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Provenance of the Upper Miocene clastic material in the

southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin


Croatian Geological Survey, Sachsova 2, P.O. Box 268, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia;;

(Manuscript received July 20, 2005; accepted in revised form March 16, 2006)

Abstract: Upper Miocene clastic material in the SW part of the Pannonian Basin originates from two clearly different
source areas. The mineralogy and texture of the detritus of the older part of the deposits (Croatica, Ozalj and Medvedski
Breg units) are immature. These sediments originated from intense mechanical weathering of the hinterland. Detrital
composition varies greatly and clearly reflects the composition of the source rocks. The mineralogy and texture of the
detritus of younger deposits (Andraševec, Hum Zabočki, Cernik and Pluska units) are relatively mature, showing a
uniform composition in the entire study area. The sediments were generated by weathering of various sources, mainly
siliciclastic sediments and metamorphic rocks, and to a lesser degree, basic and ultrabasic magmatic rocks. The compo-
sition of the main detrital modes of the arenites and paleotransport measurements suggest that the source rocks were part
of an orogenic belt located to the NW, W and NE of the studied area, namely the Eastern Alps and Carpathians. On the
SW edge of the Pannonian Basin, in the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt Žumberak area, at the contact between the Upper
Miocene and Pliocene deposits, a gradual change of the heavy mineral assemblage was determined. This change could
be linked with structural changes in the Alpine-Carpathian orogen when rocks from deeper parts were brought to the
surface, or with a rearrangement of source areas within the orogen area. Towards the east, in the area of the Slavonian
Mts, sands in the Upper Miocene and lowest part of Pliocene deposits do not show similar changes, and probably belong
to a separate clastic system, which, contemporaneously prograded towards the south.

Key words: Upper Miocene, Pannonian Basin, framework petrography, paleotransport, heavy mineral analysis,
provenance of clastic material.


The Pannonian Basin, surrounded by the Alps, Car-
pathians and Dinarides, paleogeographically belongs to
the area of the Central Paratethys (Fig. 1A).  Its  formation
commenced in the Early Miocene, due to continental col-
lision and subduction of the European Plate under the
Apulian Plate (Royden 1988; Tari et al. 1992; Horváth
1995; Kováč et al. 1998). At the end of the Middle Mi-
ocene, the Pannonian Basin became isolated from the for-
merly marine Paratethys, which resulted in the formation
of a brackish Lake Pannon (Rögl & Steininger 1983; Rögl
1998; Magyar et al. 1999). During the Late Miocene, as a
result of prograding clastic systems, Lake Pannon experi-
enced a large-scale reduction in size and a relevant expan-
sion of terrestrial areas (Rögl & Steininger 1983; Magyar
et al. 1999; Kovačić et al. 2004). The direction of progra-
dation of the clastic systems and their composition in the
NW, middle and E part of the Pannonian Basin point to an
Alpine-Carpathian provenance of the major amount of de-
tritus (Mattick et al. 1988; Juhász 1991; Juhász & Magyar
1992; Magyar et al. 1999; Thamó-Boszó & Juhász 2002).

The composition and provenance of clastic material fill-

ing the SW part of the Pannonian Basin during Late Mi-
ocene times has not yet been studied in detail. The
provenance of the clastic material could be related to large
mountain chains, such as the Dinarides, representing the
closest highly uplifted area to the southern margin of the

basin during the Late Miocene, as well as to the more dis-
tant Alps and Carpathians or to the islands within the ba-
sin itself (Fig. 1A,B). Vertical changes in composition
obtained for the Sava Depression arenites show that grani-
toid source rocks were substituted by metamorphic rocks,
limestones and cherts at the Early/Late Pannonian bound-
ary (Šćavničar 1979). The composition of Upper Miocene
sands of the Ilova Depression (Fig. 1B) suggests a prove-
nance linked to the dismantling of local uplifted magmat-
ic and metamorphic blocks within the basin. Vertical
changes in composition are the result of climatic changes
and changes in source rocks (Blašković 1982). The com-
position of Pontian sands in Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt
Kalnik, on the other hand, shows that the sources were
mostly of metamorphic and sedimentary type. The unifor-
mity of their composition suggests that the source area of
the detritus was a large mountain massif, most probably
the Alps (Šimunić & Šimunić 1987).

Reconstruction of the provenance and composition of the

source rocks for clastic material is a complex problem. It
can be solved correctly only by integrating data of petro-
graphic sediment composition and paleotransport measure-
ments. The composition of source rocks primarily depends
on the geotectonic position of the source area (Dickinson &
Valloni 1980; Dickinson et al. 1983; Dickinson 1985; Val-
loni 1985). However, when reconstructing provenance, one
must also consider factors such as physical and chemical
weathering, relief, length and type of transport as well as cli-

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mate. All these factors can change the composition of the
material at the location of weathering, as well as during
transport and sedimentation (Basu 1985; Morton &
Hallsworth 1994, 1999). Therefore, the objective of this
paper is to reconstruct the provenance and composition of
the source rocks for the clastic material that was filling the
SW part of the Pannonian Basin during the Late Miocene,
by synthesizing data from petrographic analysis of gravel
and sand, and data from the paleotransport analysis in the
sedimentary basin. Research was performed on outcrops in
Hrvatsko Zagorje including Mt Medvednica, in Mt Žum-
berak and Slavonian Mts (Fig. 1B).

Geological setting

The Miocene deposits of the SW part of the Pannonian

Basin unconformably overlie a strongly tectonized Paleo-
zoic-Mesozoic-Paleogene basement (Fig. 2A,B and C) con-
sisting of various magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary

rocks, belonging to the northern margin of the In-
ner Dinarides, and to the Tisza block (Šikić et al.
1979; Šparica et al. 1980; Basch 1983; Jamičić et
al. 1986; Korolija & Jamičić 1989; Herak et al.
1990; Šikić 1995a; Pamić 1998). The Early Mi-
ocene to Middle Badenian syn-rift phase of the
basin formation was well marked by strong tecton-
ic and volcanic activities and by the deposition of
different clastic and carbonate sediments (Horváth
& Royden 1981; Royden 1988; Pavelić 2001).
The post-rift phase started in the Upper Badenian
and was characterized by subsidence due to litho-
sphere cooling with occasional inversions of the
basin caused by tectonics (Horváth & Royden
1981; Royden 1988; Pavelić 2001).

At the end of the Middle Miocene (Late Sarma-

tian) a tectonic compaction was recorded in the
SW part of the Pannonian Basin, mainly linked to
intra-plate stress, to uplifting of tectonic blocks
and to the narrowing of sedimentary accommoda-
tion space (Horváth 1995; Kováč et al. 1997,
1998; Fodor et al. 1999; Tomljenović & Csontos
2001). Contemporaneously, connection between
the Pannonian Basin and the Mediterranean was
closing, and Lake Pannon was formed as a sepa-
rate depositional area with low salinity (Stein-
inger et al. 1988; Rögl 1996). At the beginning of
the Pannonian, during a period of low tectonic ac-
tivity, mostly limestones and marls were deposit-
ed. Rising of the water level in the lake during the
Pannonian caused the flooding of tectonic blocks
uplifted at the end of the Sarmatian and the depo-
sition of coarse-grained clastic sediments in coast-
al lacustrine areas. Gradual infilling of Lake
Pannon initiated with the progradation of clastic
deltaic systems from the north. In Hrvatsko Zagor-
je it started already in the Pannonian, on Mt Žum-
berak at the beginning of Pontian, and in the
Slavonian Mts in Late Pontian (Magyar et al.

1999; Kovačić 2004; Kovačić et al. 2004). The prograda-
tion of clastic systems, shallowing and finally infilling of
the basin was probably caused by deceleration of basin sub-
sidence. Subsidence was slowed down by forming a balance
in a late stage of the post-rift phase of basin formation. At
the end of the Miocene, during the Pliocene, and intensive-
ly in the Quaternary, a new compressional phase took place
in the evolution of the Pannonian Basin, in which by inver-
sion of inherited normal faults, counterclockwise (CCW) ro-
tation and lifting of individual blocks, recent uplifted areas
of the SW part of the Pannonian Basin were formed (Jamičić
1995; Horváth & Cloetingh 1996; Prelogović et al. 1998;
Tomljenović & Csontos 2001; Márton et al. 2002).

Description and relationship between the different


On the basis of lithological and paleontological charac-

teristics, the Upper Miocene deposits of the SW Pannonian

Fig. 1. A – Sketch of the Pannonian Basin and its surroundings (after Royden
1988). The area framed is shown in B. B – South-western part of the Pannon-
ian Basin with the location of the study areas.

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Basin are commonly subdivided into (a) Croatica- and Ba-
natica-beds (Lower to Upper Pannonian), and (b) Abichi-
and Rhomboidea-beds (Lower to Upper Pontian) (Sokač
1972; Kranjec et al. 1973) (Fig. 3). The Pliocene deposits

Fig. 2. Geological sketch-maps of: A  – Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt Medvednica,
B – Mt Žumberak, C – Slavonian Mts. 1 – Pre-Neogene rocks, 2 – Neogene
rocks older than Sarmatian, 3 – Sarmatian, Pannonian and Pontian deposits,
4 – Pliocene and Pliocene-Quaternary deposits, 5 – Quaternary deposits,
6 – normal boundary, 7 – transgressive boundary, 8 – fault, 9 – nappe,
10 – locations of measured sections, sampling and paleotransport measure-
ments. From unpublished Geological Map of the Republic of Croatia 1 : 300,000.

are also known as Paludina-beds. This subdivision
of Upper Miocene and Pliocene sediments, not yet
chronostratigraphically confirmed, is based on a
vertical change of endemic fauna.

In this paper, the Upper Miocene deposits are

divided into the following five informal lithos-
tratigraphic units, from bottom to top: Croatica,
Medvedski Breg, Ozalj, Andraševec and Hum
Zabočki units. The boundaries between the new-
ly defined lithostratigraphic units and the previ-
ous units do not coincide. Their correlation is
shown in Fig. 4.

In the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Žumberak area,

the Hum Zabočki unit is followed by the Pluska
unit assigned to the Pliocene, with the exception
of its lower part, doubtedly referred to the Mi-
ocene (Fig. 4A,B,E). The deposits of the Pluska
unit are thought to be of Pliocene—Quaternary
age (Fig. 2A and B) (Šikić et al. 1979; Basch
1983). In the Slavonian Mts area, the Hum
Zabočki unit is followed by the Cernik unit
(Fig. 4F) which could correspond to the Pliocene
Paludina-beds (Figs. 2C and 3).

The  Croatica unit

 (Cro unit)  (20 to 40 m

thick) has been assigned to the Early Pannonian
in the Hrvatsko Zagorje, Mt Medvednica and
Slavonian Mts areas (Fig. 4A—D and F). It con-
sists of thin-bedded clayey limestones and marls
with rare intervals of massive marls and sands,
deposited in a shallow-water lake environment
with low salinity (summarized in Kovačić 2004).
The contact with the underlying Sarmatian de-
posits is mostly sharp and conformable, whereas
this unit grades upwards into marls of the
Medvedski Breg unit and rarely into the clastic
deposits of the Ozalj and/or Andraševec units.

The Medvedski Breg unit

 (MeB unit) (Low-

er Pannonian—Upper Pontian, Fig. 4B—F),  about
120 to 160 m thick, is widespread in the studied
area and mainly consists of massive marls depos-
ited in a deep-water brackish environment (sum-
marized in Kovačić 2004). Within these marls
there are rare occurrences of sand-gravel depos-
its. This unit conformably overlies the Croatica
and Ozalj units (Hrvatsko Zagorje and Slavonian
Mts Area), or Sarmatian deposits (Mt Žumberak)
(Fig. 4B—F). It is conformably overlain by the
Andraševec  unit.

The Ozalj unit

 (Oza unit) (Žumberak and

Medvednica Mts; 1 to 90 m thick and Early and
Middle Pannonian in age) consists of medium- to
coarse-grained clastic sediments deposited in a
nearshore lacustrine, river or distribution channel
environment (summarized in Kovačić 2004). This
unit disconformable rests on Middle Miocene and

older deposits or occurs as a lateral equivalent of the Cro
unit and lower part of the MeB unit (Fig. 4B,D,E).

The Andraševec unit

 (And unit) deposited over the en-

tire studied area, shows the largest stratigraphic span

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(Lower Pannonian—Upper Pontian), ranging in thickness
between 10—40 m (Slavonian Mts) and 600 m (Hrvatsko
Zagorje area; Fig. 4). It consists of an alternation of sand
beds, silts and silty marls deposited in a prodelta—deltaic
slope lacustrine environment (Kovačić 2004; Kovačić et
al. 2004). It is conformable with the underlying MeB and
Cro units, and the overlying Hum Zabočki unit (Fig. 4).

The Hum Zabočki unit

 (HZb unit) is widespread in the

entire study area, is assigned to the Late Pontian and its
thickness varies from 5 m in the Slavonian Mts area to
160 m in the eastern part of the Hrvatsko Zagorje area
(Fig. 4). It consists of an alternation of sand beds and silts
deposited in a delta front in the shallow brackish lacus-
trine environment (Kovačić 2004; Kovačić et al. 2004).
This unit is conformable with the underlying And unit and
the overlying Pluska and Cernik units.

The Pluska unit

 (Plu unit)  (Pontian-Pliocene), detected

in the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt Žumberak, consists of
clay, silt and sands with layers and lenses of gravel and
coal, deposited in a river or distribution channel, flood
plain, coastal lagoon and swamp environment (summa-
rized in Kovačić 2004). This unit conformably overlies
the HZb unit. Upper boundary and unit thickness are not
defined (Fig. 4B,C,E).

The Cernik unit

 (Cer unit) (Early Pliocene) crops out in

the Slavonian Mts area overlying the HZb unit (Fig. 4F). It
consists of clay, silt and sand deposits with layers and
lenses of gravel similar to those of the Plu unit, but with
different composition. Deposition took place in a fresh

water lacustrine environment, in deltas and on alluvial
plains (summarized in Kovačić 2004).

Sampling and methods

During fieldwork, 42 geological sections were investi-

gated. On the basis of geological mapping, facies analysis,
and environmental interpretation, the vertical position
and lateral correlation of sections were reconstructed.
These relationships were used in the construction of the
schematic geological sections and the definition of the in-
formal lithostratigraphic units of the Upper Miocene de-
posits (Fig. 4). Erosion channel axes and current ripple
lamination were measured to determine the sediment pale-
otransport direction in the depositional basin.

Samples for petrographic analysis of clastic sediments

were collected in order to cover all the studied areas as
well as the entire time span of all the Upper Miocene de-
posits. The compositions of gravel, conglomerate pebbles
and sandstones were determined by means of analysis of
40 thin sections using a polarization microscope. Com-
position of the unconsolidated sand-silt sediments was
performed in the 0.09—0.16 mm carbonate-free fraction.
Heavy and light mineral fractions (HMF and LMF, re-
spectively), were obtained using bromoform (CHBr



= 2.84 g · cm



Qualitative and quantitative analysis of HMF and LMF

compositions were performed by determination of 300—400
grains per sample using the ribbon counting method
(Menge & Maurer 1992). Opaque minerals were deter-
mined in reflected light.

Finally, the LMF of 28 samples of sands, selected to rep-

resent all the three studied areas, were analysed according
to the Dickinson’s (1985) criteria in order to obtain the
QtFL, and QmFLt (Total Quartz-Feldspars-Lithic Fragments,
Monocrystalline Quartz-Feldspars-Total Lithic Fragments,


Ozalj, Croatica and  Medvedski Breg units

Clastic sediments of the Oza, Cro and MeB units are me-

dium- to coarse-grained and poorly sorted. In the studied
area their composition varies, from siliciclastic to mixed
carbonate-siliciclastic as well as to mainly carbonate.

Conglomerates and gravels

On the SW slopes of Mt Medvednica (Kos-I and Dbr-I

sections in Fig. 2A and Fig. 4D), the Ozalj and MeB units
gravels (1—2 cm average size with a maximum of 8 cm) are
represented by pebbles of quartzites, green schists, sand-
stones and volcanic rocks. Carbonate pebbles, less repre-
sented, are composed mostly of biocalcarenites or mollusc
fragments. On the N slopes of Mt Medvednica, in the SW
part of Hrvatsko Zagorje (SMt-I on Fig. 2A and Fig. 4B),

Fig. 3. Chronostratigraphic correlation between Mediterranean
and Central Paratethys during Late Miocene (after Rögl 1996),
with the subdivisions traditionally used in the SW Pannonian Ba-
sin (after Sokač 1972; Kranjec et al. 1973; Šikić et al. 1979; etc.).

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Fig. 4.  Schematic geological sections of the Late Miocene deposits with informal lithostratigraphic units of A – Central Hrvatsko Zagorje, B  – SW Hrvatsko Zagorje, C – E Hrvatsko
Zagorje, D – S Mt Medvednica, E – Mt Žumberak and F – Slavonian Mts. Tentative locations of measured sections, sampling and paleotransport measurements are given on the right side
of sections.

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the Oza unit gravels are coarse-grained and poorly sorted.
The most common pebble lithotypes are shales, chert, sand-
stones and siltstones, while bioclastic limestones are rare.

The conglomerates and gravels of the Oza and MeB

units cropping out on Mt Žumberak (Oza-I and Top-II on
Fig. 2B and Fig. 4E) are composed of 0.5—3 cm sized peb-
bles (maximum 35 cm), mainly represented by recrystal-
lized micrite, microsparite and sparite limestones and
often dolomites. Pebbles of other types of rock (quartzite,
chert) are rare.

Sands and sandstones

The modal composition of sands (Tables 1, 2 and Fig. 5)

and sandstones corresponds to the litharenites.


 on the SW slopes of Mt Medvednica (Kos-I,

Dbr-I, Bor and Bol sections on Fig. 2A and Fig. 4D) are
characterized by a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic composi-
tion. The carbonate fragments are mostly redeposited Bad-
enian fossil fragments of red algae, bryozoans, echinoids,
mollusks and foraminifers. The siliciclastic material con-
sists mostly of quartz with undulatory extinction and
quartzite fragments. There are smaller amounts of quartz
grains with uniform extinction, epimetamorphic and vol-
canic rock fragments, feldspars, chert and siltstones. The
sandstones on the Mt Žumberak have a similar composi-
tion to the conglomerates and gravels of the same area, but
they also partially contain redeposited carbonate frag-
ments of Badenian age-red algae, foraminifers and corals.


of the Oza unit (SW slopes of Mt Medvednica)

are characterized by a distinct domination of epidote in a

Fig. 5. Modal composition of siliciclastic material of the sands com-
pared within Pettijohn et al. (1987) sandstone classification.

composition of translucent heavy minerals (THM) (group
A in Table1). In the light mineral fraction (LMF) sub-an-
gular to sub-rounded quartz grains, usually with undula-
tory extinction and low-rank metamorphic rock fragments
(quartz-chlorite schists, quartz-sericite schists) are domi-
nant. Feldspars appear mostly in very altered grains.

The largest amount of the sands in the Oza unit in Mt

Žumberak (Oza-I 3/2 and Oza-I 6/1 in group B in Table 1)
is characterized by a predominance of opaque minerals in
the HMF and dominance of ultra stable minerals (zircon,
rutile, tourmaline) in the THM. A part of the unit (Sla 3/4
in group C in Table 1) is characterized by an abundance of
dolomite in the HMF. Zircon is present as either very
rounded grains or grains with no signs of rounding. Rutile
is mostly well rounded, and tourmaline less rounded. The
LMF in the sands consists of well rounded ultra-stable
fragments like quartz, quartzite and chert. In the sand of
the MeB unit rock fragments prevail, with fragments most
commonly of devitrified volcanic glass and tuff. The con-
tent of the HMF of these sands is very similar to that of the
sands in the Oza unit (B in Table 1), except that MeB unit
sands also contain idiomorphic fresh biotite (Top-II 3/1
and Top-II 6/4 in group B in Table 1).

In the Slavonian Mts area (D-5 in Fig. 2C and Fig. 4F)

within limestones of the Cro unit a layer of coarse-grained
poorly sorted limy sand was determined. The sand consists
of redeposited carbonate fossil fragments of Badenian age,
represented by fragments of red algae, echinoids bryozo-
ans and benthic foraminifers.

Andraševec,  Hum Zabočki, Pluska and Cernik units

The clastites of the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units consist

mostly of medium- to coarse-grained well-sorted sands,
rarely cemented, while gravels are very rare. The main
characteristics of the detritus of the units are a dominance
of siliciclastic fragments ( > 90 %) and the uniformity of
composition throughout the whole studied area during a
longer period of time. Fragments of fossils and dolomite,
the most frequent carbonate components of detritus, are
rare. The modal composition of the sands (Fig. 5) and
sandstones corresponds to the sublitharenites and subar-
kose groups. Monocrystaline quartz grains with undulato-
ry extinction and rock fragments are abundant (Table 1);
the last being mainly represented by polycrystalline quartz
(Table 2). The content of muscovite varies significantly,
while feldspar and unstable rock fragments are rare (Ta-
bles 1, 2).

The gravels consist of well-rounded pebbles of quartzite

and chert with a maximum size of 2 cm.

Heavy and light minerals associations

On the basis of characteristics of the HMF assemblage,

the sands of the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units are classified
into 4 groups (C, D, E and F in Table 1).

Group C (Lower Pontian sands of the And unit, Mt Žum-

berak, Table 1) shows a heavy mineral assemblage very
similar to that of the Oza unit.

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Table 1:  Modal composition of the heavy and light mineral fractions (0.09—0.16 mm) of siliciclastic material of Upper Miocene sands
from the SW part of the Pannonian Basin. Abbreviations: op – opaque min., ch – chlorite, b – biotite, do – dolomite, thm – translu-
cent heavy minerals, tu – tourmaline, zr – zircon, rt – rutile, am – amphibole, ep – epidote, g – garnet, ky – kyanite, st – stauro-
lite,  oth – other translucent heavy minerals, q – quartz, f  – feldspar, l – lithic fragments, ms – muscovite, + – minerals with
occurrence  < 1 %. For Age and Unit see Fig. 4.   Continued on the next page.

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Group D comprises the sands of the Cer unit, of the larg-

est portion of the And and HZb units and of a smaller part of
the Plu unit (Table 1), ranging between Upper Pannonian
and Pliocene. The main characteristic of these sands is the
dominance of garnet and epidote and the significant occur-
rence of staurolite, tourmaline, amphiboles, kyanite and
rutile within the THM. Other significant minerals in the
HMF are opaque minerals (magnetite, chromite, limonite),
chlorite and dolomite. The chemical composition of the
largest part of the garnets is closest to almandine and, sub-
ordinately to grossular (Kovačić 2004). Rutile is well
rounded, tourmaline less rounded. The major part of the am-
phiboles, according to their chemical composition, belongs
to the hornblende group (tschermakite, Mg-hornblende),
while actinolite, pargasite and magnesiocatoforite are very
rare (Kovačić 2004). In the LMF the most abundant is
quartz, followed by rock fragments, feldspars and musco-
vite. Quartz grains are mostly semi-angular rarely well
rounded or not rounded at all. Grains with low undulatory
extinction prevail. Grains with homogeneous extinction are
rare and those with distinct undulatory extinction are very
rare. Quartzite type fragments are the most abundant rock
fragments. Fragments of chert are numerous, with radiolari-

Table 1:  Continued.

an fragments clearly still visible in some fragments. Unsta-
ble rocks like shales, quartz-chlorites, quartz-sericite slates
and fragments like slate-phyllites are rare. Fragments with
considerably altered ophiolite and vitrophyre structure,
probably belonging to diabase-spilite rocks, are very rare
as well as quartz-feldspar fragments (granitoid and/or
gneissic rocks) and fine-grained sandstone and siltstone
fragments. Feldspar grains, usually not well preserved, are
mainly represented by orthoclase, while microcline and
polysynthetically twinned plagioclase are rare.

Group E comprises a smaller part of the Upper Pontian-

Pliocene sands of the HZb and Plu units cropping out in
the Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt Žumberak areas (Table 1).
According to their characteristics, these deposits represent
a transition between those of groups D and F. This group
is in fact characterized by the abundance of epidote and
staurolite, by the significant occurrence of tourmaline,
rutile and kyanite and by the absence of garnets within the
THM fraction. The composition and characteristics of the
fragments of its LMF are very similar to those of the group D.

Group F consists of a larger part of the Upper Miocene—

Pliocene sands in the Plu unit in Hrvatsko Zagorje and Mt
Žumberak (Table 1). This group is characterized by the

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Table 2:  Modal composition of the light fraction (0.09—0.16 mm) of sands from the Oza, MeB, And, HZb, Plu and Cer units. Results
are recalculated on 100 %. Abbreviations: Qm – monocrystalline quartz, Qp – polycrystalline quartz, Qt  – total quartz grains
(Qm + Qp), F – feldspar fragments, L – unstable lithic fragments, Lt – total lithic fragments (Qp + L). Other abbreviations as in Fig. 4.

abundance of a staurolite—kyanite—tourmaline—rutile min-
eral association (about 90 % in average of the THM frac-
tion). The LMF fraction is represented mostly by quartz,
and subordinately, by low amounts of rock fragments,
feldspar and muscovite.


Due to an often poor outcrop quality of the Upper Mi-

ocene deposits in the studied area a reconstruction of the
detritus transport direction in the sedimentary basin by
systematic measurements of current ripple lamination and
channel axes was only possible in deposits of the An-
draševec and Hum Zabočki units.

Andraševec (And)

Measurements of the cross-lamination direction in Hr-

vatsko Zagorje (Fig. 6A—E), southern slope of Mt Medved-
nica (Fig. 6F) and northern slope of Mt Krndija in Slavonija
(Fig. 6G), show a main paleocurrent direction from the NW,
N and NE, partially according to the WNW paleotransport
direction determined in the same deposits in Hrvatsko
Zagorje on the basis of flute casts by Kovačić et al. (2004).

Hum Zabočki (HZb)

The position of the distributary channel axes in the del-

ta front in Hrvatsko Zagorje (VV on Figs. 2A and 4C)
shows a NNE—SSW paleotransport direction similar to the
current ripple lamination measurements performed in
Slavonija on Mt Dilj and indicating a direction towards
the SSW (Fig. 6K,L). These data also coincide with detri-
tus transport towards the S obtained by the cross-bedding
position in the Gilbert-type delta foreset in the Miocene
deposits on Mt Dilj (Pavelić 2001). Current ripple lamina-
tion measurements in Hrvatsko Zagorje (Fig. 6H—J) and
Mt Požega (Fig. 6M) show very different directions of pa-
leotransport, which can be explained as deflection of dis-
tributary channels, or as the impact of waves and currents
in the shallow lacustrine environment.


Composition of source rocks and provenance

Gravel, sandstone and sand analysis show that the clas-

tic material, deposited in the SW part of the Pannonian
Basin, originated from the weathering of different sedi-

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mentary, metamorphic and magmatic rocks of two differ-
ent source areas. Thus, two different petrological provinc-
es can be distinguished, responsible for supplying the
Oza, Cro and MeB unit and the And, HZb, Cer and Plu
unit groups. There are also clastites composed of detritus
from both source areas (group C on Fig. 7).

Ozalj, Croatica and  Medvedski Breg units

The very diverse modal composition of sands (groups A

and B in Table 1) and (also) petrographic composition of
sandstones and gravels, indicate different types of source
rocks for the clastic material of Oza, Cro and MeB units
(province I on Fig. 7).


  Medvednica.  The modal and granulometric compo-

sition of the clastic material of the Oza and MeB units re-
flects its connection with the proximate hinterland. Gravel
in the SW part of Mt Medvednica originates from quartz-
ites, green schists, sandstones, metabasalts and Middle
Miocene bioclastic limestones. All of them probably orig-
inated from rocks whose primary outcrops are exposed in
the SW and central part of Mt Medvednica (Basch 1995;
Šikić 1995b). Quartz with undulatory extinction and frag-
ments of quartz-chlorite and quartz-sericite schists (group
A in Table 1 and in Fig. 7), frequent siliciclastic compo-
nents of sand detritus from the same area, also probably
originated from quartzite and green schists from Mt
Medvednica. Epidote, the most abundant translucent
heavy mineral in the Oza unit on the SW slopes of Mt
Medvednica, probably also originates from widespread
green schists on Mt Medvednica (group A in Table 1). The

roundness of quartz grains and considerable alteration of
feldspars suggest that a part of the sand detritus is derived
from older sandstones also cropping out on Mt Medvedni-
ca. The carbonate fraction of the sand detritus consists of
reworked fossil fragments derived from widespread Mid-
dle Miocene limestones.

The coarse-grained and poorly sorted gravels on the N

side of Mt Medvednica indicate a very local origin. Most
of the material (shales, cherts, sandstones, siltstones) prob-
ably originated from Mesozoic ophiolites, primary out-
crops of which are located on the N slopes of Mt
Medvednica (Basch 1995; Babić et al. 2002; Halamić et
al. 2005). Limestone pebbles probably originated from
Middle Miocene fossiliferous limestones that are wide-
spread on Mt Medvednica.

Mt Žumberak. 

The abundance of very coarse-grained

(up to 35 cm) and poorly sorted, carbonate fragments
within the Oza and MeB units points to a relatively short
transport. The limestone-dolomite composition of the
sandstones, gravels and conglomerates indicates that
most of the material originated from the huge Mesozoic
Adriatic Carbonate Platform (Vlahović et al. 2005). Dur-
ing the Late Miocene, these rocks probably represented
the SW margin of the Pannonian Basin and today they
are the most prevalent rocks on Mt Žumberak (Šikić et al.
1979). Local redeposited fragments of red algae, fora-
minifers and corals in the sandstone composition show
that part of the material originated from the Middle Mi-
ocene bioclastic deposits, also present on Mt Žumberak
(Vrsaljko et al. 2005). The well-rounded quartz grains
and stable rock fragments (chert, quartzite), dominance

Fig. 6. Measured ripple marks in the rose diagrams indicate paleotransport towards S, SE and SW. These opposite directions in the HZb
unit can be explained by reworking of material by waves and streams in the lake.

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of the ultra stable translucent heavy minerals (zircon,
tourmaline, rutile) and their good roundness indicate that
a minor part of the clastic material of the Oza and MeB
units is recycled. This material most probably originated
from older Cretaceous or Paleogene clastites, which are
also present in Mt Žumberak (Šikić et al. 1979). The
presence of devitrified volcanic glass, idiomorphic bi-
otite and zircon crystals in the sands of the MeB unit
shows that a minor amount of detritus probably originat-
ed from the Lower Miocene volcaniclastics from Mt
Žumberak (Šikić et al. 1979). The sandy sediments of the
upper part of the Oza unit and lower part of the And unit
were probably a result of mixing of material from two dif-
ferent sources, because their composition represent a
mixture of both provinces (group C in Table 1 and on
Fig. 7). Most of the material in these deposits consists of
the same limestone-dolomite and siliciclastic detritus as
in the older part of the Oza unit, showing that it was also
composed of the rocks forming Mt Žumberak, and is of
local origin (province I on Fig. 7). A minor amount of
material (epidote—garnet mineral association) originated
from low to high regional metamorphism rocks, which do
not outcrop on Mt Žumberak today, or in its vicinity.
This material was probably transported from remote areas
(province II on Fig. 7).

Slavonian Mts.

 The clastic material of the Cro unit on

Mt Dilj (Fig. 7) is of local origin and consists of poorly
sorted fossil fragments redeposited from Badenian fossilif-
erous limestones.

It may be concluded that clastic material of Oza, Cro

and MeB units is of local origin (province I on Fig. 7). Its
composition varies in different localities and clearly re-
flects the composition of source rocks.

Andraševec,  Hum Zabočki, Pluska and Cernik units

The sandstone composition and LMF of the sands

showed that the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units (province II
in Fig. 7) have a similar composition in the entire studied
area, whereas the Plu unit is characterized by a different
heavy mineral assemblage.

According to these results the sand detritus of the And,

HZb and Cer units is mainly recycled, as testified by the
abundance of fine-grained sandstones and siltstones, high-
ly alterated feldspars and rounded quartz grains and resis-
tant THM.

A subordinate but significant portion of the detritus is

derived from epimetamorphic sources as suggested by (i)
numerous low rank metamorphic rock fragments, (ii) un-
dulatory extinction of the quartz grains and (iii) abun-

Fig. 7. The provenance of clastic material of Upper Miocene deposits in the SW part of the Pannonian Basin constrains from framework
petrography and heavy mineral analysis. Provenance I represents clastic material of the Cro, Oza and MeB units developed by erosion
of local uplifted blocks. Provenance II represents clastic material of the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units developed by erosion of distant
mountains located NW, N and NE from the deposition areas.

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dance of epidote, chlorite, acid plagioclase and amphibole,
very typical mineral assemblage of the green schists and
epidote-amphibolite facies. Assemblage of the metamor-
phic index minerals, like chlorite, garnet, staurolite and
kyanite suggests that paraschists of the Barow type meta-
morphism participated in the composition of the source
area. The small amount of quartz with uniform extinction
and fragments of quartz-feldspars indicates that acid mag-
matic rocks probably did not have significant portion in the
composition of source rocks. The content of basic, ultraba-
sic and carbonate rocks, could not be estimated because of
the chemical instability of their compounds in conditions
of a moist and warm climate, as existed during the Late Mi-
ocene in the Pannonian Basin area (Pantić 1986; Pland-
erová et al. 1993). However, the presence of chromite,
magnetite, magnesiocatoforite and fragments of diabase-
spilites and dolomite suggests that basic and ultrabasic
rocks of oceanic crust also participated in the composition
of the source area, as well as dolostones.

The homogeneity of the modal composition of the

sands in the And, HZb and Cer units and their similarity
are probably a consequence of modification of material
during the weathering of source rocks, transport, and per-
haps diagenesis. This conclusion could be supported by
the low amount of physically and chemically unstable
fragments, and by the fine grain size and relatively good
sorting of detritus. The huge chronostratigraphic range of
sand deposition (approximately 5 Myr), and the distance
between the deposition areas of almost 200 km, indicate
that the source area had to be a large mountain massif.
This rules out the possibility that the clastic material orig-
inated from destruction of smaller local mountains, al-
though some of them, like Mt Medvednica, Mt Psunj or
Mt Papuk consist of very different rock types (Jamičić et
al. 1986; Šikić 1995b), which could, theoretically, have
provided sand detritus of similar composition. If the re-
constructed paleotransport directions (Fig. 6) are corrected
for approximately 20º, which is supposed as an average
post-Miocene CCW rotation of the studied area (Márton et
al. 2002), the results indicate that the clastic material was
transported into the SW part of the basin from the NW, N
and NE during the Late Miocene (Fig. 8).

The indicators of composition and direction of detritus

transport suggest that its origin is in Eastern Alps and Car-
pathians (Fig. 8). The rock types in Eastern Alps support
the theory that Alps were the source of the largest amount
of the detritus. The Eastern Alps consist of regionally
metamorphosed rocks with different degrees of metamor-
phism, from phyllites, chlorite-amphibole schists, amphib-
olites and gneisses to eclogites (Hinterlechner-Ravnik
1971, 1973; Bögel & Roeder 1978; Gizycki & Schmidt
1978; Mioč 1978; Žnidarčič & Mioč 1987; Godard et al.
1996). The composition of all these rocks support the the-
ory that they were the source of the largest part of the de-
tritus. The Carpathian Mts also consist of different
sedimentary, metamorphic and magmatic rocks, which
could have been a source of clastic material of And, HZb
and Cer units (Royden & Báldi 1988; Krist et al. 1992;
Hovorka 1996; Plašienka et al. 1997;  Korikovsky et al.

1997a,b; Putiš et al. 1997; Petrík & Kohút 1997; Vozáro-
va & Faryad 1997).

It should be emphasized that in the study area there are

no indicators suggesting material influx from the south,
namely from the Dinarides. The presence of various, very
often coarse-grained, poorly sorted clastic sediments in
the Upper Miocene deposits southwards of the studied
area, in N Bosnia (Stevanović & Eremija 1977), shows that
the Dinarides produced clastic material, but it was deposit-
ed in the proximity of land. The large thickness of Upper
Miocene and Pliocene deposits, which in Sarajevo-Zenica
Basin and Livno-Duvno Basin exceeds 500 m (summa-
rized in Pavelić 2002), suggests that a considerable
amount of detritus was probably deposited in fresh water
basins inside the Dinarides, and only a small amount was
transported towards the N into the Pannonian Basin.

The sands of the Plu unit (group F in Table 1 and Fig. 7)

also have a homogeneous modal composition. The domi-
nation of well rounded quartz grains and resistant rock
grains, together with the presence of most stable THM
(tourmaline, rutile) shows that a considerable part of the
detritus in the Plu unit originates from older sedimentary
rocks. Abundant kyanite and staurolite indicate that a part
of the detritus originates in metamorphic rocks formed in
high pressure and temperature conditions. The existence
of sand, which by its composition represents a transition
from group D into group F (group E in Table 1 and Fig. 7),
shows a gradual transition between HZb and Plu units.
This transition is clearly visible in a gradual extinction of
garnet and epidote, and contemporaneous increase in pro-
portion of kyanite, rutile, tourmaline and staurolite. Con-
sidering the significant similarity of the granulometric
composition and composition of the main detritic sand
modes of the Plu unit and the sands of the And, HZb and
Cer units, it may be supposed that they have the same
provenance. However, differences in the HMF sand com-

Fig. 8. Dominant directions of progradation of Upper Miocene silici-
clastic detritus of the And and HZb units in the SW Pannonian Basin.

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position of the Plu unit and the sands of the And, HZb and
Cer units show that during the time different rock types
were eroded. Such change could be connected with struc-
tural changes in the Alpine-Carpathian orogen, with rocks
from deeper levels reaching surface, or with translocation of
source areas within the orogen. Eclogites rich in kyanite,
metamorphosed in extremely high-pressure conditions, ex-
ist today on the surface of the Eastern Alps (Koralpe,
Saualpe, Pohorje, Kozjak) (Fodor et al. 2003; Sassi et al.
2004), and could the represent source rocks for part of the
material of the Plu unit.

The geotectonic setting of source areas of clastic material
in the Andraševec, Hum Zabočki, Cernik and Pluska units

When inserted into diagrams for determination of the

geotectonic setting of source areas (Fig. 9), the main de-
tritic modes of sand in the And, HZb, Cer and Plu units, in-
dicate that detritus source is an orogen.

The  QtFL diagram and QmFLt diagram (Fig. 9A,B) show

that the largest amount of sand detritus originated from a
recycled orogen. The lower part of the sand in diagrams on
Fig. 9A and B points to an inner craton on a continental
block as a provenance of part of the detritus. However, the
position of the Pannonian Basin, in between highly lifted
orogens like the Alps, Carpathians and Dinarides, shows
that even this material probably originated from a recy-
cled orogen.

It may be concluded that analysis of the main detritic

sand modes confirm the orogen origin of the clastic mate-
rial of the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units and clearly show

the origin of material from the Alpine-Carpathian orogen-
ic belt. These mountain chains were formed by the Creta-
ceous-Miocene continental collision and subduction of
the European Plate under the Apulian Plate (Tari et al.
1992; Horváth 1995; Kováč et al. 1998). During this pro-
cess, different rocks of continental and ocean crust which
developed in different geotectonic settings, were driven
into contact, uplifted and eroded thus producing clastic
material which subsequently filled the SW part of Pannon-
ian Basin during the Late Miocene.


– The clastic material deposited during the Late Mi-

ocene in the SW part of the Pannonian Basin originated in
two different source areas.

– The clastic material of the Ozalj, Croatica and

Medvedski Breg units is mineralogically and structurally
immature. It was produced by a mechanical erosion of
rocks of the uplifted coastal hinterland and islands that
were, because of the inversion of the basin at the end of
Sarmatian, uplifted above lake water level. Its composi-
tion varies significantly, reflecting the composition of
source rocks in the vicinity of the basin.

– The sand detritus of the Andraševec,  Hum Zabočki,

Cernik and Pluska units is mineralogically and structural-
ly relatively mature. It was produced by weathering of dif-
ferent source rocks, that were mostly siliciclastic
sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and in a smaller
amount acid magmatic rocks. The presence of basic and

Fig. 9. Triangular diagrams with compositional fields indicating sands derivation from different types of provenances with emphasis on
A – QtFL – maturity (Dickinson et al. 1983); B – QmFLt – source rocks (Dickinson et al. 1983). The diagrams suggest a recycled
orogen provenance of the sand from the And, HZb, Plu and Cer units. Abbreviations as in Table 2.

background image



ultrabasic magmatic rocks, and also carbonate rocks, is no-
ticed. Their proportion could not be estimated because of
distinct chemical instability of components. The types of
components and ratio of the main detritic sand modes
(QFL) suggests that the source rocks formed an orogenic
belt. According to paleotransport measurements, the oro-
genic belt was situated NW, N and NE from the studied area,
in the region of the Eastern Alps and Carpathians. This
young region with high relief provided huge amounts of
clastic material, which was significantly modified by me-
chanical and chemical processes under a warm and moist
climate during the long transport. The composition of the
main detritic ingredients is uniform in the whole studied
area. However, the assemblage of the HMF shows gradual
change from the sands of the Hum Zabočki unit to the sands
of the Pluska unit, reflected in gradual loss of garnet and
epidote, and relative increase in the portion of kyanite, tour-
maline, rutile and staurolite. This change could be linked
with structural changes in the Alpine-Carpathian orogen
when rocks from deeper parts were brought to the surface, or
with rearranging of source areas within the orogen area.
Sands in Slavonian Mts area in the Cernik unit, which over-
lie the sands of the Hum Zabočki unit, do not show such
changes, thus it could be presumed that they belong to
some other clastic system, which contemporaneously pro-
graded towards the S.

– The gradual change in the heavy minerals assem-

blage in the upper parts of the Upper Miocene deposits,
which was determined in a few localities in Hrvatsko
Zagorje, and partly in Mt Žumberak, offers new possibili-
ties for stratigraphic correlation.


 This paper represents a part of the PhD

Thesis of Marijan Kovačić, which was undertaken under
the mentorship of J. Zupanič and D. Tibljaš (Zagreb), to
whom the authors are very grateful for very useful com-
ments and suggestions. The review of the manuscript by
D. Pavelić is gratefully acknowledged. We would like to
thank the journal reviewers D. Puglisi (Italy) and Z. Kukal
(Czech Republic) for their careful revision of the manu-
script. These investigations represent a part of the project:
Geological Map of the Republic of Croatia, financed by
the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Re-
public of Croatia.


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