GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, APRIL 2007, 58, 2, 185—193
Paleomagnetic detection of Tertiary rotations in the Southern
Pannonian Basin (Fruška Gora)
, EMŐ MÁRTON
and VESNA CVETKOV
Geomagnetic Institute, Kraljice Natalije 45, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia; email@example.com
Eötvös Loránd Geophysical Institute of Hungary, Palaeomagnetic Laboratory, Columbus út. 17—23, H-1145 Budapest, Hungary;
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Mining and Geology, Department of Geophysics, Đušina 7, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia;
(Manuscript received January 3, 2006; accepted in revised form June 22, 2006)
Abstract: Fruška Gora is an inselberg in the Southern Pannonian Basin. It is partially covered and surrounded by
Miocene sediments, which were the main targets of our paleomagnetic study. The aim was to see if Fruška Gora
participated in the young counterclockwise rotation observed at several points in the western part of the Southern
Pannonian Basin. Nevertheless, we also sampled Oligocene latites and a few Mesozoic localities. From 16 localities 14
yielded results. Geographically distributed Miocene and pre-Miocene localities with a Miocene overprint (overall-mean
paleomagnetic direction: D=320
º, I=54º, k=26,
º) indicate that the Fruška Gora rotated in co-ordination with the
western Southern Pannonian Basin close to the end of the Miocene (Early Pliocene). This rotation must have been driven
by the Adriatic microplate. The overall-mean paleomagnetic direction for Oligocene latite and contact metamorphosed
Upper Cretaceous flysch is D=220
º, I=—43º, k=25,
º (corrected for the general tilt of the Miocene sediments),
suggesting about 40
º clockwise rotation with respect to the present North. This means a total clockwise rotation of about
º, occurring before the mid-Miocene and after the intrusion of the latite, possibly confined to one of the blocks of the
Fruška Gora horst. It is equally possible that the clockwise rotation affected a larger area. In any case, both the clockwise
and the counterclockwise rotations are important for the kinematic reconstruction of the Fruška Gora with respect to the
Vardar Zone, to which it belonged originally. Future work should provide paleomagnetic data from the Vardar Zone in
order to facilitate this reconstruction.
Key words: Tertiary rotations, Southern Pannonian Basin, Fruška Gora, paleomagnetism.
Encircled by the Eastern Alps, by the Western and Eastern
Carpathians and by the Dinarides, the Pannonian Basin is
mostly covered by Quaternary sediments. Basements rocks
outcrop as inselbergs in the Southern Pannonian Basin in-
cluding the Medvednica, Moslavačka Gora, Slavonian
Mountains and the Fruška Gora. These basement rocks are
of different types: in the Medvednica they belong to the
Mid-Hungarian mobile zone, in Moslavačka Gora and in
the Slavonian Mountains they are of Tisia type and in the
Fruška Gora they are related to the Vardar Zone (Dimitri-
jević 1997; Haas et al. 2000). The inselbergs are envel-
oped by Neogene sediments.
During the Alpine orogeny important displacements
took place between the above mentioned basement units.
It is a generally accepted view that relative rotations be-
tween the blocks of the Pannonian Basin lasted until
about 16 Ma (Balla 1984; Csontos et al. 1992; Kováč et
Paleomagnetic studies of recent years have documented
rotations younger than 16 Ma from several parts of the
Pannonian Basin, among them the Medvednica and the
Slavonian Mts areas (Márton et al. 1999, 2002b). The
question was whether the Fruška Gora behaved like the
more westerly part of the Southern Pannonian Basin. That
is why we started a project on the Miocene sediments of
Fruška Gora. The paleomagnetic study, however, included
older than Neogene rocks, which were interesting from the
viewpoint of possible pre-Miocene rotation of the Fruška
Gora with respect to the rest of the Vardar Zone, since the
structural trend of the former is quite different from the lat-
ter (Fig. 1).
Geology and tectonics
Fruška Gora is situated South of Novi Sad, on the right
bank of the Danube River. It is an east-west extending
horst that is bounded by two regional normal faults in the
North and South, respectively (Fig. 2). Several normal
faults of local importance cross the area.
The oldest rocks in Fruška Gora are metamorphics of Pa-
leozoic age that are in tectonic contact with low and Mid-
dle Triassic sediments. Upper Triassic through mid-Jurassic
strata are missing. In the central part of the mountains
there are Upper Jurassic deep-water sediments. After a long
hiatus, Upper Cretaceous sediments were deposited. South
of the Srem dislocation (Fig. 2), these are shallow water
clastics with reef limestones, while north of it there are
deep-water flysch deposits. Dislocation zones in the Fruš-
ka Gora are marked with the occurrence of serpentinite
LESIĆ, MÁRTON and CVETKOV
(Fig. 2; Čičulić-Trifunović & Rakić 1971a,b; Čupković
1997; Dimitrijević 1997). After the Cretaceous, the Fruška
Gora was strongly tectonized and uplifted. The flysch and
the serpentinite are locally intruded by latite (K/Ar age
35±5 Ma, Knežević et al. 1991).
A new sedimentary cycle started in the Miocene, with
lake sediments indicating deposition in separate basins on
the northern and southern flanks of Fruška Gora, respec-
tively. Dacites, andesites (south side) and pyroclastics
(northern flanks) are due to Miocene volcanic activity
which hydrothermally affected older rocks, particularly
serpentinites. In the Middle Miocene, the sea invaded the
area. The depositional environment became brackish, and
then caspi-brackish during the Late Miocene. Sedimenta-
tion was restricted to the west side of the horst. In the same
area, freshwater Pliocene sediments overlay the Miocene
strata with angular discomformity.
Cross-sections of the Fruška Gora (Čičulić-Trifunović &
Rakić 1971a; Čupković 1997) show that Miocene sedi-
ments occur on both sides of the crest, moderately tilted
on the north side towards the North and subhorizontal on
the south side. The flysch and the older rocks are heavily
tectonized. The tectonic phase which deformed the flysch
is obviously post-Cretaceous, and Dimitrijević (1997)
suggests that the products of various depositional envi-
ronments were also brought into contact during this tec-
tonic phase, along the Srem dislocation (SD) and the
Fruška Gora dislocation (FGD) (Fig. 2).
Concerning the structure and the original formation
place of the Paleozoic-Mesozoic of the Fruška Gora, there
are different opinions that were discussed by Grubić et al.
(1998). Fruška Gora is conceived as a huge anticline or, as
a nappe pile; some consider it as part of the Vardar sub-
duction zone (Karamata & Krstić 1996; Dimitrijević
1997), while others relate it to the Eastern Alps (Grubić et
Paleomagnetic sampling, measurements and results
We drilled 196 cores from 16 localities, using a portable
drill and oriented them in the field with magnetic com-
pass. The sampled rocks (Fig. 2) are latites (localities 1a,
3a and 9), Maastrichtian flysch from the neighbourhood of
latite localities 1a and 3a (localities 1b and 3b) and far
from the latite intrusion (localities 7 and 13). An Upper
Cretaceous limestone was drilled at one locality (11) and
so was serpentinite (locality 12). Middle Miocene (locali-
Fig. 1. Geological sketch map of the Pannonian Basin and the surrounding area with indication of the structural trend of Fruška Gora
and the Vardar Zone. 1 – Fruška Gora, 2 – Slavonian Mts, 3 – Medvednica, 4 – Mura-Zala Basin, 5 – Intramontane basins of the
Eastern Alps, 6 – Transdanubian Range.
PALEOMAGNETIC DETECTION OF TERTIARY ROTATIONS (FRUŠKA GORA)
Fig. 2. Geological sketch map of Fruška Gora modified after Dimitrijević (1997) with the paleomagnetic sampling localities. SD – Srem
dislocation, FGD – Fruška Gora dislocation, ———— – normal faults, – paleomagnetic sampling localities 1—14 (localities 1 and 3 are
composite: 1a and 3a are latites, 1b and 3b are flysch): the numbers are used throughout the text, in figures and in tables.
ties 2, 5, 8, 10 and 14), Upper Miocene (locality 4) and
middle Pliocene (locality 6) sediments that have been
sampled, were mostly marls deposited in a marine, lake or
swamp environment. Locality 8 is a special one: here red
clays were sampled from several paleokarst holes in white
biogenic limestone, which is accessible in several quarries
south of the Fruška Gora horst.
From the drill cores, standard-size specimens were cut in
Belgrade. The paleomagnetic measurements were subse-
quently carried out in Budapest using JR-4 and JR-5A
spinner magnetometers, Schoenstedt AF and thermal de-
magnetizers, and an AF demagnetizer built at the Techni-
cal University of Budapest (peak field 0.23T), KLY-2
kappabridge and a pulse magnetizer.
First the natural remanent magnetization (NRM) of each
specimen was measured, followed by measurements of the
magnetic susceptibility anisotropy. Then, selected speci-
mens from each locality were subjected to detailed step-
wise alternating field (AF) or thermal demagnetization,
until the NRM signal was lost. Based on the behaviour of
the pilot specimens, either AF or thermal demagnetization
or, less frequently, the combination of the two was chosen
for demagnetizing the rest of the samples, also in many
steps. Demagnetization curves were analysed for linear
segments (components of the NRM, method by Kirsch-
vink 1980) and the components were subjected to statisti-
cal evaluation. Although the behaviour of the NRM and
the susceptibility often yielded sufficient information
about magnetic minerals, we also carried out special ex-
periments, like isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM)
acquisition experiments and thermal demagnetization of a
three component IRM.
The latites were successfully demagnetized both by AF
and thermal methods. The results of the thermal demagne-
tization did not yield only components, but also informa-
tion about magnetic minerals. As Fig. 3 shows, the
magnetic minerals are maghemite and magnetite (see sus-
ceptibility/intensity versus temperature curves), and the
characteristic remanence appears after the transformation
of maghemite to hematite. Latites exhibit well defined pa-
leomagnetic directions with easterly declinations and
steep negative inclinations (Table 1).
The flysch intruded by latite (Fig. 4, specimens
YM 3007’1 and YM 3113) was very efficiently demagne-
tized by AF. The directions before tilt corrections fit with
the characteristic remanence of the latite. We also tested
flysch localities far from the latites: one of them was un-
stable, therefore rejected (locality 13), the other exhibited
moderate instability. Nevertheless, the demagnetization
path in the latter case (locality 7, Fig. 4, specimen
YM 3098B) was sufficiently good to yield a line, which,
however, did not decay towards the origin. Thus, we inter-
pret the isolated component as an overprint acquired dur-
ing the Miocene (see below).
LESIĆ, MÁRTON and CVETKOV
Fig. 3. Fruška Gora, latites. Typical demagnetization curves. Key: Zijderveld diagrams and in-
tensity/susceptibility versus temperature curves. During thermal demagnetization the remain-
ing intensity of the NRM was measured after heating the specimen to a given temperature and
cooling it back to room temperature. In the Zijderveld diagrams full/open circles: projection of
the NRM in the horizontal/vertical plane; in others susceptibility: dots, NRM intensity: circles.
R0 – initial intensity of the NRM, k0 – initial susceptibility.
Fig. 4. Fruška Gora, flysch. Typical demagnetization curves. Flysch intruded by latite (speci-
mens YM 3007’1 and YM 3113) and a flysch far from latite (specimen YM 3098B). Key as
for Fig. 3.
The Upper Cretaceous red lime-
stone from locality 11 failed on AF
demagnetizitation. On thermal de-
magnetization up to 710 ºC, the
NRM direction moved along great
circles. A linearity test yielded two
well-defined components: one of
them a Miocene overprint (see be-
low), while the other was different.
A third direction was obtained from
the end points of the demagnetiza-
tion (step 710 ºC). The serpentinite
yielded good result on AF demag-
netization (locality 12). The results
for localities 11 and 12 are tabulat-
ed in Table 1.
The Miocene sediments were suc-
cessfully AF demagnetized (speci-
men YM 3128B) except for the red
clay filling paleokarst holes (locali-
ty 8, specimen YM 3108). Thus, we
employed thermal demagnetization
(Fig. 5) for this locality as well as
for the dark grey Pliocene clay
where the suspected carrier of the
remanence was greigite (Fig. 5,
specimen YM 3078A).
Statistically well-defined paleo-
magnetic directions were obtained
for all Miocene localities (Table 2),
except 4. At locality 4 the failure
was unexpected, since fresh material
was collected from a working quarry
and the magnetic mineral was mag-
netite (Fig. 6, specimen YM 3056A).
The principal magnetic mineral was
magnetite also at other Miocene lo-
calities, occasionally accompanied
by goethite that carried an over-
print (Fig. 5, specimen YM 3108).
In the Pliocene sediment the NRM
seems to reside in magnetic iron
sulphide (Fig. 5, locality 6, speci-
men YM 3078A).
Discussion and conclusions
Paleomagnetic results from Fruš-
ka Gora can be subdivided into
three groups. The first contains Mi-
ocene and Pliocene sediments de-
posited after mid-Cretaceous
metamorphism (Milovanović et al.
1995), the post-Cretaceous inten-
sive folding and the build-up of the
Fruška Gora horst from different
tectonic blocks. These came into
contact along dislocation zones,
PALEOMAGNETIC DETECTION OF TERTIARY ROTATIONS (FRUŠKA GORA)
Table 1: Fruška Gora, pre-Miocene localities. Paleomagnetic directions with statistical parameters. n/no – number used/collected (the
samples are independently oriented cores); D, I (D
) – declination, inclination before (after) tilt correction; k and
parameters (Fisher 1953); bolded directions are used in tectonic interpretation. Localities 7, 11 and 12 are Miocene overprints.
Fig. 5. Fruška Gora, Miocene and Pliocene localities. Typical demagnetization curves for a
Miocene marl (specimen YM 3128B), for paleokarst filling (specimen YM 3108) and for
Pliocene clay (specimen YM 3078A). Key as for Fig. 3.
which are marked by serpentinite
(Fig. 2). The second comprises Up-
per Cretaceous flysch, locally in-
truded by latite of 35 Ma (Knežević
et al. 1991). Two localities fall into
the third group, which sustained at
least two phases of deformation as
well as metamorphism.
In the first group, there is a dra-
matic change in orientation, for the
Pliocene locality is characterized
by the “stable European” declina-
tion (reversed polarity direction,
Fig. 7, locality 6), while Miocene
localities show counterclockwise
rotated declinations, in the geo-
graphical as well as in the tectonic
co-ordinate systems (Table 2,
Fig. 7). An exception is locality 5,
which is suspected of slumping.
Thus, we calculated overall-mean
paleomagnetic direction in two ver-
sions: with and without this locality
(Table 3). The two versions have dif-
ferent statistical parameters, but the
overall-mean paleomagnetic direc-
tions are practically the same which
shows that our data set is robust. By
adding to them three pre-Miocene
LESIĆ, MÁRTON and CVETKOV
Fig. 6. Fruška Gora, Miocene—Pliocene sediments. Magnetic miner-
alogy. IRM acquisition behaviour (upper row) for Miocene (speci-
mens YM 3056A and YM 3014’1) and Pliocene sediments
(specimen YM 3078B). The three-component IRM (Lowrie 1990)
behaviour on thermal demagnetization (second row) and the
change in the susceptibility on heating (last row) for Miocene sedi-
ment (specimen YM 3056A). The hard (squares), the medium hard
(dots) and soft (circles) components of the composite IRM were ac-
quired in fields of 1 T, 0.36 T and 0.2 T respectively.
localities with Miocene overprints (serpentinite, which
was affected by Miocene hydrothermal activity, the red
limestone of Late Cretaceous age, both belonging to the
third group, and a flysch locality, far from the latite intru-
sion, belonging to the second group) we obtain a paleo-
magnetic direction which is not only the statistically best
defined for characterizing the end of Miocene (Early
Pliocene?) counterclockwise rotation of Fruška Gora, but
it is also the best areal representation of it.
Pre-Miocene localities 1a, 1b, 3a, 3b and 9 show a good
cluster of paleomagnetic directions, with quite steep nega-
tive inclinations and consistent declinations in the geo-
graphical co-ordinate system (Table 1 and Fig. 8). This
paleomagnetic direction suggests large clockwise rota-
tion, in contrast to the younger moderate counterclock-
wise rotation. The difference is so large, and the tectonic
implication is so shocking, that the possibility of dealing
with an artifact clockwise rotation should be discussed.
One of the possibilities is that declination is biased by tilt-
ing strata around an oblique axis, instead of a horizontal
one. This effect can safely be excluded, since the post-de-
formation age of the remanence in the flysch at the contact
with the latite, and the intrusion of the latite after folding
is beyond doubt (Table 3). A second effect could be bias
of the paleomagnetic direction due to magnetic anisotro-
py towards lineation direction. However, lineation direc-
tions are scattered, which excludes the systematic
Table 2: Fruška Gora, Miocene—Pliocene localities. Paleomagnetic directions with statistical parameters. Key as for Table 1.
PALEOMAGNETIC DETECTION OF TERTIARY ROTATIONS (FRUŠKA GORA)
Table 3: Fruška Gora, summary of the overall-mean paleomagnetic directions used in tectonic interpretation. Key as for Table 1.
Fig. 7. Fruška Gora, Miocene and Pliocene localities. Locality mean
paleomagnetic directions with
. Stereographic projection. In ad-
dition, Miocene overprint directions are plotted for three localities.
Key: full circles: positive; open circles: negative inclination.
Fig. 8. Fruška Gora, latite and intruded flysch localities. Locality
mean paleomagnetic directions with
. Stereographic projection.
Key as in Fig. 7.
influence of either flow or deformation on the direction of
the paleomagnetic overall mean vector (Fig. 9). A third ex-
planation can be that the latite and remagnetized flysch
were tilted together with the oldest Miocene sediments,
therefore, the directions need a partial and uniform tilt cor-
rection. Such correction cannot be taken from direct mea-
surements in the field, but it can be estimated. Two
geological cross-sections through the Fruška Gora
(Čičulić-Trifunović & Rakić 1971a; Čupković 1997)
show that the tilt angle of the oldest Miocene sediments is
maximum 46° towards 15° N. When this correction is ap-
plied, the paleomagnetic direction (D=220°, I=—43°, k=25,
=16°) exhibits a moderate clockwise rotation with re-
spect to the North and seems to be more realistic than the
uncorrected one. Even with this smaller angle of clock-
wise rotation we have to calculate with about 80° clock-
wise rotation before the mid-Miocene and after the
intrusion of the latite.
The end-of-Miocene counterclockwise rotation docu-
mented by the present study compares well with observa-
tions from several parts of the Southern Pannonian Basin
(Medvednica-Hrvatsko Zagorje area and Slavonian Moun-
tains, Márton et al. 2003; Krsko-Karlovac Basin, Márton
et al. 2006; Mura-Zala Basin, Márton et al. 2002) and
even from the Eastern Alps (Márton et al. 2000; Scholger
& Stingl 2004; Thöny et al. 2006) and from the Trans-
danubian Range (Márton & Fodor 2003). The practically
coinciding overall declinations measured on late Middle
Miocene and Upper Miocene rocks from the above men-
tioned areas and the lower age limits of the rotations,
constrained by the stratigraphic ages of youngest sedi-
ments still showing westerly declination deviation from
the present North (Fig. 10) imply that this rotation was of
interregional character and can be attributed to a com-
mon driving force. A counterclockwise rotating Adriatic
microplate could have provided such force (e.g. Márton
In contrast to the straightforward tectonic interpretation
and interregional character of the above discussed coun-
terclockwise rotation, the pre-Miocene clockwise rotation
observed for the Fruška Gora calls for alternative interpre-
tations. The reason is that the latites and related flysch lo-
calities are all situated north of the Srem dislocation
(Fig. 2), while the Fruška Gora was assembled from differ-
LESIĆ, MÁRTON and CVETKOV
ently moving units, after the Cretaceous, and before the
Miocene: the boundaries of theses units are the Srem and
Fruška Gora dislocations (Dimitrijević 1997). South of the
Srem dislocation zone, we sampled an Upper Cretaceous
limestone, (locality 11) for comparison, which, however,
yielded only an overprint magnetization of Miocene age
(Table 1). The rest of the outcrops of pre-Miocene age
south of the mentioned dislocation were not even promis-
ing for reasons of weathering and extremely complicated
If we interpret the clockwise rotation observed for the
latite and related flysch as evidence for differential
movements within the Fruška Gora, the implication is
that such displacements should have taken place after
the intrusion of the latite, that is between 35 Ma and the
mid-Miocene. We cannot exclude, however, that the
whole Fruška Gora rotated clockwise during the same pe-
riod. In this case, our results must be relevant to the de-
tachment of the area from the Vardar Zone, which is one
of the most important subduction zones in the Alpine
tectonic history of the central and eastern Mediterranean.
Several scientists having insight into the stratigraphy,
tectonics and metamorphism of this zone, regard the
Fruška Gora as an integral part of the Vardar Zone during
Paleozoic and Mesozoic so much so that the closing of
the zone was recently dated from the Fruška Gora (Milo-
vanović et al. 1995). Today respective structural trends
in the Fruška Gora and in the Vardar Zone differ by
about 70°, suggesting counterclockwise deviation of the
former from the latter.
The paleomagnetic results of the present study show
that the end-of-Miocene counterclockwise rotation, as-
suming that the Vardar Zone did not rotate, is only 40°.
Moreover, the pre-Miocene clockwise rotation for the
Fruška Gora implies that the present difference in struc-
tural orientation came into being during two tectonic
events. Since the Vardar Zone is not yet represented by
paleomagnetic data of suitable ages, it is not yet possible
to reconstruct the process of the separation of the Fruška
Gora from this zone.
To summarize the tectonic implications of the present
study, we recognized a latest Miocene-pre-middle-
Pliocene counterclockwise rotation which involved the
whole Fruška Gora. Before this rotation, there was a rota-
tion in the opposite sense, which must have taken place
after the intrusion of the Oligocene latite and before the
deposition of the mid-Miocene sediments. This rotation
surely affected the Fruška Gora north of the Srem disloca-
tion, but could have involved the whole study area. In ei-
ther case, the rotation seems to be of regional significance.
In contrast, the younger, counterclockwise rotation makes
interregional correlation possible between the Fruška Gora
on one hand and the more westerly parts of the Southern
Pannonian Basin, the Eastern Alps and the Transdanubian
Range, on the other hand. The young counterclockwise
rotation involved basements of different origin (Dinaric,
South Alpine, East Alpine), and was most probably in-
duced by the rotating Adriatic microplate.
The authors thank M. Bielik, E. Petrov-
ský, R. Scholger and I. Túnyi for revising the manuscript.
The laboratory experiments were partially supported by
Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) Project No. T
Fig. 9. Fruška Gora, latite and flysch localities. Lineation direc-
tions on a stereonet. Geographic co-ordinate system.
Fig. 10. Overall-mean paleomagnetic directions with
for: A – Fruš-
ka Gora rotation younger than 13 Ma; B – Medvednica-Hrvatsko
Zagorje area and Slavonian Mountains rotation younger than 6 Ma;
C – Eastern Alps rotation younger than 12 Ma; D – Mura-Zala Ba-
sin rotation younger than 4 Ma; E – Intramontane basins of the
Eastern Alps. Stereographic projection.
PALEOMAGNETIC DETECTION OF TERTIARY ROTATIONS (FRUŠKA GORA)
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