing- and coarsening-upward sequences starting with mud-
stones as the lower sequence facies types, fenestral mudstones
as the middle sequence facies types, and ending with the
pisoid-intraclastic grainstone/rudstones as the upper sequence
facies types (Figs. 7bc).
All these units follow each other in normal superposition,
with the exception of the Lim and Muèa Units, which pass lat-
erally into each other, so that the Muèa Unit represents one gi-
ant lens-like sediment body inside the Lim Unit (Tiljar &
Veliæ 1987; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988; Tiljar et al. 1994, 1995;
Veliæ et al. 1995). Here we give a short (summarized) de-
scription and interpretation of these units according to these
Peloidal-skeletal wackestones of the Lim Unit are 3090 cm
thick beds composed of micrite, sphaeroidal peloids and di-
verse platform allochems: foraminifers, molluscan and echin-
oderm fragments, less frequently green algae and algal on-
coids (Fig. 8.1). Rarely, fragmented, coarse-grained
Cladocoropsis fragments are found, usually covered with thin
micritic envelopes and/or coated with few oncoid envelopes.
Rounded intraclasts are in places more abundant. Among the
foraminifers, Redmondoides lugeoni (Septfontaine), Kurnubia
palastiniensis Henson, Praekurnubia crusei Redmond, Tro-
cholina elongata (Leupold), Trocholina alpina (Leupold),
Nautiloculina oolithica Mohler, Pseudocyclammina lituus
(Yokoyama), and Chablaisia chablaisensis (Septfontaine), as
well as the dasyclad Salpingoporella sellii Crescenti, are the
most common constituents, indicating the Macroporella selli
Cenozone (Veliæ 1977).
Huge, being several kilometers long and several tens of me-
tres thick, the lense of the Muèa Unit distinctly differs from
the Lim Unit by its composition. It consists of a successive se-
ries of coarsening-upward sequences, each composed of three
texturally and compositionally different facies types. The
thickness of the lower sequence facies types ranges from 20
40 cm, whereas the thickness of the middle and upper se-
quence facies types are commonly equal, amounting to 40
The peloidal-skeletal wackestones have the same allochem
content as the underlying wackestones of the Lim Unit.
Small-scale cross-bedded ooid grainstones are composed of
well-sorted ooids with peloidal and/or bioclastic nuclei and
radial-fibrous microstructure (Fig. 8.2). Intraclasts, foramini-
fers, and tiny molluscan fragments are much rarer. Bioclastic-
ooidal grainstones, more rarely rudstones, differ from the un-
derlying ooid grainstones by the presence of large amounts of
various foraminifers, as well as by coarse-grained, frequently
abraded coral, molluscan, and hydrozoan fragments (Fig. 8.3).
In a few places, entire coral heads are present. The surfaces of
many of these bioclasts are coated and/or micritized. Distinct,
large-scale cross-bedding is clearly visible. The foraminiferal
association of this unit corresponds fully to that of the Lim
The Rovinj Breccia Unit consists of 18 cm sized, rounded
to angular limestone fragments that belong, compositionally
and texturally, to the underlying Lim Unit. Only sporadically
these fragments were derived from the Muèa Unit. The brec-
cia cement is microcrystalline calcite, pigmented in places by
Fig. 7ac. Detail of sequences in: a) Muèa Unit; b) and c) Kirmenjak Unit (Tiljar & Veliæ 1987; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988; Tiljar et al.
1994; Veliæ et al. 1995; Tiljar et al. 1995; modified). A shallow subtidal (tidal bar, in: Tiljar & Veliæ 1987; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988;
Tiljar et al. 1994; Tiljar et al. 1995), B intertidal-supratidal, C oolite shoal, D vadose zone.
12 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
Fe-minerals. The thickness of the breccia varies from a few
decimetres to 8 metres; it has a lens-like form and is commonly
separated from the Lim Unit by a sharp and uneven contact. In a
few places, the breccia is overlain by bauxites composed, ac-
cording inkovec (1974), of boehmite, kaolinite, and hematite.
Overlying the breccia and bauxite, there is the Kirmenjak
Unit, composed of successive series of shallowing-upward se-
quences and then shallowing- and coarsening-upward se-
quences. The thicknesses of sequence facies types are vari-
able. The black-pebble breccia, as the lower facies type of the
shallowing-upward sequences, consists of subrounded black
and/or brown mudstone and/or fenestral mudstone fragments,
inserted in a carbonate, clayey, or marly matrix. Its thickness
ranges from 525 cm. Mudstones with very rare pellets, fora-
minifers, ostracodes, and dasyclads are 40120 cm thick. The
foraminifer Kurnubia palastiniensis Henson, as well as the
dasyclads Salpingoporella annulata Carozzi, Clypeina juras-
sica Favre, and Campbelliela striata (Carozzi), can be recog-
nized in only a few places inside the mudstones, defining the
Clypeina jurassica and Campbelliela striata Subzone (Veliæ
1977). Bioturbation occurs frequently. Fenestral mudstones
from both types of sequence and pisoid-intraclastic grain-
stone/rudstones (Fig. 8.4) from the shallowing- and coarsen-
ing-upward sequences within the upper Kirmenjak levels, are
characterized by similar features as the texturally identical
member inside the Jz-5 Unit. However, their thickness is
smaller here, ranging from 1015 cm for fenestral mudstones
and from 510 cm for pisoid intraclastic grainstone/rudstones.
Interpretation. The sedimentary signature of the Lim Unit
indicates deposition in an agitated, shallow subtidal environ-
ment, above the fair-weather wave-base. This environment
was very similar to that of the Jz-3 Unit.
The abundance of ooids and the mud-free, sorted, and
cross-bedded nature of the Muèa middle sequence facies
types indicate a high-energy oolite shoal environment, which
migrated laterally by the action of waves and currents, thus
capping the adjacent shallow subtidal deposits as the middle
facies type of one coarsening-upward sequence. When the
weather became more stormy, waves and currents eroded the
existing lagoonal patch reefs, mainly composed of robust cor-
al colonies, and coarse-grained skeletal fragments were trans-
ported by currents and waves onto the migrating oolite shoal,
thus producing the upper facies type of a single coarsening-
upward sequence and with distinctive large-scale textural fea-
Fig. 8. Typical microfacies of units from the Rovinj succession. 1 Peloidal-skeletal wackestone. Platform subtidal environment. Lim
Unit. Rovinj. Scale bar 0.8 mm. 2 Ooid grainstone composed of ooids with rarely preserved radial-fibrous fabric. Platform oolite shoal
environment. Muèa Unit. Rovinj. Scale bar 1.6 mm. 3 Bioclastic-ooidal grainstone with predominant molluscan fragments, foraminifers
and oomoldic ooids. Platform oolite shoal environment. Muèa Unit. Rovinj. Scale bar 1.6 mm. 4 Pisoid-intraclastic grainstone/rudstone
with micritic and/or micritic-pelletal intraclasts surrounded with pisoid envelopes. Platform vadose environment. Kirmenjak Unit. Rovinj.
Scale bar 1.6 mm.
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 13
tures. In this way, as the stormy conditions periodically affect-
ed this area, successive coarsening-upward sequences were
During the initial stage of regression that occurred in this
area after the deposition of the Lim and Muèa Units, their de-
posits were subjected to multi-phased alternation of subaerial
exposure and action of tidal and/or storm waves, in which
they were partly cracked, fragmented, and transported over
short distances, forming the Rovinj breccia. After the sea re-
treated completely, karst topography was formed, with wide
local depressions into which pelitic clayey material was
brought (by fresh water flows?) and altered into bauxite.
The Kirmenjak Unit has been deposited in environmental
conditions ranging from shallow subtidal to supratidal and va-
dose zone, as a result of tidal-flat progradation or aggradation
in the subtidal zone, that is this unit originated under similar
circumstances as the Jz-5 Unit. Veliæ & Tiljar (1988) inter-
preted the black-pebble breccia as indicators of the the exist-
ence of local swamps. However, blackening may occur not
only within the swamps but also within the subtidal, intertidal,
and supratidal zones, that is whenever dark organic substance
is available and the geochemical and mineralogical conditions
for its preservation and fixation are right (Strasser 1984). Af-
ter these swamps were dried up, swampy black and/or brown
deposits, rich in organic matter, was fragmented by the action
of tidal and/or storm waves, and then partly transported back
to the adjacent subtidal (intertidal?) environment. After the
swampy deposits were fully flooded or completely eroded,
thus formed black-pebble fragments were gradually buried
under subtidal mudstone, that is under middle sequence fa-
Within the lithostratigraphic framework established for
each succession, important differences in the nature of pale-
oenvironmental conditions have been noticed. These differ-
ences can be interpreted as being the consequence of different
sedimentary histories, which took place at paleogeographical-
ly distant ADCP areas. On the basis of our own research and
the published results of earlier researchers (e.g. Tiljar &
Veliæ 1987, 1991, 1993; Veliæ & Tiljar 1988; Tiljar et al.
1989, 1994, 1995; Veliæ et al. 1994, 1995, 1995, 2002; Vla-
hoviæ et al. 2001; etc.) the following reconstruction of the
geological evolution of the area can be envisaged.
Starting from the beginning of the Oxfordian, sedimenta-
tion within the investigated ADCP realm took place in a la-
goonal or shallow subtidal platform environment below and/
or above the fair-weather wave-base, with predominant accu-
mulation of carbonate mud and micritic allochems (pellets
and peloids), into which, from time to time, fine-grained skel-
etal debris was derived from adjacent reef mounds and/or
patch-reefs. This is clearly recorded inside the whole Jz-1, Bz-1
and Lim Units. During the Middle Oxfordian, sedimentary en-
vironments began to diversify and each investigated area
assumed its own evolution up to the end of the Late Jurassic.
At Jazvina, the reef mounds and/or patch-reefs spread and
occupied broader lagoonal area, so that the coarse-grained
skeletal detritus was predominantly deposited (Jz-2 Unit). By
gradual shallowing of this lagoonal environment, subtidal ar-
eas above the fair-weather wave-base existed in the Late Ox-
fordian. This shallowing event had a negative effect on the
growth of sediment trappers and, consequently, the growth of
reef mounds and/or patch-reefs was markedly reduced. On the
other hand, however, these environments were very favour-
able for foraminifers and dasyclads, as well as the develop-
ment of various coated grains (oncoids, peloids) (Jz-3 Unit).
In the Early Kimmeridgian, the gradual shallowing progressed
and oolite shoals, surrounded by lagoons and tidal flats, came
into existence (Jz-4 Unit). This sedimentary system gradually
prograded seaward and in the Tithonian was replaced by a
peritidal sedimentary system (Jz-5 Unit), indicating continu-
ous regression. Both sedimentary systems gave rise to high-
frequency relative sea-level fluctuations. However, besides
certainly active the autocyclic processes of progradation of
the oolite shoals or tidal flat or aggradation in the subtidal
zone of maximum carbonate productivity, allocyclic influence
on these relative sea-level fluctuations cannot be excluded.
Orbitally controlled (Milankovitch), high-frequency sea-level
fluctuations may also lead to metre-scale shallowing- and
coarsening upward sequences (e.g. Strasser 1991; Goldham-
mer et al. 1993; Strasser et al. 1999). Milankovitch high-fre-
quency sea-level fluctuations are commonly related to fluctu-
ations of climate linked to varying amount of insolation,
whereby the waxing and waning of ice caps, especially during
glaciation periods (such as nowadays), act as amplifier of the
inherently weak insolation signal. During the Late Jurassic,
ice in high latitudes was probably present, but ice-volumes
were not sufficient to induce important glacio-eustatic fluctu-
ations (Frakes et al. 1992; Eyles 1993; Valdes et al. 1995), al-
though volume changes of alpine glaciers could make a small
contribution (Fairbridge 1976; Valdes et al. 1995). Frakes et
al. (1992) also speak of a cool mode in paleoclimate from
the Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, with a pronounced
seasonality. Thus, Late Jurassic high-frequency sea-level fluc-
tuations were probably also influenced by variations of insola-
tion, which themselves were linked to the orbital parameters
of the Earth (Berger et al. 1989). Thus, periodical shallowing-
upward and shallowing- and coarsening-upward sequences
within the Upper Jurassic ADCP successions had to be at least
partly originated by allocyclic processes, that is their origin
was certainly partly controlled by orbital cycles in the Milan-
kovitch frequency band. It is possible, that the two sets of pro-
cesses (autocyclic and allocyclic, respectively) jointly pro-
duced a synergistic effect, though, for the time being, their
share in the total process cannot be reliably determined be-
cause we cannot, as yet, measure the duration of our sequences.
A similar environmental evolution, with a dominant regressive
trend, is also recorded within the Rovinj succession. Starting
from the Middle Oxfordian and following the subtidal sedi-
mentary environment above the fair-weather wave-base where
the Lim Unit was deposited, the environment became diversi-
fied and partly shallowed, with sedimentary characteristics
close to the typical beach-barrier island-lagoonal system,
where successive series of distinctive coarsening-upward se-
quences were produced (Muèa Unit). Thus, in what is today
the Rovinj area, sedimentary conditions from the beginning of
14 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
the Oxfordian and during the Early Kimmeridgian also show a
general shallowing-upward trend. Contrary to the situation at
Jazvina, however, it ends with an emersion as a final regres-
sive event. After the emersion phase lasting from the Middle
Kimmeridgian to Early Tithonian, that is until the beginning
of the Late Tithonian, a gradual transgression took place (Kir-
Thus, viewing the Rovinj succession as a whole, two major
depositional periods can be distinguished: (1) a regressive
evolution from the very Late Oxfordian to the Early Kim-
meridgian, and (2) a transgressive evolution in the Late Titho-
nian. The sequence boundary between the regressive and the
transgressive phase is marked by the occurrence of the Rovinj
breccia, which was formed during the gradual retreat of the
sea and is capped by an important emersion horizon, locally
Distinctive emersion horizon, clearly recorded at Rovinj area,
was only a partial consequence of the significant geodynamic
changes that, in the Kimmeridgian, took place across the whole
ADCP. Thus, the transitional, northeastern marginal ADCP-ba-
sin realm with a series of small islands (Bukovac et al. 1974,
1984; Dozet 1994) was partly drowned. As these environmen-
tal changes were of opposite character to those in the Rovinj
area, we assume that this event is clear evidence of synsedimen-
tary tectonics within the marginal ADCP-basin realm.
In the Kimmeridgian, intensive synsedimentary tectonics
markedly affected also some other parts of the ADCP. In
many places, there are deeper-water, locally ammonite-bear-
ing, carbonates and cherts intercalated inside the Malm shal-
low-water carbonate successions (Furlani 1910; Salopek
1910; Ziegler 1963; Nikler 1965, 1978; Chorowicz & Gey-
ssant 1972; Veliæ & Sokaè 1974; Veliæ 1977). One of those
pelagic-influenced successions is recorded at Breze. When
correlated with biostratigraphical units, these pelagic-influ-
enced carbonates correspond to the Cylindroporella anici
Cenozone and, probably, to the lower part of Clypeina juras-
sica Cenozone (Veliæ 1977). Therefore, it is possible to con-
clude that in the Middle Kimmeridgian some internal parts of
the ADCP subsided and became connected with the open ba-
sin, thus forming an intraplatform trough with pelagic deposi-
tion (Bz-2 Unit). Comparing the composition of these pelagic
sequences from the various ADCP localities, the existence of
two main intraplatform troughs has been supposed (Vlahoviæ
et al. 2001). One can be traced from western Croatia (Karlo-
vac region) towards the south and southeast, with typical out-
crops between Mt Svilaja and Mt Kozjak (the Leme beds),
while the other occupies the central part of the Mt Velika Ka-
pela area. They differ from each other by the more pro-
nounced pelagic influences in the Leme Trough. The typical
Leme beds are composed of light-coloured, platy limestones
with ammonites, radiolarians, and sponge spicules, alternating
with chert beds. Contrary to that, in the Mt Velika Kapela
area, there occur medium- to thick-bedded dark limestones
with sporadic chert intercalations and nodules and much rarer
pelagic fauna. It can be assumed that the Leme depositional
area was very similar to the recent Bahamas Tongue of the
Ocean, as it has been envisaged by Bosellini et al. (1981) for
the Belluno Trough in the Venetian Alps (Italy). Since the
majority of allochthonous bioclastic layers within the Bz-3
Unit consist of hydrozoan, molluscan, and echinoderm bio-
clasts, a contemporaneous peri-reefal environment must have
existed at the margin of the Mt Kapela Trough. Disturbed by
periodic storms, peri-reefal debris was displaced down the
slope, sweeping up the deeper living echinoderms (crinoids),
to be deposited in the elongated lagoon or intraplatform
trough. Successively repeated, this process progressively
filled up the lagoon and, consequently, in the Late Tithonian,
peri-reefal and shallow subtidal to peritidal environment
capped the former deeper-water lagoon area (Bz-4 Unit).
Contrary to the intraplatform origin of the Upper Jurassic
pelagic-influenced deposits, Herak (1986, 1989) has sup-
posed the existence, throughout the Mesozoic, of a temporally
and spatially continuous labile interplatform pelagic belt (the
Epiadriaticum), connecting the Budva Zone (Montenegro)
with the Tolmin Zone (Slovenia) and separating two indepen-
dent carbonate platforms; the Adriaticum and the Dinaricum.
However, the origin of the Upper Jurassic pelagic-influenced
deposits is still controversial and a common topic of heated
debate (see Dragièeviæ & Veliæ 2001).
Upper Jurassic synsedimentary tectonics also played a ma-
jor role in the evolution of the northeastern margin of the
ADCP. Thus, the Soice succession is only the last episode of
the extensive platform subsidence (controlled by normal
faults?) and drowning. In the Mt umberak area, where the
Soice locality is situated, during the LiassicValanginian, the
ADCP-basin margin was gradually shifting towards the south-
west, as a consequence of regional, large-scale tectonic move-
ments. During the Jurassic, the basinal area increased and
spread over the drowned part of the ADCP (Babiæ 1976).
These events mark the disintegration phase of the platform,
starting from the Early Jurassic, as was already assumed by
some earlier researchers (e.g. Guiæ 1969; Guiæ & Babiæ
1970; Jelaska 1973; Babiæ 1976). The platform disintegration
occurred as a consequence of larger and complex global geo-
tectonical movements (break-up of Pangea), which had com-
menced both along the northeastern margin of the large Dinar-
ic-Apulian platform and inside its interior, culminating in
crustal separation and the opening of the Dinaric branch of the
Tethys and the Mid Adriatic-Ionian intraplatform basin. These
spreading processes took place in the latest Late Triassic and
more pronouncealy at the beginning of the Early Jurassic.
With this, the ADCP formed a part of an extensive carbonate
platform system, which fringed the gradually opening Dinaric
branch of the Tethys at its northeastern side, and also the
gradually opening Mid Adriatic-Ionian intraplatform basin at
Fig. 9. Schematic sketch showing tectonic control on platform uplift
caused by interplatform extensional tectonic movements (not to
scale) (Chen et al. 2001, modified).
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL EVOLUTION OF THE WESTERN DINARIDES 15
its southwestern side, separating Apulia platform
from ADCP (Marcoux et al. 1993; Zappaterra
1994; Pamiæ et al. 1998; Grandiæ et al. 1999). As
the Soice locality was positioned in the vicinity
of the northeastern platform margin affected by
the spreading processes, it was subjected to
block-faulting, which resulted in changing of the
sedimentary environments during the Jurassic.
Thus, in the Early Liassic the Soice locality ex-
perienced the platform subtidal environment, in
the Middle Liassic, platform margin environ-
ment, during the Late Liassic-Late Dogger, plat-
form slope environment, in the Early Malm, bot-
tom of the platform slope environment
(toe-of-slope), and, finally, in the Late Malm, the
basin environment (Buckoviæ 1998).
Chen et al. (2001) showed how such rapid
subsidence of platform margin, controlled by
faults, can be accompanied by the relative uplift
of the platform interior, resulting in an increase
of the accommodation space in the platform
margin, but a decrease of accommodation space
on the platform interior. The exposure zones on
the platform may therefore temporally corre-
spond to deepening in the platform margin. This
situation, with contrasting between the platforms
and their margins is the result of interplatform
extensional tectonic movements. Thus, if we
take into account the subsidence and drowning of
the northeastern ADCP margin, we assume that
an extensive contemporaneous tectonic uplift
took place in the southern ADCP area (Fig. 9).
Presumably, as the ADCP-basin margin, that
is barrier reef complex and series of small is-
lands, gradually shifted its position towards the
southwest as a consequence of extensional
block-faulting (Fig. 10ac), the investigated
ADCP interior realm became more and more
strongly affected by these movements, resulting
in very slight gradual uplift and, consequently, a
continuous regression trend at Jazvina (clearly
observed from Jz-1 to Jz-5 Unit) and, especially,
in the wider Rovinj area, where it culminated
with the Middle Kimmeridgian emersion
We also suppose that the partial ADCP interi-
or uplifts were contemporaneous to the Middle
Kimmeridgian subsidence in the Mt Velika Ka-
pela, Mt Svilaja, and Mt Kozjak, where the large
intra-ADCP troughs with pelagic-influenced
carbonate deposition were formed (Bz-2 Unit
and the Leme beds). Therefore, during the Late
Kimmeridgian, when a global eustatic sea-level
fall is documented (Haq et al. 1988), the deeper-
water pelagic-influenced carbonates were depos-
ited in some ADCP areas, indicating that plat-
Fig. 10. Schematic reconstructions of the investigated area (not to scale). J
OxfordianLower Kimmeridgian; J
Kimmeridgian-Lower Tithonian; J
Upper Tithonian. a) Beginning of the
Kimmeridgian: block-faulting processes operate still rather far from the broader
Rovinj and Jazvina area, thus causing there only slight tilting which produced
gradual regression (Lim and Muèa Units, Jz-1, -3 Units). b) Late Kimmeridgian:
block-faulting processes advanced towards the southwest, thus simultaneously
causing extensive uplift and emersion in the broader Rovinj area (Rovinj Breccia
Unit), but also, subsidence and deeper-water sedimentation in the broader Breze
area (Bz-2, 3 Units). At Jazvina, regression continued (Jz-4 Unit). c) End of the
Tithonian: block-faulting processes came to an end and weakened uplift in the
broader Rovinj area. Autocyclic and allocyclic processes prevailed, causing gradu-
al levelling of the platform relief. Thus, shallow-water platform sedimentation was
re-established in the Rovinj (Kirmenjak Unit) and Breze (Bz-4 Unit) areas.
form margin synsedimentary tectonics also affected the
ADCP interior. The Late Tithonian shallow-water deposits
(Bz-4 Unit) overlying the deeper-water carbonates (Bz-2, -3
Units) and the emersion horizon in the Rovinj area (Kirmen-
jak Unit) are evidence that the formerly differentiated mor-
phology of the platform was levelled (Fig. 10c). As the open-
ing of the Dinaric branch of the Tethys Ocean stopped during
the Late JurassicEarly Cretaceous and when its closure be-
16 BUCKOVIÆ, CVETKO TEOVIÆ and GUIÆ
gan (Fourcade et al. 1993; Pamiæ et al. 1998), we suppose that
this event also stopped further subsidence and drowning at the
northeastern ADCP margin and uplift in the Jazvina and
Rovinj area. Thus, autocyclic and allocyclic processes began
to prevail. Due to the slight subsidence rate combined with
global eustatic sea-level rise (Haq et al. 1988) and/or synsedi-
mentary tectonics (tangential folding and faulting and normal
block faulting were widespread processes in the Late Jurassic
Tethyan Realm Dercourt et al. 1993), the Rovinj area was
drowned at the beginning of the Late Tithonian, whereas the
Leme and Velika Kapela Trough were fully covered by the
progradation of the marginal peri-reefal environments. Thus,
the shallow water platform sedimentation was re-established
over the whole western Dinaric part of the ADCP (Fig. 10c).
Afterwards, more or less uniform shallow-water conditions,
without any further major synsedimentary tectonic disturbanc-
es, continued into the Berriasian over the whole ADCP area.
Upper Jurassic synsedimentary tectonic movements clearly
recognized on the ADCP by many earlier researchers were
probably reflexions of the Late Jurassic phase of the Alpine
tectonic cycle, although inside the ADCP no orogenic move-
ments occurred during that time. There are no traces of thrust-
ing or nappe movements, extensive volcanism or metamor-
phism. Furthermore, there are no angular unconformities to be
found; the continuity of sedimentation being disturbed only
by periodical emersions. However, synsedimentary tectonics
created the paleogeography of the Upper Jurassic ADCP, pro-
ducing the environmental differentiation and thus consider-
ably influencing the sedimentation.
The opening of the Dinaric branch of the Tethys and the thus
induced block-faulting at the northeastern ADCP margin proba-
bly caused uplift and subsidence within the investigated Late
Jurassic inner ADCP realm, which led to more or less drastic
changes of sedimentary conditions. These synsedimentary tec-
tonic movements produced changes in accommodation space,
triggering indirectly the autocyclic processes which, partly in
interaction with Milankovitch high-frequency sea-level fluctua-
tions, produced various types of sedimentary environments and
signatures within the investigated ADCP realm.
In the Jazvina and Rovinj areas, during the Oxfordian
through the Early Kimmeridgian, regressive sedimentary
events took place; in the Jazvina area from low-energy lagoon
to shallow subtidal and at Rovinj area from shallow subtidal
to oolite shoals. Contrary to these areas, during the same time
in the Breze area, sedimentary events were of the opposite
character and sedimentary environments shifted from low-en-
ergy lagoon to deeper-water intraplatform lagoon (trough).
In the Rovinj area, regressive trend culminated with an em-
ersion lasting through the Middle-Late Kimmeridgian and
Early Tithonian, while in the Jazvina area, shallow-water en-
vironments persisted and periodically changed from shallow
subtidal to intertidal-supratidal and oolite shoals. In the Breze
area, at the same time, sedimentation in an intraplatform
In the Late Tithonian, the transgression drowned the Rovinj
area; hence shallow-water sedimentation was re-established
and took place in environments ranging from shallow subtidal
to supratidal and vadose zone. The same sedimentary events
also characterized the Jazvina area at that time. In the Breze
area, during the Early Tithonian, peri-reefal deposits infilled
and capped the earlier intraplatform lagoon, so at the begin-
ning of the Late Tithonian shallow-water sedimentation was
re-established in the Breze area.
The block-faulting on the northeastern ADCP margin
played a major role in the development of the Soice early
Upper Jurassic toe-of-slope environment, afterwards progress-
ing into a late Upper Jurassic basinal depositional environ-
Due to the complex neotectonic overprint, these larger-
scale movements on the northeastern ADCP margin, as well
as their intraplatform synsedimentary reflexions, are hard to
document with direct field evidence.
Acknowledgement: This paper is a contribution to the
Project No. 119306 supported by the Ministry of Science of
the Republic of Croatia. We thank two anonymous referees
and Professor André Strasser for reviewing the manuscript
and giving justified criticism and constructive and valuble
suggestions which essentially improved the paper. Prof. Jakob
Pamiæ is thanked for his comments.
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