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Badenian evolution of the Central Paratethys Sea:

paleogeography, climate and eustatic sea-level changes

































Comenius University, Department of Geology and Paleontology, Mlynská dolina, 842 15 Bratislava, Slovak Republic;;


Institute of Geological Sciences, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, O.Gonchar str. 55-B, Kiev, Ukraine;


Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Paleontology, Horvatovac 102a, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia;


Institute of Geological Sciences, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic;


Babe -Bolyai University, Department of Geology, Str. Kogălniceanu 1, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania;


Geological Institute of Hungary, Stefánia 14, H-1143 Budapest, Hungary;


Geological-Paleontological Department, Natural History Museum Vienna, Burgring 7, A-1014 Vienna, Austria;


Eötvös University, Department of Physical and Historical Geology, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary;


Jagiellonian University, Institute of Geological Sciences, Oleandry 2a, 30-063 Kraków, Poland;


Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, Pierottijeva 6, P.O. Box 679, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia;;


Natural History Museum Vienna, Burgring 7, A-1014 Vienna, Austria;


Museum of the Earth, Polish Academy of Sciences, Al. Na Skarpie 20/26, 00-488 Warszawa, Poland;

(Manuscript received February 15, 2007; accepted in revised form June 13, 2007)

Abstract: The Miocene Central Paratethys Sea covered wide areas of the Pannonian Basin System, bordered by the
mountain chains of the Alps, Carpathians and Dinarides. The epicontinental sea spread not only in the back-arc basin
area, but flooded even the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, situated along the front of gradually uplifting mountains. The
Early Badenian (early Langhian) transgressions from the Mediterranean toward the Central Paratethys realm, via
Slovenia and northern Croatia (Transtethyan Trench Corridor or Trans Dinaride Corridor) flooded the Pannonian
Basin and continued along straits in the Carpathian Chain into the Carpathian Foredeep. The isolation of eastern parts
of the Central Paratethys at the end of this period (late Langhian) resulted in the “Middle Badenian” salinity crisis.
Thick evaporite sediments, above all halite and gypsum were deposited in the Transcarpathian Basin, Transylvanian
Basin and Carpathian Foredeep. During the Late Badenian (early Serravallian), the latest full marine flooding covered
the whole back-arc basin and a great part of the foredeep. The main problem is to create a model of sea connections
during that time, because some authors consider the western Transtethyan Trench Corridor (Trans Dinaride Corridor)
closed and there is no evidence to prove a supposed strait towards the Eastern Mediterranean. A proposed possibility
is a connection towards the Konkian Sea of the Eastern Paratethys. The Badenian climate of the Central Paratethys
realm can be characterized as fairly uniform, reflecting the stable subtropical conditions of the Miocene Climatic
Optimum. No considerable changes in terrestrial ecosystems were documented. Nevertheless, evolution of steep
landscape associated with rapid uplift of the East Alpine and Western Carpathian mountain chains (including high
stratovolcanoes) caused development of vertical zonation of dry land and consequently close occurrence of different
vegetation zones in a relatively small distance during this time. In the Central Paratethys Sea a slight N-S climatic
gradient seems to be expressed already from the Early Badenian, but a biogeographic differentiation between basins
in the North and South starts to become more prominent first during the Late Badenian, when a moderate cooling of
the seawater can also be documented. The Late Badenian sea-level highstand coincides with the appearance of stress
factors such as stratification of the water column and hypoxic conditions at the basin bottom in the whole area. Taking
into account all bioevents and changes of paleogeography in the Central Paratethys realm, we can very roughly
correlate the Early (and “Middle”) Badenian with the eustatic sea-level changes of TB 2.3, TB  2.4 or Bur5/Lan1,
Lan2/Ser1 and the Late Badenian with TB 2.5 or Ser2 cycles (sensu Haq et al. 1988; Hardenbol et al. 1998). Generally,
we can assign the Early Badenian transgressions to be controlled by both, tectonics (induced mainly by back-arc basin


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KOVÁČ et al.


As a contribution to the European Science Foundation
Project – Environments and Ecosystem Dynamics of the
Eurasian Neogene (2000—2005), the Central Paratethys
realm Karpatian paleogeography, tectonics and eustatic
changes (in the time interval 17.2—16.3 Ma, sensu
Harzhauser & Piller 2007) were revised and published in a
monograph dealing with the Karpatian stage (Brzobohatý,
Cicha, Kováč & Rögl (Eds.) 2003). The article of Kováč et
al. (2003) comprises all-important data about geodynamic
settings and geology of the Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian
region, introduction to the methodology used in the prep-
aration of a palinspastic model of paleogeography, as well
as basic terms preferred in regional stratigraphy of the
Central Paratethys. The results of the following research,
Badenian paleogeography, tectonics and sea-level chang-
es in the Central Paratethys are presented below.

Chronological position of the Badenian stage

The term Badenian was introduced and defined as a

chronostratigraphic stage by Papp & Cicha in 1968 and
was subdivided into three substages: Moravian, Wieli-
cian and Kosovian (comp. Papp et al. 1978, p. 51—52).
These subdivisions based on planktonic foraminifers
were subsequently widely adopted but the previous zo-
nation based on benthic foraminifers proposed by Grill
(1941, 1943) for the Vienna Basin also remained in use.
On the contrary, it is the most widely used scheme today,
especially for shallow-water deposits where planktonic
organisms are extremely poorly represented. The zona-
tion consists of a vertical succession of benthic foramin-
iferal assemblages – based zones namely  Lower and Up-
per Lagenidae, Spiroplectammina carinata  ( = Spirorutilus
carinatus)  and  Bulimina-Bolivina,  impoverished or Rota-
lia Zones. The Grill zonation was revised by Papp & Turn-
ovsky (1953) and based on uvigerinid evolutionary lin-
eages. Also in this paper Grill’s zones are regarded as the
equivalent of particular substages in spite of that the rela-
tionship between benthic and planktonic zonation may be
defined only imperfectly (Table 1, the latest Miocene
chronostratigraphy and biostratigraphy can be found in
the paper of Harzhauser & Piller 2007).

The Central Paratethys regional stage Badenian, corre-

sponding to the regional stages late Tarkhanian,
Chokrakian, Karaganian, and Konkian distinguished in
the Eastern Paratethys (Nevesskaya et al. 1987; Studenc-
ka et al. 1998; Meulenkamp & Sissingh 2000) is an
equivalent of the Mediterranean standard stages Lang-
hian and early Serravallian.

From the biostratigraphical point of view the Badenian

can be clearly subdivided only into the Early and Late

Badenian (Table 1), which is in contradiction to the used
trimerous subdivision into the Early, Middle and Late
Badenian (e.g. Rögl 1998)  and does not correspond to a
division into “Lower and Upper Tortonian” in the sense
of the Vienna Basin stratigraphy of the fifties and sixties
of the preceeding century (e.g. Buday 1955).

Rögl (1998) like other authors divided the Badenian into Early,

Middle  and Late Badenian. The lower boundary of the Early Bad-
enian was placed at 16.4 Ma, the boundary for the Early/Middle
Badenian at approximately 15 Ma, the Middle/Late Badenian
boundary at 14 Ma and 13 Ma was used as the Late Badenian/Sar-
matian boundary. However, the correct correlation between the
Badenian sub-stages defined by benthic organisms and the planktic
world-zonations is still missing. The widely used zonation of Grill
(1941, 1943) based on benthic foraminifers is quite consistent in it-
self, however, at the same time, it is strongly facies-dependent and
poorly correlated with the planktonic zonations.

The base of the Badenian (Early Badenian lower

boundary) is marked by the FAD of the genus Praeorbuli-
na positioned in the late calcareous nannoplankton NN4
Zone (Rögl et al. 2002). The base of the Badenian is iso-
chronous with the base of the Langhian and the “Praeor-
bulina datum” which has been recently re-calibrated from
16.4 Ma to 16.303 Ma, base of Chron C5Cn.1r (EEDEN
time scale, Harzhauser & Piller 2007). The implied age of
15.97 Ma (Gradstein et al. 2004), instead of datum
16.4 Ma (sensu Berggren et al. 1995) is not based on any
new results but was drawn without comments at the rever-
sal boundary on top of Chron C5Br. In the text of Lourens
et al. (2004) the Praeorbulina datum is still in use to de-
fine the base of the Langhian.

However, this biostratigraphically well-defined stage

boundary is recognizable only in limited areas of the Cen-
tral Paratethys (Kováč et al. 1999; Kováč et al. 2001; Rögl
et al. 2002). Instead, the lowermost Badenian strata which
can be recognized almost everywhere in the Central Parat-
ethys realm contain planktonic foraminiferal assemblages
in which the genus Praeorbulina is associated with the
genus  Orbulina in the calcareous nannoplankton Zone
NN5 (Berggren et al. 1995; Fornaciari & Rio 1996).

The NN5 Zone was defined by Berggren et al. (1995) by

the presence of Sphenolithus heteromorphus Deflandre
and by the absence of Helicosphaera ampliaperta (Bram-
lette et Wilcoxon) Bukry. Recently, the LAD of H. ampli-
aperta was correlated with an age of 14.91 Ma, and that of
S. heteromorphus was astronomically calibrated with an
age of 13.65 (Lourens et al. 2004), marking the Langhian/
Serravallian boundary (Sprovieri et al. 2002).

The  Late Badenian lower boundary is marked by the

first appearance of the warm-water planktonic foraminifer
Velapertina indigena (Łuczkowska) in marine deposits of
the Central Paratethys region (Łuczkowska 1971; Papp et
al. 1978; Rögl 1998). It is somewhat younger than the

rifting) and eustacy, followed by forced regression. The Late Badenian transgression and regression were dominantly
controlled by sea-level changes inside the Central Paratethys realm.

Key words: Miocene, Badenian, Central Paratethys, paleogeography, tectonics, climate, sequence stratigraphy.

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boundary between NN5 and NN6 Zones of calcareous nan-
noplankton (Martini 1971). In addition, the radiolarian
horizon best documented through the Carpathian Fore-
deep, Transcarpathian and Transylvanian Basins (Dumi-
trică 1978; Barwicz-Piskorz 1981, 1999; Rögl 1998)
shows a high potential for regional correlations. The radi-
olarian assemblage derived in this widespread horizon be-
longs to the Dorcadospyris alata Zone in the zonal
scheme of Sanfilippo et al. (1985) for the Mediterranean
and corresponds to the basal part of the NN6 Zone of cal-
careous nannoplankton (sensu Martini 1971).

The time span of the Late Badenian ( ~ 13.6—12.7 Ma)

can only be estimated. It appears that it is approximately
coeval to the upper part of the M7 Globorotalia periphe-
roacuta  Lineage Zone of Berggren et al. (1995) with esti-
mated age 14.8—12.7 Ma and the lower part of the Dis-
coaster exilis Zone (NN6 Zone of calcareous
nanoplankton, sensu Martini 1971) with estimated age ac-
cording to Berggren et al. (1995): 13.6—11.8 Ma. The
planktonic foraminiferal standard biozonation, both of

Blow (1969) and Berggren et al. (1995), can only partly be
applied to Paratethys stratigraphy, due to the absence of
index taxa in this peripheral epicontinental sea.

The upper boundary of the Badenian should be defined

by the first appearance of endemic Sarmatian faunas, such
as the FAD of Anomalinoides dividens (Łuczkowska 1964,
1971; Filipescu 2004b). The revised boundary age is
based on astronomical cycles and correlation with the iso-
tope event MSI-3 at 12.7 Ma (Harzhauser & Piller 2004).

Geodynamic development of the Alpine-

Carpathian-Pannonian region and paleogeography

of the Central Paratethys Sea during the Badenian

The  Central Paratethys Sea extended over a large area

between the Eastern Alps and Dinarides in the West and
Southwest and Carpathians in the North, East and South-
east. Its Badenian paleogeography depended strongly on
the geodynamic development of the Alpine-Carpathian

Table 1: Biostratigraphy of the Badenian sediments in the Central Paratethys basins. Because of the frequent use of the Calcareous Nan-
noplankton Zones of Martini (1971) in the Paratethys literature they have been recalibrated according to Gradstein et al. (2004).

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KOVÁČ et al.

mountain chains and development of basins within the
Pannonian Basin System and Carpathian Foredeep
(Fig. 1). Changes in the structural pattern (tectonics) of the
area were highly influenced by subduction in front of the
orogene, as well as by the back-arc extension. The differ-
ent driving forces, the changing geometry of the external
Carpathian thrust system might have led to a spatially and
temporally variable stress field (Nemčok et al. 1998;
Fodor et al. 1999; Kováč 2000) and induced different
types of magmatism; extension-dominated in the western
and subduction-related in the eastern Pannonian-Car-
pathian realm (Pécskay et al. 1995; Harangi 2001;
Konečný et al. 2002).

The presented palinspastic model of the Badenian pa-

leogeography of the  Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian do-
main (Figs. 2, 4) takes into consideration the position of
an active subduction zone in front of the moving lithos-
pheric fragments—microplates, at that time (Balla 1984;
Csontos et al. 1992; Kováč M. et al. 1994, 1998; Kováč
2000; Konečný et al. 2002). The configuration of the Al-
capa (Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian) and Tisza—Dacia
microplates can be more or less characterized by their
“final” juxtaposition along the Mid-Hungarian Zone
(Csontos et al. 1992; Csontos 1995; Csontos & Nagyma-

Fig. 1. Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian-Dinaride domain.

rosy 1998), after major rotational events (Márton 2001).
However, some elements of this fault system were still ac-
tive during and after the Badenian and produced some
short-extent horizontal movements (for example the
Balaton Line).

Subduction of the European Platform margin (Fig. 2),

involving a slab comprising the basement of Outer Car-
pathian basins/units, namely the basement of the Krosno—
Menilite and Outer Moldavides zones, resulted in com-
pression tectonics, which was bound only to a narrow belt
near the collision zone. The compression led to folding
and nappe thrusting in the Carpathian accretionary wedge.
This “tectonic phase” is traditionally named the “Styrian
phase” or the “intra-Badenian orogenetic movements”
(Săndulescu 1988; Oszczypko & Ślączka 1989; Oszczyp-
ko 1997, 1998; Oszczypko & Lucińska-Anczkiewicz
2001; Oszczypko et al. 2006).

The  Pannonian Basin System (Fig. 2) marks out syn-rift

faulting and related subsidence of separate depocentres,
whose development was controlled by various geodynam-
ic mechanisms (Meulenkamp et al. 1996; Kováč et al.
1997a; Kováč 2000; Pavelić 2001; Tomljenović & Cson-
tos 2001; Lučić et al. 2001; Konečný et al. 2002; Saftić et
al. 2003). The basin system  depocentres represent at

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2. Block-diagram demonstrating geodynamical factors, which influenced development of the Carpathian Chain and Pannonian back-

arc basin system during the Late Badenian (EA – Eastern Alps, TR – Transdanubian Ridge, WC – Western Carpathians, B – Bükk
Mts, EC – Eastern Carpathians, A – Apuseni Mts, TB – Transylvanian Basin, PB – Pannonian Basin).

present mainly individual basins of the back-arc basin do-
main, such as the Danube, Styrian, Zala, Mura, North
Croatian (Drava and Sava Depressions), Transcarpathian,
several Great Hungarian Plain basins, including the Vien-
na and Transylvanian Basins as well.

In the western part of the back-arc basin the main driv-

ing force of the Badenian basin formation was asthenos-
pheric mantle uplift, following subduction in front of the
Alpine-Carpathian Chain. In the central and eastern part
of the back-arc basin the subsidence was more directly
linked to subduction pull. The pull effect of the down-go-
ing plate caused stretching of the overriding microplates
predominantly in the NE-SW and E-W directions (Royden
1993a,b; Csontos 1995; Fodor et al. 1999; Sperner et al.
2002, 2004; Horváth et al. 2006). Therefore, NW-SE ex-
tension dominated during basin formation in the north-
western part of the Pannonian realm, and was associated
with acid and calc-alkaline volcanism (Pécskay et al.
1995). In the southwestern part of the Pannonian realm the
asthenospheric mantle uplift led to the formation of elon-
gated and deep half-grabens influenced by NNE-SSW ex-
tension, followed by E-W extension (Pavelić 2001). Be-
hind the active collision zone of the Carpathian Chain, in
the central and eastern part of the Pannonian Basin System

the subsidence was influenced mostly by NE-SW to E-W
oriented extension.

The Outer Carpathian accretionary wedge and

Carpathian Foredeep

During the Badenian, formation of the Outer Car-

pathian accretionary wedge was in progress along the
whole front of the Western and Eastern Carpathians. The
stacking of thrust sheets was accompanied by compression
oriented perpendicularly to the orogene axis (Figs. 1,
3a,b), generally towards the northeast—east in the Western
and Eastern Carpathians (Kováč et al. 1998). The western-
most part of the Carpathians formed an exception and is
considered inactive since the Middle Badenian. However,
ductile deformations of the Lower Badenian sediments
(one-meter to about ten-meter long folds) were newly doc-
umented near the front of the nappes in the Moravian Gate
at Bělotín and Hranice (Havíř & Otava 2004). In that west-
ern part the Late Badenian paleostress field was marked by
(W) NW-(E) SE extension in the Vienna Basin (Nemčok
1991; Nemčok et al. 1993; Fodor 1995). The Eastern and
Southern Carpathians are characterized by a paleostress

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KOVÁČ et al.

Fig. 3.  Structural pattern of the Carpathian-Pannonian region during the Early (a) and (b) Late Badenian. Explanatory notes: Southern
and Eastern Alps: NCA  – Northern Calcareous Alps, RF – Rhenodanubial Flysch Zone, R – Rechnitz, P – Pohorije Mts. Car-
pathians and Intracarpathians area: A – Apuseni Mts, AU – Audia, M – Macla, C – Convolute Flysch nappes, B – Bükk Mts,
BP – Borislav-Pokuty Nappe, D – Dukla Nappe, MA – Magura Nappe, MF – Marginal Folds Nappe, MK – Malé Karpaty Mts,
PI – Považský Inovec Mts, OD – Outer Dacides, PKB – Pieniny Klippen Belt, S – Silesian Nappe, SC – Subcarpathian Nappe,
SK – Skole, Skiba Nappe, SR – Sambor-Rozniatov Nappe, SS – Subsilesian Nappe, TC – Tarcău Nappe, TCR – Transdanubian
Range, ZD – Ždánice Nappe, W – Waschberg Zone.

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field with NE—SW oriented main compression, which later
in the Southern Carpathians changed to compression ori-
ented NW-SE (Ma enco 1997).

Active thrusting of the Outer Carpathians resulted in

movement of nappes, the Subsilesian and Silesian Units
(from bottom to top) in the northern segment of the West-
ern Carpathians, while the Skole-Skiba and Tarcău Nappes
thrusted over the Borislav-Pokuty and Marginal Fold
Units in the northeastern and in the Eastern Carpathians
(Săndulescu 1988). Uplift of the accretionary wedge was
not continuous along the whole Carpathian loop. The
northern part started to emerge, but the eastern part re-
mained submerged below the sea level, as documented, for
example, by the presence of the Lower Badenian sedi-
ments on the Tarcău Nappe (Micu 1990).

The Carpathian Foredeep development was character-

ized by a migration of depocentres generally from the
West towards the East during the Badenian (Meulenkamp
et al. 1996). The Early Badenian foredeep in Moravia
(westernmost part of the Carpathian Foredeep) originated
as a relatively narrow flexural basin (Central Depression;
e.g. Eliáš 1999), which could be connected with the de-
tachment process of the platform lithosphere after the end
of subduction of its passive margin (Tomek 1999). The
base of deposits is not coeval; the thickness of the sedi-
mentary fill varies greatly from 400 m in the South to
1100 m in the North. Sedimentation started with continen-
tal breccias and sands followed by shallow marine gravels
and sands at first of delta origin. In deeper parts of the
foredeep calcareous clays were deposited. The loading of
nappes caused subsidence, above all in the West and was
followed by transgression over the adjacent margin of the
Bohemian Massif. Deep-water calcareous clays with spo-
radic algal and bryozoan limestones and sandstones in
shallows or elevated places were deposited (Doláková et
al. 2005).

The sediments of the Lower Badenian in the western-

most part of the Carpathian Foredeep are stratigraphically
characterized by Praeorbulina glomerosa circularis
(Blow) and Orbulina suturalis Brönnimann. Nannoplank-
ton with Helicosphaera waltrans Theodoridis indicates
the calcareous nannoplankton NN5 Zone (Švábenická
2002; Ćorić & Švábenická 2004). However, the uppermost
NN4 Zone is possible in the oldest sediments (Grund Fm)
of the Lower Badenian in the Lower Austrian Alpine Mo-
lasse Basin (Ćorić & Rögl 2004). In the Moravian part of
the Foredeep (Czech Republic) the sedimentation already
ended after the Early Badenian (Kováč et al. 1989).

The “Middle Badenian” evaporite event, preceding the

Late Badenian transgression, can be followed from the
North towards East and Southeast along the whole fore-
deep. It is dated to the boundary of the calcareous nanno-
plankton Zones NN5 and NN6, or to the base of NN6 (sen-
su Martini 1971). During the evaporite event mostly
sulphate facies were deposited in shallow littoral parts of
the foredeep, while chloride-sulphate facies developed in
the deepest part of the basin, in front of the accretion
wedge of the Outer Carpathians (Oszczypko & Ślączka
1989; Oszczypko 1997; Petrichenko et al. 1997; Andreye-

va-Grigorovich et al. 1999, 2003; Oszczypko et al. 2006;
Bąbel 2004, 2005). The “Middle Miocene” evaporite dep-
osition is known not only from the Carpathian Foredeep,
but also from the neighbouring intra-Carpathian basins,
such as the Transcarpathian Basin in the North and Tran-
sylvanian Basin in the South (Kováč et al. 1998; Krezsek
& Bally 2006).

After the “Middle Badenian” salinity crisis, telescopic

shortening of the Outer Western Carpathians accretionary
wedge took place and the active orogene front moved
20—30 km towards the northeast (Oszczypko 1997; An-
dreyeva-Grigorovich et al. 1999, 2003). The Late
Badenian Carpathian Foredeep depocentres with maximal
subsidence developed along the Western and Eastern
Carpathians junction, mirroring not only the weight of the
Carpathian thrust stack (Oszczypko 1997), but also the
deep subsurface load of the down-going plate (Krzywiec
1997; Krzywiec & Jochym 1997) and its flexural
deformation (Zoetemeier et al. 1999). The thickness of the
Upper Badenian sedimentary sequences in this region
reaches 2000—2500 m (Meulenkamp et al. 1996; Kováč et
al. 1996; Andreyeva-Grigorovich et al. 1997). The Upper
Badenian sediments in addition to nearshore and offshore
molasse deposits also consist of a large amount of
turbidity current deposits, whose sources of material were
deltas prograding from the uplifted parts of the
accretionary wedge of the Outer Carpathians towards the
foredeep (Oszczypko 1996). Apart from development of
the foredeep depocentres a wide area of the Carpathian
foreland was also flooded, and the shoreline shifted
towards the NE (Fig. 4). The sea also flooded marginal
parts of the Outer Carpathian accretionary wedge, as well
as the northern part of the Magura Nappe (offshore facies
in the Nowy Sącz Basin, see Oszczypko et al. 2006).

For the understanding of the Badenian paleogeographi-

cal setting of the Eastern Carpathians we should consider
that deep-sea, offshore Upper Badenian deposits (radi-
olarian shales and the pteropode-bearing Spiratella marls)
are folded into the Tarcău and Marginal Folds nappes. It
means practically, that some parts of the Moldavides were
still in a sub-marine position during the Late Badenian
(see also Dumitrică et al. 1975; Popescu 1979; Săndulescu
et al. 1981). In fact, the Carpathians did not represent an
important sedimentary source before the Late Sarmatian
either for the foreland (foredeep) or for the back-arc basin
area (Krézsek & Bally 2006). During the Middle Miocene
(Late Badenian—Middle Sarmatian) at least, the present-
day Carpathian bend was submerged, while the northern
part of the Eastern Carpathians and the western part of the
Southern Carpathians may have formed a rather low ele-
vated ridge.

In the central and southern part of the Eastern Car-

pathian Foredeep, the thickness of Badenian sediments is
very variable and depends on the size of the platform flex-
ure. It ranges between 500—1000 m in the North and about
1000—1500 m in the southern part of the foredeep (Săndu-
lescu et al. 1981; Dicea 1995, 1996). The maturity of
sandstones and relatively great amount of clays and silt
clays support the absence of an “active” relief along the

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KOVÁČ et al.

basin margins (Micu 1990). The thickness of the Badenian
deposits covering the Moesian Platform reaches its maxi-
mum (about 500—1000 m) in front of the Southern Car-
pathians (Dicea 1996; Tari et al. 1997).

The Pannonian Basin System (including Vienna and

Transylvanian Basins)

During the Badenian the greatest part of the “Pannonian

back-arc basin area” subsided. However, a narrow belt
North of the Mid-Hungarian Zone was represented by
more or less uplifted areas. Those were the Transdanubian
Range Mts (partly), Bükk Mts, Central and Inner Western
Carpathians (partly). South of the Mid-Hungarian Zone an
archipelago of islands occurred on the Tisza-Dacia micro-
plate, the Apuseni Mts represented the largest island in the
Southeast. The Pannonian Basin System in the Late Bade-
nian was surrounded by the uplifting Eastern Alps in the
West, Western Carpathians in the North (partly), by the is-
lands of the Eastern Carpathians to the East and the South-
ern Carpathians and Dinarides in the South and Southwest
(Figs. 1, 4).

In the hinterland of the Outer Carpathian accretionary

wedge nappe pile, the evolution of the Pannonian back-
arc basin was characterized by variable tectonic styles and
fault mechanisms during the Badenian (Fig. 3a,b). In the
northwestern and western part a number of normal faults of
NNE—SSW to NE—SW orientation were activated, at the
same time bearing the character of sinistral oblique-nor-
mal slip quite often. These faults were partly connected to
low angle detachment faults, which continued to accumu-
late large normal offsets following their Early Miocene
initiation (Tari 1996).

In the southwestern part of the Pannonian Basin System,

in the North Croatian Basin, the NE—SW to ENE—WSW
oriented faults operated during the whole Badenian
(Fig. 3a,b). Similarly the ENE—WSW oriented faults, main-
ly located along the broad Mid-Hungarian shear zone,
gained their left-lateral strike-slip character during the lat-
est Badenian and Sarmatian. These faults, accommodated
the “elongation” of the southern Tisza-Dacia Megaunit,
induced by the still active subduction in front of the East-
ern Carpathian orogene (Csontos 1995; Fodor et al. 1999).

Important crustal stretching of both the Alcapa and Tis-

za-Dacia microplates led to structural unroofing of meta-
morphic core complexes by low-angle detachment faults
(Tari 1996; Tari et al. 1992, 1999). The occurrences of
core complexes (loci of large extension) are located in the
broad transitional zone between the Eastern Alps and Pan-
nonian Basin and ductile to brittle extension exhumed
different parts of the Alpine-Carpathian nappe pile. The
deepest exhumation reached the Penninic Unit in the
Rechnitz window (Dunkl 1992; Tari 1994, 1996; Dunkl &
Demény 1997), while shallower Austroalpine units were
unroofed in the Pohorje (Fodor et al. 2002b, 2003) and in
the Považský Inovec Mts (Plašienka 1995). Deep exhuma-
tion occurred in the eastern part of the Alcapa microplate,
where the “Penninic type” Inatchovce-Kritchevo Unit was

uplifted to the level of Miocene strata in the northern part
of the Transcarpathian Basin (Soták et al. 1993). Exhuma-
tion of metamorphic rocks also associated the develop-
ment of some deep syn-rift grabens below the Great Hun-
garian Plain (Tari et al. 1999).

Related to these extensional or transtensional structures,

syn-rift subsidence continued during the Badenian in sev-
eral major depocentres, including the Vienna, Danube,
Styrian, Zala Basins in the West, North Croatian Basin in
the Southwest, the Makó, Békés, Derecske, etc. Basins in
the central and eastern part of the Pannonian Basin realm
and the Transcarpathian and Transylvanian Basins in the
East. The development of basins was controlled by exten-
sional stress fields (Csontos et al. 1991; Kováč et al.
1994a,b; Fodor et al. 2002a).

In the following section we review major structures and

main depositional settings for some selected sub-basins:

The northwestern, western and southwestern part of the
Pannonian Basin System

During the Badenian, the Vienna and Danube Basins

subsided in a paleostress field with NW-SE to WNW-ESE
oriented extension (Fodor 1995; Tari & Horváth 1995).
The crustal stretching in this direction can be estimated to
range around 40 km (Tari & Horváth 1995). The basins
were limited by NNE trending normal and some NE trend-
ing sinistral-normal faults (Fig. 3a,b). The thickness of the
Badenian syn-rift deposits attains 1000—1500 m in both
basins (Horváth 1995; Kováč et al. 1997b; Eliseeva et al.

In the Vienna Basin, the Lower Badenian deposits dis-

cordantly overlie the older Miocene strata and the pre-
Neogene basement. They are represented by marine sedi-
ments of the Lower and Upper Lagenidae Zones,
overlapped by the paleo Danube river delta (Matzen
Sand) in the West. The nearshore facies of the NE basin
margin are built up from conglomerates and sandstones
(Špička 1969; Kováč et al. 1991a,b). In the South, the
Early Badenian sedimentation started again discordantly
with the deposition of the Aderklaa Conglomerate, indi-
cating a braided river system similar to the Jablonica
Formation in the North (Weissenbäck 1996). The
offshore facies is represented by neritic calcareous clays,
reaching up to 800 m in thickness (Špička 1969). In the
northern Vienna Basin this tectonically controlled
transgression is marked by the FAD of Orbulina suturalis
inside the NN5 calcareous nannoplankton Zone
(Andreyeva-Grigorovich et al. 2001). The overlying stra-
ta consist of 500—800 m thick neritic clays and siltstones
(Špička 1969). They have been placed in the “Middle
Badenian”  Spirorutilus carinatus Zone. The marginal fa-
cies is represended by gravels, sands and variegated
clays in the Northwest and West (thickness  ~ 1000 m), at
the northeastern basin margin 200—400 m thick alluvial
fans and debris aprons were deposited (Vass et al. 1988a;
Zlinská 1992a). Algal limestones and bioherms were
formed at intrabasinal elevations (Láb elevation, see
Špička 1969). The Leitha Mts in the southern Vienna Ba-

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sin were completely covered by the sea allowing the
growth of thick corallinacean limestone beds (Leitha
Platform and marine shoals, see Schmid et al. 2001) with
scattered coral carpets (Riegl & Piller 2000). Consider-
able sea-level fluctuations and phases of emersion of the
carbonate platform are indicated by breccias, vadose silt,
vadose leaching and caliche formation as described by
Dullo (1983) and Schmid et al. (2001).

The Late Badenian flooding in the Vienna Basin is

correlated with the FAD of the planktonic foraminiferal
genus  Velapertina and the common appearance of the
benthic  Pappina neudorfensis within the nannoplankton
Zone NN6. The sedimentation of the Bulimina-Bolivina
Zone  started with transgressive facies of siliciclastics
(silts, sands, conglomerates) with algal bioherms along
the NE margin of the basin (Baráth et al. 1994). The off-
shore facies, deposited in a neritic environment, were in-
fluenced by stratification of the water column and anoxic
conditions near the bottom. Mostly calcareous clays
were deposited, reaching a thickness of 400—600 m
(Špička 1969). The Leitha Mts were still covered by
water allowing the growth of thick corallinacean lime-
stone beds with coral carpets (Strauss et al. 2006).  After a
sea-level drop at the Badenian/Sarmatian boundary the
Leitha Mts and their Badenian sedimentary cover
became exposed and the mountain ridge became once
again an island until the withdrawal of the Lake Pannon
during the late Pannonian.

The opening of the Danube Basin (Little Hungarian

Plain, Danube Lowlands) is first documented by the dep-
osition of terrestrial and fluvial sediments in the central
part of the present basin. Deposits reach a thickness of up
to 500 m near Győr. These terrestrial deposits were previ-
ously thought to be of Karpatian age, however, the oldest
marine deposits overlying them are related to the late
Lower Badenian, that is to the Upper Lagenidae Zone
with rich Orbulina suturalis assemblages and NN5 Zone
nannofossils. Therefore, one can suspect, that these terres-
trial sediments ranging from a few tens to few hundreds
meters, could have rather been deposited during the earli-
est Badenian.

The Karpatian fluvial Ligeterdő Formation at the west-

ern margin of the basin (see Császár 1997) is paleogeo-
graphically related to the Eisenstadt—Sopron embayment
of the Vienna Basin, since the s.s. Danube Basin and the
Eisenstadt—Sopron embayment were separated by the ele-
vated Mihályi-ridge during the whole Badenian. On the
other hand, the Ligeterdő Formation is regarded as time-
equivalent of the fluvial conglomerates and sandstones of
the Karpatian—Lower Badenian Jablonica Formation in
the northern part of the Danube and Vienna Basins, as well
as to the Lower Badenian Aderklaa Conglomerate in Aus-
tria (Kováč et al. 1997a, 2004).

At the end of the Early Miocene, close to the Karpatian/

Badenian boundary the calc-alkaline volcanism started on
the northern rim of the Danube Basin. This volcanism
(Rusovce, Krá ová, Šurany stratovolcanoes) was associat-
ed with the back-arc extension (Hrušecký et al. 1996) and
is covered by the “Middle” to Upper Badenian basin fill.

The Lower Badenian shallow marine to neritic deposits

of the Upper Lagenidae Zone are known only from the
deepest parts of the southern and central Danube Basin
and from the northeastern part of the basin, filling the
Želiezovce Depression in front of the Transdanubian
Range Mts. The transgressive, littoral conglomerates and
sandstones pass towards the basin centre into neritic cal-
careous clays and siltstones reaching 500 m in thickness
(Keith et al. 1994). The “Middle” and Upper Badenian
sediments of the Spirorutilus carinatus and Bulimina—Bo-
livina  Zones occur in the entire Danube Basin. Transgres-
sion is dated by the foraminiferal association Praeorbuli-
na together with Orbulina  inside of the nannoplankton
NN5 Zone (Zlinská & Halásová 1999; Andreyeva-Grigoro-
vich & Halásová 2000). They were deposited in a neritic
environment where salinity as well as depth continuously
decreased toward the end of the Late Badenian (Kováč et
al. 2001). In the northwestern part of the basin, the off-
shore facies is represented by clays, siltstones and sand-
stones reaching a thickness of up to 3000 m (Adam & Dla-
bač 1969; Fordinál et al. 2002). In the eastern part of the
basin, in the Komjatice Depression, sediments of similar
facies were deposited, differing mainly in the occurrence
of volcaniclastics and also including algal bioherms. The
Badenian sediments are about 2000 m thick here (Nagy et
al. 1998). In the main axis of the basin clayey marls were
deposited in a deep marine environment. On the sub-
merged flanks of the Transdanubian Range, at the SE ba-
sin margin, large patches of Upper Badenian algal lime-
stones occur (Rákos Limestone, see Császár 1997). The
Pásztori trachyalkaline volcano in the basin center erupt-
ed first during the Late Badenian and its activity lasted till
the early Pannonian (see Császár 1997).

The southern and central parts of the Transdanubian

Range  represented the emerged edge of large tilted fault
block of the southern Danube Basin (Fig. 4). However, the
particularity of the internal deformation of the range is
that some WNW trending dextral-transtensional faults
were present and bounded some local depressions (Kókay
1966, 1976; Mészáros 1982). Badenian sediment thick-
ness is small and sedimentation occurred only in confined
small depressions and along the rim of the range (Selmeczi
1989; Dudko et al. 1992; Budai et al. 1999). The shallow
marine sedimentation was often mixed with deltaic to ter-
restrial deposition.

The tectonic evolution of the Styrian Basin situated

in the foothills of the Eastern Alps can be characterized
by termination of the Early Miocene synrift phase during
the so-called “Styrian Tectonic Phase”. This event led to
a shallowing and finally to tilting of the upper Karpatian
sediments. In marginal areas considerable erosion took
place and the Badenian deposits are separated by a dis-
tinct angular unconformity. The andesitic and shoshonit-
ic volcanism of the Styrian Basin continued from the
Karpatian up the Early Badenian (Ebner & Sachsenhofer

The Early Badenian marine ingression started already in

the late NN4 Zone of calcareous nannoplankton, with the
occurrence of Praeorbulina sicana, followed by a major

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KOVÁČ et al.

transgression event within NN5 and the co-occurrence of
P. glomerosa circularis (Rögl et al. 2002). These trans-
gressions led to the establishment of shallow marine con-
ditions with widespread patch-reefs and corallinacean
limestones along shorelines and swells (Friebe 1990). Sub-
littoral to fairly deep water marly and pelitic sediments
were deposited in the basin and graben structures (Spezza-
ferri et al. 2004). The Badenian sediment thickness in the
subbasins varies from a few hundred meters to about
750 m in general (Kollmann 1965). In deep structures,
such as the deep-well Perbersdorf-1, the Badenian marine
sediments attain a thickness of more than 1300 m, and a
Badenian basal conglomerate of variable thickness. A ma-
jor drop of the relative sea level occurred at the Badenian/
Sarmatian boundary (Sachsenhofer et al. 1996).

The Fohnsdorf Basin and Lavanttal Basin formed

West, Northwest of the Styrian Basin at a junction of two
strike-slip fault systems (Sachsenhofer et al. 2000; Strauss
et al. 2003). These fault systems, the sinistral ENE-WSW

trending Mur-Mürz-Fault System and the dextral NNW-
SSE trending Pöls-Lavanttal-Fault System form the border
of the escaping crustal wedge which hosts the Styrian Ba-
sin (Figs. 3a, 4). During the Badenian, the Fohnsdorf Basin
experienced a half-graben stage and was covered by flood
plain and lacustrine fan delta environments. These imma-
ture conglomerates and sandstones were united in the
Apfelberg Formation by Straus et al. (2003). The Lavanttal
Basin situated west of the Styrian Basin, is a pull-apart ba-
sin between the crystalline of the Saualpe and Koralpe.
Sedimentation started with Karpatian continental beds. At
the Early/Middle Miocene boundary the basin geometry
changed considerably due to the activation of the Pöls-La-
vanttal-Fault System resulting in a 27 km long NNW-SSE
trending basin. Consequently, the Lower Badenian is sep-
arated by an unconformity. Diverse mollusc and foramin-
iferal fauna derived from the marls of the Lower Badenian
indicate a marine ingression. This short-lived connection
to the Paratethys ceased during the Middle and Late Bade-

Fig. 4. Paleogeographical-palinspastic map of the Central Paratethys during the Late Badenian (early Serravallian—Late Badenian—
Konkian (13.6—12.7 Ma)).

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nian when fluvial-lacustrine environments became in-
stalled, but was rejuvenated during the Lower Sarmatian.

In the Southwest, extension also controlled subsidence

in the Mura-Zala Basin, where, near Budafa, the Bade-
nian marine deposits are up to 1000 m thick (Horváth
1995). The Early Badenian deformation of the basin was
marked by ENE-WSW extension (Fig. 3a,b). The presence
of low-angle normal faults both in the Pohorje Mts and in
the Murska Sobota High and the associated high-angle
normal faults induced the formation of a considerable
thickness of more than 500 meters. The high-angle normal
faults propagated through the previously deposited thick
Karpatian syn-rift sequence. The sedimentation occurred
in half grabens that reached several hundreds of meters in
depth (Márton et al. 2002; Jelen & Rifelj 2005). In the
deep grabens deposited neritic marls often intercalated by
turbidity flows, derived from the uplifted basin margins.
On the other hand, carbonate build-ups have occupied the
shallow marine environments, generally near fault-block
edges (Kőrössy 1988; Fodor et al. 2002a). The Middle and
Late Badenian are charaterized by decreasing water depth,
probably due to the decrease or complete cessation of

The  North Croatian Basin  (Drava and Sava Depres-

sions) opened in the Early Miocene along WNW-ESE
faults, as elongated half-grabens with continuous alluvial,
lacustrine to marine offshore sedimentation (Kováč et al.
2003). The sea-level fall at the end of the Karpatian marks
the onset of uplift resulting from rotation of the fault
blocks. Fault block crests were thus uplifted above the sea
level and strongly eroded, and large quantities of the
mostly coarse-grained syn-rift deposits were resedimented
particularly in the marine shallows during the Early Bade-
nian transgression. The uplift was contemporaneous with
sinistral NE-SW strike-slip faulting (Fig. 3a,b) transverse-
to-oblique to the master WNW-ESE elongated structures
(Jamičić 1995; Prelogović et al. 1995). These faults disin-
tegrated the elongated half-graben structures, and in this
way reduced the effects of the uplift in some parts of the
blocks, and resulted in continuous Karpatian to Badenian
sedimentation (Pavelić et al. 1998; Velić et al. 2000).
Contemporaneously with erosion of the uplifted blocks,
intensive volcanic activity was initiated in the Early Bad-
enian, which resulted in a large quantity of volcanic rocks
a few hundred to more than a thousand meters thick in the
Drava Depression and in the northwesterly-located Mura
Depression. The geochemical properties of the volcanic
rocks indicate partial melting of the continental crust ma-
terial (Pamić et al. 1995). That volcanic activity reflects
the climax of the syn-rift phase (Pavelić 2001; Pavelić et
al. 2003a).

The Early Badenian transgression followed the uplift of

the blocks (Pavelić et al. 1998; Saftić et al. 2003). Predom-
inance of the eustatic sea-level rise over the tectonic uplift
resulted in deepening from the newly formed shallow-wa-
ter to offshore environment during a relatively short peri-
od. The Late Badenian sea-level rise, which resulted in the
final flooding of all the uplifted blocks and deposition of
coarse-grained clastics followed by shallow-water algal

limestones, and offshore mostly fine-grained material, in-
fluenced the entire North Croatian Basin. The end of the
Late Badenian is characterized by regression that caused
shallowing of environments and local emersion.

In the Mecsek Mts area, situated at the southwestern

margin of the back-arc basin system, a paleostress field
with main compression in NE—SW direction was docu-
mented during the Badenian (Csontos et al. 1991).

The central part of the Pannonian Basin System

The  Western Carpathians intra-mountain depres-

sions inside the Western Carpathian orogene, filled with
500—1000 m  thick volcano-sedimentary deposits, subsid-
ed in a paleostress field with NW-SE extension during the
Badenian (Hók et al. 1995). NW-SE extension was also
documented from the southern slopes of the Western Car-
pathians in the South Slovakia—North Hungary sedimenta-
ry area (Vass et al. 1993).

South Slovakia—North Hungary: the 


Nógrád Basin (Figs. 1, 4) is located in the hinterland of the
Western Carpathian mountain chain, outlined by Trans-
danubian Range units from the West, by units of Bükk
Mts from the East and by the Mid-Hungarian fault zone
from the South (the area is also called North Hungarian
Range Mts). The Miocene basin subsidence reached its
maximum during the Karpatian, followed by rapid regres-
sion of the sea, uplift and erosion, synchronously with
widespread calc-alkaline volcanism. The Early Badenian
transgressive sediments are represented by littoral and del-
taic deposits (Vass et al. 1979; Vass 2002). They consist
mainly of sandstones with volcaniclastic admixture con-
taining shallow marine fauna. Sedimentary textures (vari-
ous types of cross-bedding) indicate a sedimentary envi-
ronment where the deposition was controlled by the
dynamics of tidal movements. Segmentation of coastline
led to development of various depositional systems. Be-
sides tidal platforms and sandy barrier complexes occur-
rences of deltas, lagoons and carbonate bioherms are also
indicated. Regression of the sea, due to volcanic activity,
is documented by presence of marine fauna in lahars,
which entered the littoral environment from the volcanic
slope. After calming of volcanic eruptions tuffaceous de-
posits containing Early Badenian marine fauna with fora-
miniferal association Praeorbulina together with Orbuli-
na  within the nannoplankton NN5 Zone were deposited
(Vass 2002). After this episode the sea definitely regressed
from the South Slovakia even during the Early Badenian.
The area became dry land with contrasting vertical move-
ments of blocks outlined by faults with NW, NNW and NE
strikes (Vass 1988b). Volcanic products (andesite volcani-
clastics) built up the Krupinská planina Mts and Pokoradz-
ská tabu a Platform.

Sub-basins within the North Hungarian Range are

marked by a pronounced change in stress field, from
NE-SW to ESE-WNW oriented tension (Csontos et al.
1991; Fodor et al. 1999). The earlier deformation resulted
in the formation of NW trending and the younger in NNE
trending normal faults with some ENE trending sinistral

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KOVÁČ et al.

faults. Carbonate sedimentation dominated shallow ma-
rine depositional environments along tilted fault blocks
and around the fringes of volcanoes (Börzsöny and Mátra
Mountains). Neritic marl, siltstone or clay were deposited
in deeper parts of half-grabens. The carbonate-clastic
sediments were intercalated or completely replaced by
different volcaniclastics and/or lava flows.

The transtensional character of the Mid-Hungarian Zone

is documented by the presence of localized depressions,
which might have pull-apart characteristics; probably the
best example is the Derecske Basin (Figs. 1, 3b) that
opened along left lateral strike slip faults in the northwest-
ern part of the Great Hungarian Plain (Csontos 1995;
Windhoffer et al. 2005). Similarly, the Jászság Depression
can be regarded as a pull-apart basin, although its detailed
seismic analysis is still not published (Fig. 1).

South of the Mid-Hungarian Zone, in the area of the

Great Hungarian Plain the shallow sea flooded pre-Neo-
gene basement built up by the Tisza microplate units.
Badenian crustal extension contributed to exhumation of
metamorphic rocks below the Great Hungarian Plain (Tari
et al. 1999). The low-angle detachment faults were con-
nected to high-angle normal faults and permitted subsid-
ence in some large grabens (Figs. 1, 3a,b). Grabens were
asymmetric and had major boundary faults with changing
polarity across the graben system (Györfi & Csontos
1994). Some of the grabens extended into the Apuseni
Mts area and have actual surface expression (Györfi et al.
1999). The grabens were connected with strike-slip faults,
which played the role of transfer faults accommodating
differential extension near normal fault tips.

Two major depressions of the Great Hungarian Plain

(Eastern Hungary), the Békés Basin and the Makó
Trough seem to be formed due to low-angle detachment
fault activity. All these basins show a quite uniform strati-
graphical built-up during the Badenian (Császár 1997).
The series starts with a few 10 to 100 meters of terrestrial
deposits determined traditionally as Karpatian in age, but
which very probably belong to the Early Badenian simi-
larly to the situation in the Danube Basin. Sediments be-
longing to the Upper Lagenidae Zone (late Early Bade-
nian with the planktonic foraminiferal genus Orbulina)
are represented by transgressive conglomerates and sand-
stones and are overlain by the pelitic, offshore clays. Both
series are interbedded with frequent tuffitic intercalations.
While the time-span of sedimentation covers the “Middle”
and Late Badenian as well, the amount of coarse terrige-
nous input diminished upwards in these basins due to the
growing extension of the sea. During the Late Badenian
this part of the Pannonian Basin System was an archipela-
go, it might have looked rather similar to the recent Ae-
gean Sea. As a consequence of the lack of coarse terrige-
nous material, on the shallow sub-littoral ramps algal
limestones were deposited as well as rare small reef-com-
plexes during the “Middle” and Late Badenian.

The supposed thickness of the Badenian marly sedimen-

tary pile in the axis of grabens exceeds 1000 m (based on
geophysical data). However revision of the deepest Hun-
garian well Hód 1 in the Makó Trough does not confirm

this and the whole sequence penetrated here documents
only the Pannonian age of the sedimentary fill (Szuromi-
Korecz et al. 2004), the Badenian beds should be well
below this. The Pannonian sediments often contain in the
lower part of the drilling redeposited Badenian fauna, also
recorded from the graben margins. These margins were
covered barely by thin clastic to carbonatic sediments
during the Badenian.

In contrast to these deep depressions or sub basins

(Derecske – 4000 m, Jászság – 3000 m, Békés –
5000 m, Makó – 7000 m of Neogene fill) some parts of
the Great Hungarian Plain were flooded by shallow sea or
they remained in an elevated position. The Badenian sub-
sidence was moderate here, similarly to the Sarmatian one
when erosion is also reported from many places (Horváth
1993; Meulenkamp et al. 1996). This fact can be connect-
ed with the asthenospheric mantle upheaval followed by
general uplift of the back-arc basin center (Fig. 2), and as-
sociated with subsidence in its marginal parts (depocen-
tres e.g. Danube, Drava and Sava Basins, Makó Trough,
Békés and Nyírség Basins). In contrast to this trend, in
some parts of central Hungary, for example in the Budap-
est region, the basin subsidence started only in the “Mid-
dle” Badenian and only a few 100 meters of sediments
were deposited during the Late Badenian in this area.

A major depression in NE Hungary, the Nyírség Basin

was filled up mostly by volcanic rocks whose amount in-
creased upwards during the Badenian and Sarmatian (Sza-
bó et al. 1992; Pécskay et al., in print). This basin mirrors
the development of the eastern part of the Pannonian Basin.

The eastern part of the Pannonian Basin System

Transcarpathian and Transylvanian Basins

The  Transcarpathian Depression (East Slovak, So-

lotvino and Mukachevo Basins) developed on the eastern
part of the Alcapa microplate on a basement consisting of
the Western and Eastern Carpathian units (Fig. 1). Paleo-
stress field changes are connected with the development
of the Outer Carpathian accretionary wedge, as well as de-
formations in the back-arc location. The paleostress field
can be characterized at first by NE—SW extension, which
changed to NW—SE extension during the Late Badenian
(Vass et al. 1988b; Kováč M. et al. 1994, 1995; Kováč P.
et al. 1994). It is important to note, that due to rapid sub-
sidence more than 2000 m of deltaic to shallow marine
sediments were deposited during the Late Badenian (Vass
& Čverčko 1985).

The East Slovak Basin is situated in the NE part of the

Transcarpathian Depression. The Lower Badenian sedi-
mentation in the central and eastern part of the basin is
represented by marine volcano-sedimentary deposits
reaching a thickness of 500—600 m (Vass & Čverčko
1985). Along the western margin of the basin the Karpa-
tian offshore clays pass into the Lower Badenian clays and
silts, containing rich redepositions of the Karpatian micro-
fauna in its basal part (Karoli & Zlinská 1988; Kaličiak et
al. 1991, 1992). The sedimentation continued into the

background image



“Middle” Badenian. In the central part of the basin, silts,
clays and sandstones with sporadic tuff and tuffitic layers
reach a thickness of 500—600 m (Vass & Čverčko 1985).
The sandy material was transported from the NE, derived
from the Outer Carpathians accretionary complex. The
sedimentary environment of the East Slovak Basin contin-
uously changed from deep- to shallow water (Zlinská
1992b) and finally is characterized by deposition of la-
goonal evaporites of the Zbudza Formation (Karoli 1993).

The Late Badenian transgression reached the East Slo-

vak Basin from the South. The basin formation in this time
was accompanied by a wide delta system development,
entering the basin from the NW. The deltaic body repre-
sents up to 1700 m thick shallow water deposits of delta
platform and delta front, whose deposition also continued
during the Sarmatian (Vass & Čverčko 1985). The config-
uration of delta lobes was controlled by syn-sedimentary
tectonics, along NE—SW to ENE—WSW striking oblique
normal faults (Kováč 2000). The delta plain and delta
front deposits pass into offshore pelites. Dark calcareous
clays, siltstones with scarce sandstone intercalations are
1000—2000 m thick in the SE part of the basin (Vass &
Čverčko 1985).

In the Transcarpathian Depression in the Ukraine, the

Lower Badenian is represented by the Tereshul Conglom-
erate with Orbulina suturalis in matrix (Venglinskij
1985); the Novoselytsa Formation and the lower part of
Tereblya Formation, belonging to the NN5 Zone of calcar-
eous nannoplankton (Andreyeva-Grigorovich et al. 1997).
These deposits can be correlated with the volcano-sedi-
mentary Lower Badenian and the “Middle” Badenian sed-
iments in the East Slovak Basin. The Late Badenian (NN6
Zone) is represented by the upper part of the Tereblya, So-
lotvino and lower part of the Teresva Formations, built up
mainly by calcareous clays, siltstones with scarce sand-
stone intercalations deposited in a neritic environment in-
fluenced by stratification of the water column and anoxic
conditions near the bottom. According to nannoplankton
data the upper part of the Teresva Formation belongs to
the Sarmatian.

The Transylvanian Basin represents, in a broad sense, a

post-Cenomanian sedimentary basin that developed on
top of the mid-Cretaceous nappes in the eastern part of the
Tisza-Dacia microplate, on Median and Inner Dacides
(Săndulescu 1988). The basin’s relatively thick continen-
tal crust and low surface heat flow contrasts with the
thinned continental crust and high heat flow in the Pan-
nonian Basin. While most of the intra-Carpathian basins
had a typical back-arc evolution, the Transylvanian Ba-
sin’s tectonic and sedimentary history was different
(Krézsek & Filipescu 2005; Krézsek & Bally 2006).

The Badenian sedimentation took place in a “back-arc

setting”, and produced normal marine, evaporitic and vol-
cano-sedimentary sequences, reaching thicknesses of more
than 1500 m (Ciupagea et al. 1970). No extensional or salt
tectonics related faults are known so far. The basin devel-
oped under a paleostress field with NE-SW or N-S oriented
main compression (Ciulavu 1999; Ciulavu et al. 2000),
with a high rate of subsidence between the Late Badenian

and Pannonian. Several models of tectonic mechanisms,
responsible for basin subsidence, were proposed (Royden
1988; Ciulavu 1999; Huismans 1999; Sanders 1999).
Wide connections with the other Paratethyan basins exist-
ed during the Badenian, but the progressive rise of the
Carpathian Chain restricted times the connections towards
East several times.

The Lower Badenian sedimentary formations are silici-

clastic, volcano-sedimentary and carbonatic (Filipescu
2001a). The foraminiferal assemblages belong to the Prae-
orbulina glomerosa, Orbulina suturalis and Lagenidae
Zones. The “Middle Badenian” transgressive event (Glo-
boturborotalita druryi—Globigerinopsis grilli Zone), was
followed by evaporitic conditions which generated salt
deposition in the deeper areas and gypsum on the western
border of the basin. The Upper Badenian (Velapertina
Zone) is mainly siliciclastic, deposited in deep marine
conditions. The asymmetric subsidence of the basin pro-
duced more accommodation space towards the Car-
pathians, while closer to the Apuseni Mts the basin experi-
enced starved conditions (Krézsek & Filipescu 2005).

Volcanic tuffs (e.g. Dej Tuff), resulting from the mag-

matic activity related to the subduction in the Eastern Car-
pathians and volcanism in the Apuseni Mts, are also used
as markers for lithostratigraphic correlations (Mârza &
Mészáros 1991; Pécskay et al. 1995). Their chemical char-
acter changed progressively from rhyolites (Badenian) to
dacites (in the Sarmatian).

Volcanic activity in the Alpine-Carpathian-

Pannonian domain

The Middle Miocene development of the intra-Car-

pathian area was associated with voluminous Badenian
volcanic activity. On the basis of spatial distribution, rela-
tion to tectonics, compositional features and assumed pet-
rological models, the following volcanic groups were dis-
tinguished: (1) indirectly related to subduction and to
asthenospheric mantle diapirism and a group (2) directly
related to subduction (Lexa et al. 1993; Konečný et al.

Badenian to Sarmatian areal type (extension related)

rhyolitic and andesite volcanics are known from the
southwestern, northwestern, central and northeasten part
of the back-arc basin region, from the Miocene fill of the
Drava, Styrian and Danube Basins, Central Slovak Volca-
nic Field, from Visegrád-Dunazug, Börzsöny, Cserhát,
Mátra, Tokaj and Slánske Mountains and from the Nyírség
Basin (Szabó et al. 1992; Hrušecký et al. 1993; Lexa et al.
1993; Mattic et al. 1996; Pécskay et al. 2006). Volcanics
of the same type and age are also known from boreholes,
buried deeply along the Mid-Hungarian fault Zone (Ze-
lenka et al. 2004).

The arc type (subduction related) volcanic centres in the

eastern part of the Pannonian back-arc basin are situated
in the hinterland of the Eastern Carpathians in the Vihor-
lat, Gutin, Calimani, Ghiurgeni, Harghita Mts as well as in
the partly buried Zemplín-Berehovo zone and the Nyírség

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KOVÁČ et al.

Basin (Nemesi et al. 1996). The activity of these volcan-
isms during the Late Badenian and Early Sarmatian was
related to subduction in front of the Carpathians (Lexa et
al. 1993; Downes et al. 1995a) and allows estimation of
the size of the down-going plate before its breakdown to
200 km length maximally (Konečný et al. 2002).

In addition the Western Carpathian andesite volcanism

along the Pieniny Klippen Belt zone in Moravia (Czech
Republic) in the West and in Poland in the North (Birken-
majer & Pécskay 2000; Birkenmajer et al. 2004) can be re-
lated to an extension as well as to a subduction process.

The above-mentioned facts point to very important geo-

dynamical factors, which influenced the development and
paleogeography of the Carpathian orogene and the Pan-
nonian back-arc basin system. It was the subduction,
which ended much earlier in the northern front of the Car-
pathians (Western Carpathians) and inhibited or caused
earlier rising of the asthenospheric mantle in the western
and central part of the Pannonian back-arc basin (Danube,
Styrian and Drava Basins, Great Hungarian Plain, etc.) dur-
ing the Badenian – that is at the same time that the sub-
duction pull in the East was controlling the formation of the
Transcarpathian and Transylvanian Basins, as well as the
formation of the Eastern Carpathian accretionary wedge.
The Transcarpathian Basin started to develop under the in-
fluence of the rising of the asthenospheric mantle, whereas
the Transylvanian Basin does not show such features.

Paleogeography, climate, global, regional and local

sea-level changes in the Central Paratethys Sea

during the Badenian

The paleogeography of the Central Paratethys during

the  Early Badenian (Langhian) is characterized by trans-
gressions reaching the Pannonian Basin System (includ-
ing the Vienna and Transylvanian Basins) and continuing
toward the Carpathian Foredeep (Fig. 5). The sea flooding
from the Mediterranean via Slovenia and northern Croatia
(Transtethyan Trench Corridor or Trans Dinaride Corridor,
see Bistricic & Jenko 1985; Rijavec 1985) to the Styrian
Basin might have led across the Vienna Basin on the
West, along the Mid-Hungarian Zone in central part of the
Pannonian realm and along straits in the Carpathian
mountain chain, which started to emerge in this period es-
pecially in the North and Northeast. Anyhow, detailed
analysis of the Badenian deposits of the Eastern Car-
pathians show that the mountains themselves did not exist
at that time, only a minor chain of islands can be sup-
posed, dissected by several sea-corridors enhancing the
faunal migrations between the Carpathian Foredeep and
back-arc basins.

The “Middle Badenian” isolation of the Carpathian

Foredeep, Transcarpatian and Transylvanian Basins, situ-
ated in the eastern part of the back-arc basin domain
caused a wide salinity crisis in the Central Paratethys.
Thick evaporite sediments, above all table salt and gyp-
sum were deposited (Ney et al. 1974; Săndulescu 1988).
This regional sea-level fall was correlated with the global

sea-level fall during the TB 2.4 cycle and in some places
with the lowstand at the beginning of the TB 2.5 cycle
(sensu Haq 1991; Rögl 1998; Kováč 2000; Krézsek &
Filipescu 2005), and was positioned at the end of the cal-
careous nannoplankton NN5 Zone and the beginning of
the NN6 Zone.

The new magnetostratigraphic investigation in the East

Slovak Basin (Túnyi et al. 2005) allowed correlation of
the “Middle Badenian” salt deposits of the Zbudza Forma-
tion with the magnetic time-scale (Berggren et al. 1995).
The most probable variant of correlation suggests, that the
formation is coeval with Chrons C5ADr p.p., C5ADn,
C5ACr, C5ACn, C5ABr, C5ABn and its numerical age is
14.7—13.3 Ma. The duration of the salinity crisis of around
1.4 million years in the East Slovak Basin seems to be
very long (principally covering the whole TB 2.4 cycle
time interval) and does not fit with the results of bios-
tratigraphy, because the salt deposits are situated between
agglutinated foraminiferal Spirorutilus carinatus or Glo-
boturborotalita druryi—Globigerinopsis grilli Zones up-
per part and the lower part of the Bulimina—Bolivina Zone.

The Late Badenian (early Serravallian) is a short time

interval but very important from a paleogeographical
point of view for the Central Paratethys. It represents the
latest full marine flooding (transgression) of the whole
back-arc basin (including the Vienna and Transylvanian
Basins), a great part of the Carpathian Foredeep and a far-
reaching area over the East European Platform – Podo-
lian Massif as well (Fig. 4). The Bulimina—Bolivina Zone
marine environment can be regarded as being affected by
stress factors such as stratification of the water column and
hypoxic conditions at the basin bottom in the whole Cen-
tral Paratethys.

The main problem is to create a model of sea connec-

tions, because some authors consider the western Trans-
tethyan Corridor (Trans Dinaride Corridor) to be closed  at
that time (Rögl & Steininger 1983; Massari 1990) and hy-
potheses about a connection with the Eastern Mediterra-
nean via the southeast – perhaps the Vardar Corridor
through the Axios Valley are still controversal (Rögl
1998; Studencka et al. 1998).

Andreyeva-Grigorovich & Nosovskiy (1976), Kókay

(1985), Nosovskiy & Andreyeva-Grigorovich (1978), Stu-
dencka et al. (1998) and others, speculate about a short
living connection between the Central and Eastern Parat-
ethys basins during the Late Badenian (early Konkian),
when the Eastern Paratethys gained an input of marine
faunal elements living in normal salinity conditions
(Nevesskaya et al. 1986, 1987; Studencka et al. 1998), due
to a sea connection through the re-opened Middle Araks
Strait (see  Gontsharova & Shcherba 1997) Eastern Georgia
and the Caspian region towards the Eastern Mediterranean
(Fig. 5). The return of the sea in the Eastern Paratethys dur-
ing the Konkian led to its recolonization by marine fauna.
No Chokrakian genus survived the Karaganian crisis
(roughly corresponding to the “Middle Badenian” salinity
crisis in the Central Paratethys). Therefore, the Konkian
fauna consists predominantly of species that had survived
in areas adjacent to the Eastern Paratethys, and reinvaded

background image



it during the Konkian transgression. The newcomers with-
in the bivalve fauna are clearly related to faunas in the
Mediterranean and Central Paratethys provinces (Studenc-
ka et al. 1998). The species restricted to the Paratethyan
Province constitute more than 20 % of the Konkian fauna
and they are good evidence of faunal interchange between
both parts of the Paratethys during the latest Badenian (cf.
Kókay 1985; Studencka et al. 1998).

This hypothesis, however, was also interpreted in opposite sense.

In fact, well-documented fossil mollusc taxa prove the short, tem-
poral connection between Central and Eastern Paratethys and the
faunal exchange from Central towards Eastern Paratethys and vice
versa at the very end of the Late Badenian as well (Kókay 1984).

In spite of this the Late Badenian marine fauna in the

Transylvanian Basin and in the Eastern Carpathian Fore-
deep, as the nearest regions to the Eastern Paratethys, has
an open marine character with sedimentation of radiolar-

Fig. 5a,b,c,d. Central Paratethys Sea connections, migration of new marine fauna and flora (transgressions) from the Mediterranean to-
wards the Central Paratethys area during the Badenian.

ites and Spirialis marls situated above the evaporite de-
posits. According to Barwicz-Piskorz (1981, 1999), the as-
semblages derived from the radiolarian horizon belong to
the  Dorcadospyris alata Zone in zonal scheme of Sanfil-
ippo et al. (1985) for the Mediterranean and corresponds
to the basal part of the NN6 Zone of calcareous nano-
plankton (sensu Martini 1971). Distinct species of calcare-
ous nannoplankton and radiolaria also show an affinity to
the Indo-Pacific bioprovince (Dumitrică et al. 1975; Rögl
& Müller 1976; Popescu 1979).

The results achieved in the Miocene paleoceanography

of the Central Paratethys Sea corroborate an assumption
that the Karpatian two-layer estuarine water circulation
principially changed in the Early Badenian to an antiestu-
arine, Mediterranean type (Brzobohatý 1987; Báldi 2006).
Instead of the Karpatian “shallow water outflow” a water
regime with the principle of antiestuarine (lagoonal) circu-
lation, with assumed “shallow water inflow” from the

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KOVÁČ et al.

Mediterranean, started during the Early Badenian. In the
Late Badenian circulation possibly changed back to estu-
arine, with characteristic “shallow water outflow”, which
is well correlative with stratification of water column and
hypoxic conditions near the bottom of basins. The pro-
posed model of two-layer circulation of the Central Para-
tethys Sea brine fits well with climatic conditions and in-
tensified accumulation of light marine organic matter
during the Late Badenian (Báldi 2006).

The Badenian  climate of the Central Paratethys

realm can be characterized as fairly uniform and repre-
sents a part of the Miocene Climatic Optimum (Sitár &
Kováčová-Slamková 1999; Böhme 2003; Slamková &
Doláková 2004; Kvaček et al. 2006). The Lower Badenian
sediments contain a maximum of foraminiferal genera (cf.
Cicha et al. 1998; Ćorić et al. 2004) and are characterized
by a highly diversified mollusc fauna and algal limestone
deposition (Studencka et al. 1998; Filipescu 2001a;
Harzhauser et al. 2003) reflecting a stable subtropical ma-
rine environment. The faunal associations are quite similar
inside the Pannonian Basin System (from the Vienna to
the Transylvanian Basin) as well as in the Carpathian
Foredeep. A slight N-S gradient, however, seems to be ex-
pressed even in the Early Badenian by a maximum of ther-
mophilic taxa (e.g. among the gastropod genus Strombus)
in the southern basins, which are missing further to the
north and northeast (Harzhauser et al. 2003), and by the
decreasing diversity of some codfishes (gadoids) in a N-S
direction (Brzobohatý et al., in print). In addition, the oc-
currence of coral build-ups is limited to the southern ba-
sins. Only one small patch reef has been recorded in the
Polish Carpathian Foredeep (i.e.  the northernmost part of
the Central Paratethys) and its assemblage (containing
four hermatypic coral taxa) is much less diversified than
those of the other coral reefs occurring in the southern ba-
sins (Górka 2002). The mass occurrence of larger foramini-
fers  Amphistegina and Planostegina characterize subtropi-
cal conditions as well, because their modern distribution
is restricted by the 20 ºC summer isotherms (Rögl &
Brandstätter 1993).

The “Middle Badenian” Spirorutilus carinatus Zone

(Zlinská 1993; Zlinská & Čtyroká 1993) or Globotur-
borotalita druryi/Globigerinopsis Zone (Filipescu 2001b;
Krézsek & Filipescu 2005) documents a transgression and
sea-level high stand conditions in a nearly identical cli-
matic zone. The salinity crisis in eastern regions of the
Central Paratethys had a different duration, and is usually
related to sea regression (see Czapowski 1994; Bąbel

A cooling event in the Central Paratethys basins can be

observed first in the Late Badenian marine microfauna as-
semblages (Dumitrică et al. 1975; Spezzaferri et al. 2004).
However, the planktonic foraminiferal data (Bicchi et al.
2003) indicates a climatic cooling at the end of the Early
Badenian, isochronous with an appearance of more moder-
ate-water ostracodes (Jiříček 1983) as well as a slight in-
crease of moderate-water gadoids (Brzobohatý et al., in
print), which can be observed from the uppermost part of
the Upper Lagenidae Zone.

Furthermore, a biogeographical differentiation between

basins in the North and Northeast and the Pannonian
back-arc basins in the South starts to become more promi-
nent during the Late Badenian. It is characterized by ab-
sence of thermophile marine fauna in the northern Central
Paratethys regions in front of the Carpathian Chain.
Hence, the coral carpets and patches of the southern Vienna
Basin (Riegl & Piller 2000) are contrasted by algal-ver-
metid buildups in the Carpathian Foredeep of Poland (Stu-
dencki 1999).

The Late Badenian coralline algal-vermetid reefs form

a distinct belt along the northern and eastern margins of
the Carpathian Foredeep basin, in Poland, Ukraine and
Moldova. This ridge, well visible in the present-day re-
lief in the Ukraine forming a narrow, 130-km long zone,
called the Medobory Hills, separated the foredeep basin
from the shallow basin over the Podolian Massif. The lat-
ter basin was slowly desalted due to increased river input
and limited connection with the open sea, as shown by
significant change in its molluscan fauna. In the latest
Badenian the diversity of molluscs declined sharply.
Rich and diversified gastropod and bivalve assemblages
inhabiting sandy facies (com. Friedberg 1912—1928,
1934—1936; Studencka et al. 1998) were replaced by a
few opportunistic species, which were ancestral forms to
Sarmatian species.

The progress of the Late Badenian transgression pro-

duced facies uniformity within a large part of the Car-
pathian Foredeep. A very homogeneous complex of pelit-
ic deposits (Machów Formation) was accumulated within
an open basin at the depth of several tens of meters and in
conditions of rare bottom current action. Limited water
circulation and high content of suspended organic matter
favoured the development of anoxic condition near the
bottom (Czapowski 1994). In the lower part of this com-
plex the mass occurrence of the holoplanktonic gastro-
pods of the genus Limacina is reported. Of the nine ptero-
pod species known from Early Badenian only one,
Limacina valvatina, survived in the so-called Spirialis
Beds (Janssen & Zorn 1993). It was found in greater num-
ber together with the immigrant species Limacina gramen-
sis which seems to be restricted to this rather short time
slice. An abundance of these two species exclusively
known from the Central Paratethys and North Sea Basin
indicates cold-water influence.

Decreasing surface water temperature is also inferred

from less diversified planktonic foraminiferal assemblages
and drastically reduced density of the warm-water plank-
tonic foraminifers (Bicchi et al. 2003). This cooling in
northern regions of the Central Paratethys is additionally
confirmed by occurrence of the boreal psychrospheric os-
tracod genera Cluthia  and  Pseudocythere  (Szczechura
1997). Moreover, this was the reason for the absence of
warm-temperature bivalve taxa such as giant scallops Gi-
gantopecten  and  Flabellipecten, cockles Cardium indi-
cum  ( = C. hians),  C. kunstleri and  Megacardita  within the
Carpathian Foredeep assemblages.  These taxa, commonly
found in the Early Badenian assemblages of the whole
Central Paratethys, were restricted during the Late Bade-

background image



nian only to the southern Pannonian Basin System (Stu-
dencka et al. 1998; Studencka 1999).

A slight cooling in southern regions, compared to the

Early Badenian, might also be reflected by an occurrence
of the Pseudamussium lilli/scissa-group which has a bore-
al origin. This pectinid-group, frequent throughout the
Early Miocene in the North Sea Basin (Glibert 1945; Jans-
sen 1984), populated the Central Paratethys in the Early
Badenian (cf. Studencka & Studencki 1988) but flour-
ished in the Late Badenian sea. It is commonly found in
the Upper Badenian deposits of the fore-Carpathian basins
(Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria) whereas their records from
the Pannonian back-arc basins, Transylvanian and Vienna
Basins are not very frequent (Bohn-Havas et al. 1987; Stu-
dencka & Studencki 1988; Schmid et al. 2001).

Apart from slight cooling of water masses any consider-

able changes in the Central Paratethys terrestrial ecosys-
tems were documented. Nevertheless, evolution of steep
landscape associated with rapid uplift of the Western Car-
pathian mountain chain (including development of high
stratovolcanoes) during this time caused development of
vertical zonation of dry land and consequently close oc-
currence of different vegetation zones in a relatively small
distance (Kvaček et al. 2006).

The  Badenian sequence stratigraphy is both affected

by global sea-level changes and regional factors, especial-
ly tectonics. We can distinguish one, two or three 3rd-or-
der cycles of relative sea-level changes in the basins of the
Central Paratethys realm (e.g. Kováč et al. 2001, 2004;
Krézsek & Filipescu 2005; Strauss et al. 2006). Correla-
tion with the global sea-level changes (sensu Haq et al.
1988; Haq 1991; Hardenbol et al. 1998) is not always easy
because of the interference from the regional factors.

In the Vienna Basin, Kováč et al. (2004) recently pro-

posed a threefold Badenian sequence stratigraphy, com-
prising three 3rd-order sequences. The Lower Badenian
marine sedimentation started above a sequence boundary
of SB type 1 during the Lower Lagenidae Zone marked by
the appearance of Praeorbulina. The sediments of the ner-
itic zone contain foraminiferal assemblages with Lenticu-
lina echinata (d’Orbigny), L. cultrata (Montfort), Planu-
laria antillea ostraviensis Vašíček, P. dentata Karrer,
Uvigerina macrocarinata Papp et Turnovsky (Cicha et al.
1975; Hudáčková & Kováč 1993; Kováč & Hudáčková
1997). The “Middle Badenian” strata are deposited above
a SB2 or SB1 type boundary, especially in the northern
part of the basin. Agglutinated foraminiferal assemblages
of the Spirorutilus carinatus Zone document euhaline
neritic environments. Typical are Cyclammina plescha-
kowi Pishvanova, Spirorutilus carinatus (d’Orbigny),
Martinotiella communis (d’Orbigny), Textularia gramen
d’Orbigny,  Haplophragmoides vasiceki vasiceki Cicha et
Zapletalová. In some places the Upper Badenian starts
with the SB2 boundary, but on SB type 1 boundary is also
known from the northern and northeastern part of the ba-
sin – an excellent SB1 type boundary can be traced at the
“Sandberg” locality (Švagrovský 1978, 1981; Baráth et al.
1994; Sitár & Kováčová-Slamková 1999; Sabol & Holec
2002; Sabol et al. 2004).

The sedimentary environment of the Bulimina-Bolivina

Zone in the Vienna Basin is characterized by a stratified
water column, hypoxic conditions at the basin bottom as-
sociated with deposition during sea-level high stand
(Hudáčková & Kováč 1993; Kováč & Hudáčková 1997;
Kováč et al. 1998). The sedimentary environment of the
basins is reflected by foraminiferal assemblages of the
deeper neritic zone with Bolivina dilatata maxima Cicha
et Zapletalová, Bulimina striata striata d’Orbigny, Glo-
bobulimina pyrula (d’Orbigny), Pappina neudorfensis
(Toula), Globoturborotalita druryi Akers, Globiger-
inoides quadrilobatus (d’Orbigny) and common Globige-
rina bulloides/praebulloides. In the Vienna Basin ptero-
pod mass occurrences were also documented (Zorn 1991).
Following the data above we can correlate the relative cy-
cles of sea-level changes in the Viena Basin with cycles of
the global sea-level changes TB 2.3, TB 2.4 and TB 2.5
(sensu Haq et al. 1988; Haq 1991).

According to Friebe (1993) the Badenian of the Styrian

Basin also falls apart into three marine sequences, which
are expressions of the global “Haq”cycles TB 2.3—2.5.

In the Danube Basin, the Early Badenian transgression

started from the south and reached neighbouring South
Slovak—North Hungary, Novohrad-Nógrád Basin  at the
level characterized by the Praeorbulina foraminiferal as-
semblages,  and only later by Praeorbulina together with
Orbulina suturalis (Kováč et al. 1999).  Taking into ac-
count the development of the basin depocentres, which
shifted towards the west during the Early Badenian (in
correlation with the Karpatian) and the transgressive char-
acter of the deposits we can speculate about a correlation
of sediments containing Praeorbulina with the global sea-
level change TB 2.3 cycle (sensu Haq 1991). The Lower
Badenian deposits of the Upper Lagenidae Zone are re-
stricted beside the Novohrad Basin  to the northeastern
part of the northern Danube Basin – the Želiezovce De-
pression. Datings are based on the occurrence of Uvigeri-
na macrocarinata Papp et Turnovsky and Orbulina sutur-
alis  Brönnimann. The sediments containing Praeorbulina
along with Orbulina and calcareous nannoplankton of the
NN5 Zone (sensu Martini 1971) are reminiscent of the
ones in Novohrad Basin (during this time the basins were
connected).  The foraminiferal assemblages with a high ra-
tio of plankton document environments of the lower nerit-
ic to shallow bathyal zone  (Zlinská 1996b). The younger
deposits of the Spirorutilus carinatus and Bulimina-Boliv-
ina Zones are deposited throughout the Danube Basin.
The foraminiferal assemblages are identical with those of
the Vienna Basin and are equivalents of the TB 2.4 and
TB 2.5 cycles.

In the East Slovak Basin the Lower Badenian deposits

contain planktonic foraminiferal assemblages with Prae-
orbulina glomerosa (Blow), Orbulina suturalis Brönni-
mann, Globigerinoides quadrilobatus (d’Orbigny), G. tri-
lobus  (Reuss), documenting the neritic environment of the
open sea during transgression and beginning of the high
stand (Kováč & Zlinská 1998). The high stand conditions
in the neritic to shallow bathyal zone is documented by
agglutinated foraminiferal assemblages with Spirorutilus

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KOVÁČ et al.

carinatus  (d’Orbigny),  Cyclammina vulchoviensis Veng-
linsky, C. complanata Chapman,  Globigerina praebul-
loides  (Blow) and Paragloborotalia mayeri (Cushman et
Ellisor) (Zlinská 1992b, 1996a, 1998). The end of sedi-
mentation is represented by shallow water evaporites of
the Zbudza Formation (Vass & Čverčko 1985). We corre-
late the “Middle” Badenian evaporites in the East Slovak
Basin (Kováč & Zlinská 1998) with the evaporites in the
Transcarpathian and Transylvanian Basins, as well as with
the Carpathian Foredeep (Rögl 1998). This event can be
correlated with the sea-level fall at the end of the TB 2.4
cycle  (sensu Haq et al. 1988; Haq 1991). The SB type 1
boundary is represented by the surface of the evaporites
flooded by the offshore Upper Badenian sediments, repre-
senting transgressive and high stand deposits of the
TB 2.5 cycle (sensu Haq et al. 1988; Haq 1991). The sedi-
mentary environment of the Bulimina-Bolivina  Zone in
the East Slovak Basin is characterized by a stratified water
column, hypoxic conditions (events) at the basin bottom
similar to the conditions in the Vienna Basin (Kováč &
Zlinská 1998; Kováč et al. 1998). The Upper Badenian
sedimentation in the East Slovak Basin  ended with hy-
posaline deposits containing a foraminiferal association
with  Ammonia.  Moreover, the falling stage and following
Sarmatian lowstand is documented by basinward progra-
dation of the Badenian deltaic system in the NW part of
the basin (Kováč et al. 1995).

In the eastern  North Croatian Basin the end of the Kar-

patian is characterized by progradation, that is by rapid
shallowing of the offshore environment, which graded to
the Lower Badenian shoreface and Gilbert-type fan deltas
(Pavelić et al. 1998). The Early Badenian is suggested by
the first occurrence of the Amphistegina mammilla (sensu
Rögl & Brandstätter 1993). The transition from rapid pro-
gradation to an aggradational parasequence stacking pat-
tern composed of the shoreface deposits is found bounded
by a SB type 2. The shoreface deposits are overlain by bio-
calcarenites and marls which contain foraminiferal species
Praeorbulina glomerosa (Blow), Globigerinoides trilobus
(Reuss),  Paragloborotalia mayeri (Cushman et Ellisor),
Globigerina praebulloides Blow, Textularia mariae
d’Orbigny,  Pseudogaudryina mayeriana (d’Orbigny) and
Uvigerina pygmoides Papp et Turnovsky of the Lower
Lagenidae Zone. This association indicates offshore deposi-
tion as a consequence of a sea-level rise, which can be cor-
related with the base of the TB 2.3 cycle (Haq 1991;
Pavelić et al. 1998; Pavelić 2005).

In the western North Croatian Basin the end of the

Karpatian is also characterized by a sea-level fall. The be-
ginning of the Early Badenian is represented by shoreface
sediments, which contain foraminifers Praeorbulina glom-
erosa (Blow), Orbulina suturalis (Brönnimann) and Glo-
bigerinoides trilobus (Reuss). The shoreface sediments are
overlain by offshore sediments containing foraminiferal
associations with Globigerina diplostoma Reuss, G.
tarchanensis Subbotina et Chutzieva, Globorotalia byko-
vae (Aisenstat), Globigerinoides trilobus (Reuss) and G.
sacculifer (Brady) of the Lower Lagenidae Zone. This suc-
cession documents sea-level rise, which may be correlated

with the base of the TB 2.3 cycle (Haq 1991; Avanić et al.
1995; Pavelić 2005).

Evolution of the basin at the end of the Early Badenian,

that is the transition to the “Middle Badenian” is not clear
and is still not known whether the end of the Early Bade-
nian is charaterized by a sea-level fall, or the Early and
“Middle” Badenian represent one transgressive-regressive
cycle. There are only some indications of the sea-level fall
in the western part of the North Croatian Basin at the end
of the “Middle Badenian” (Avanić 1997). This regression
accompanied by tectonics that created a regional uncon-
formity between the syn- and post-rift deposits, could be a
consequence of the presumed seaway closure to the Medi-
terranean and is correlative with the global sea-level fall at
the end of the TB 2.4 cycle (Haq 1991; Pavelić 2005).

The Upper Badenian deposits in the southern Pannon-

ian Basin very frequently transgressively overlie the older
Miocene sediments as well as the pre-Miocene basement
representing the equivalent of the sea-level rise of the
TB 2.5 cycle (sensu Haq 1991; Pavelić 2005). The succes-
sion consists almost entirely of transgressive conglomer-
ates, which are usually overlain by shallow-water algal
limestones, and deep-water marls. These marls in the west-
ern North Croatian Basin are rich in foraminifers of the Bu-
limina-Bolivina  Zone, including Bolivina dilatata Reuss,
Bulimina elongata d’Orbigny, Elphidium macellum (Fich-
tel et Moll) and Cassidulina neocarinata Thalmann (see
Vrsaljko et al. 1995), Planostegina politatesta (Papp et
Kuepper) and Amphistegina mammilla (Fichtel et Moll).
The Upper Badenian can be determined by Pappina neu-
dorfensis (Toula), Globoturborotalita decoraperta,  Vela-
pertina indigena (Łuczkowska), Pavonitina styriaca
Schubert (see Bajraktarević & Kalac 1998). In various lo-
calities of northern Croatia, as part of the Central Para-
tethys, abundant characteristic calcareous nannoplankton
was described (Bajraktarević 1983, 1984). The end of the
Late Badenian was characterized by hypoxic events and
regression, which can be correlated with the sea-level fall
at the end of the TB 2.5 cycle (Pavelić et al. 2003b;
Pavelić 2005).

According to the sequence stratigraphic data presented

by Krézsek & Filipescu (2005), the Badenian deposits in
the  Transylvanian Basin cover the Lower Miocene
coarse-grained fan-delta sediments representing the low-
stand systems tract of the first Badenian sequence. The
Early Badenian transgression initiated the carbonate and
siliciclastic sedimentation in shallow ramp environments
mainly in the western part of the basin. Deeper environ-
ments with turbidites and pelagic deposition are known in
the central and eastern parts of the basin. Several volcanic
tuff occurrences (e.g. Dej, Per ani, Mere ti, Ione ti) also
prove the intense volcanic activity.

The first Badenian transgressive event can be docu-

mented by a very important planktonic bloom (Praeorbu-
lina glomerosa Zone – M5a). Together with the other
condensed deep-sea deposits it represents the equivalent
of the TB 2.3 cycle of Haq et al. (1988). Deep-sea sedi-
ments also preserve the following transgressive phase, be-
longing to the second sequence, documented by the domi-

background image



nant planktonic assemblages with the Orbulina suturalis
(M5b Zone). Benthic foraminifers progressively colonized
the substrate only at the transition between the transgres-
sive and highstand conditions, morphogroups showing
affinities to offshore and shoreface siliciclastic and car-
bonate environments.

The uppermost facies of the Lower Badenian, mainly

with carbonate sedimentation (Filipescu 2001a), indicate
progressively shallower facies, ending with the lowstand
conditions of the third sequence. Hemipelagic sediments
above indicate an important early “Middle Badenian”
transgressive event with deeper environments compared to
the late Early Badenian, also suggested by the foraminifer-
al assemblages (Globoturborotalita druryi—Globigerinop-
sis grilli Zone). The second and third sequences in the
Transylvanian Basin, generated by regional factors, are a
part of the TB 2.4 cycle of Haq et al. (1988).

Progressive restriction of the basin circulation during

the “Middle Badenian” produced the relative sea-level
fall of the fourth sequence, leading to massive deposition
of salt in the deep areas and gypsum at the margins of the
basin. The following marine flooding event, probably as-
sociated with tectonic shortening in the Eastern Car-

pathians, replaced the evaporitic sedimentation with
hemipelagic sediments and deep clastic turbidites with
almost exclusive planktonic assemblages (Velapertina
indigena Zone). Later, the highstand conditions induced
an overall coarsening upward trend for the mid Upper
Badenian stacked submarine fans. The agglutinated fora-
miniferal assemblages date quite precisely the prograda-
tion process (Filipescu 2004a).

Increased regional compressional stress, by the end of

the Badenian, led to relative sea-level fall at the base of
the fifth sequence. It generated a high sediment input, pro-
grading shallow-marine systems and progressive restric-
tion of the connections to the open seas. Ramp settings
close to the end of the Badenian were shown by shallow
marine faunas, while submarine channels were incised into
the previously deposited highstand slope turbidites in the
North. The transgressive trend around the Badenian/Sar-
matian boundary was associated with important faunal
changes (endemic Anomalinoides dividens acme, Filipes-
cu 2004b), induced by the water chemistry changes in re-
lation to paleogeographical events. Highstand conditions
continued during the Early Sarmatian. The fourth and fifth
sequences in the Middle Miocene deposits of the Transyl-

Table 2: Sequence stratigraphy – 3rd- and 4th-order cycles of relative sea-level changes in the Central Paratethys. Information presented
in this table/paper is compared to standard stratigraphy. The global cycles are from Haq et al. (1988) and Hardenbol et al. (1998),
oxygen isotope stratigraphy was adopted after Abreu & Haddad (1998). Note that the Bur5/Lan1 boundary is adjusted following
Gradstein et al. (2004). Hence, the Ser2 boundary corresponds to the Langhian/Serravallian boundary, whereas the Lan2/Ser1 boundary
is positioned in the Langhian. The Ser3 boundary at 12.7 Ma is adopted due to correlation with astronomical cycles and the isotope event
MSI-3 (Harzhauser & Piller 2004, 2007).

background image


KOVÁČ et al.

vanian Basin are the equivalent of the TB 2.5 cycle of
Haq et al. (1988).

Similar types of facies, sedimentary trends and cycles

characterized the Carpathian Foredeep during the Bade-
nian. Higher frequency of tectonic events influenced the
cyclicity of sedimentation starting only with the Sarma-
tian (Filipescu et al. 2006).

From the sequence stratigraphy point of view, the Bade-

nian covers the TB 2.3, TB 2.4 and TB 2.5 or Bur5/Lan1,
Lan2/Ser1, and Ser2 cycles of the relative sea-level chang-
es (sensu Haq et al. 1988; Haq 1991; Hardenbol et al.
1998; Kováč et al. 2001, 2004; Krezsek & Filipescu 2005;
Strauss et al. 2006). Taking into account all bioevents,
varying sedimentary record and paleogeographical chang-
es in the area of Central Paratethys we can very roughly
correlate the Early and “Middle” Badenian with the glo-
bal sea-level changes of the TB 2.3 and TB 2.4 cycles and
the Late Badenian with the TB 2.5 cycle (Table 2), whilst
the Sarmatian already represents the TB 2.6 cycle
(Harzhauser & Piller 2004).

The TB 2.3 and TB 2.4 cycle definition can state a cer-

tain discrepancy. Some authors correlate the TB 2.3 cycle
duration only with the Lower Lagenidae Zone, other au-
thors also correlate the duration of this cycle beside the
Lower Lagenidae Zone with the lower part of the Upper
Lagenidae Zone, or sediments assigned to the Upper La-
genidae Zone are put into the TB 2.4 cycle together with
“Middle Badenian” deposits of the Globoturborotalita
druryi—Globigerinopsis grilli Zone. This fact can be ex-
plained by tectonically controlled advance of transgres-
sion, as well as by various possibilities to distinguish the
3rd- and 4th-order cycles in most basins of the Carpathian
Chain and Pannonian Basin System.

Generally, we can conclude that the Early and “Middle”

Badenian transgressions were controlled by both, tecton-
ics and eustacy (induced mainly by back-arc basin rifting)
followed by forced regression. The Late Badenian trans-
gression and regression were dominantly controlled by
sea-level changes (Table 2).


Badenian paleogeography or the relationship between

the continental environment and marine flooding of the
Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian domain (Fig. 4) 


highly influenced by development of the orogene, above
all the Outer Carpathian accretionary wedge and basin
subsidence, mostly in the back-arc position. The presented
model  takes into consideration the configuration of the
Alcapa and Tisza-Dacia microplates until their “final” jux-
taposition along the Mid-Hungarian Zone (Fig. 3). The
different driving forces of development (subduction pull,
upheaval of asthenospheric mantle masses, stretching of
overriding plates) induced different types of magmatism;
extension-dominated in the western and subduction-relat-
ed in the eastern Pannonian—Carpathian realm.

Subduction resulted in (1) compressional tectonics,

which was bound only to the narrow belt near the colli-

sion zone and led to folding and nappe thrusting in the
Outer Carpathian accretionary wedge. The load of the ac-
cretionary wedge nappe pile as well as the deep subsurface
load controlled development of the Carpathian Foredeep
in front of the orogen. On the other side, the subduction
pull (2) resulted in stretching of overriding microplates
and was accompanied by syn-rift faulting and related sub-
sidence of separate depocentres of the Pannonian Basin
System (Figs. 1, 2). In the western part of the back-arc ba-
sin the main driving force was the asthenospheric mantle
uplift, following subduction in front of the Alpine—West-
ern Carpathian Chain. In the central and eastern part of the
Pannonian Basin System the basin subsidence was more
directly linked to subduction pull. Therefore, NW—SE ex-
tension dominated during basin formation in the north-
western part of the Pannonian realm, W—E extension in the
West, and in the southwestern part of the Pannonian realm
formation of elongated half-grabens was influenced by
NNE-SSW extension. Behind the active collision zone of
the Eastern Carpathian Chain, in the central and eastern
parts of the Pannonian Basin System the subsidence was
influenced mostly by NE—SW to E—W oriented extension.

The Central Paratethys, covering the Pannonian Basin

System and Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep represented an
epicontinental sea with occasional connections with the
Mediterranean and Eastern Paratethys. The first Early Bad-
enian transgression in the Central Paratethys is document-
ed by planktonic foraminiferal associations with Praeor-
bulina sicana and P. glomerosa within the NN4 calcareous
nannoplankton Zone around 16.3—16.2 Ma. The sea
flooding crossed Dinarides via Slovenia and northern
Croatia (Transtethyan Trench Corridor) reaching the Pan-
nonian Basin System (Fig. 5a). The second Badenian
transgression is characterized by dominant planktonic as-
semblages with P. circularis and Orbulina suturalis in the
calcareous nannoplankton NN5 Zone around 14.7 Ma.
These transgressive events clearly document the stepwise
flooding of the whole Pannonian Basin System. During
the first transgression the sea prograded to the Styrian Ba-
sin, Alpine Molasse Basin, East and North Croatian Basin
and South Slovak Basin. During the second transgressive
event the sea widened to the West North Croatian Basin,
Vienna Basin, Danube Basin, East Slovak Basin, Transyl-
vanian Basin and also reached the Carpathian Foredeep
(Fig. 5b). The “Middle Badenian” isolation of the eastern
part of the Central Paratethys resulted in a salinity crisis in
the Carpathian Foredeep, Transcarpatian and Transylva-
nian Basins. Thick evaporite sediments, above all table
salt and gypsum were deposited (Fig. 5c). The last full ma-
rine Late Badenian transgression around 13.6—13.4 Ma
covered the whole back-arc basin as well as the northern
and eastern part of the Carpathian Foredeep and fore-
reaching area over the Podolian Massif (Fig. 5d). Foramin-
iferal assemblages with Velapertina indigena and NN6
Zone calcareous nannoplankton provide evidence of it. The
main problem is to create a model of sea connections during
that time, because some authors consider the western “Tran-
stethyan Trench Corridor” to be closed  and there is no evi-
dence to prove a supposed strait towards the Eastern Medi-

background image



terranean. At the end of the Badenian, the final isolation of
the Central Paratethys from the open seas began.

Paleoceanographical studies assume several changes of

seawater circulation pattern in the Central Paratethys.
The Karpatian estuarine circulation of water masses
should have changed to an antiestuarine (Mediterranean)
type of circulation at the beginning of Early Badenian.
The second change is expected during the Late Badenian,
when the estuarine type of circulation is expected again.

The  Badenian  climate of the Central Paratethys

realm can be characterized as fairly uniform reflecting sta-
ble subtropical conditions of Mid-Miocene Climatic Opti-
mum. Any considerable changes in the Central Paratethys
terrestrial ecosystems were documented. A moderate cool-
ing of the sea can be observed first at the end of the Early
Badenian (“Middle”) and during the Late Badenian. A N-S
climatic gradient seems to be expressed slightly from the
Early Badenian, but a biogeographic differentiation be-
tween basins in the North and South starts to become more
prominent during the Late Badenian. The Late Badenian
coincides with the appearance of stress factors such as
stratification of the water column and hypoxic conditions
at the basin bottom in the whole Central Paratethys.

The  Badenian sequence stratigraphy is affected by

global sea-level changes and by regional factors, mainly
the tectonics and sediment input. We can distinguish one,
two or three 3rd-order cycles of relative sea-level changes
in the basins of the Central Paratethys realm. Correlation
with the global sea-level changes (sensu Haq et al. 1988;
Haq 1991; Hardenbol et al. 1998) is not always easy be-
cause of the interference with the regional factors. Taking
into account all bioevents and paleogeographical changes
in the area of the Central Paratethys we can very roughly
correlate the Early (and “Middle”) Badenian with the glo-
bal sea-level changes of the TB 2.3 and TB 2.4 cycles. The
TB 2.5 cycle can be regarded as Late Badenian. Generally,
we can conclude that the Early (and “Middle”) Badenian
transgressions were controlled by both, tectonics and eus-
tacy (induced mainly by back-arc basin rifting) followed
by forced regression. The Late Badenian transgression and
regression were dominantly controlled by sea-level chang-
es outside the Central Paratethys realm (Table 2).

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the Slovak
Research and Development Agency under the contracts
No. APVV-51 011305, APVV-0158-06, & APVV-LPP
0120-06. The authors are also grateful to the Czech
Ministry of Education for their financial support (MSM
Project 0021622412), and to Jaroslav Lexa for review
and suggestions concerning the paragraphs devoted to
the Badenian volcanism and Adriana Škulova and Samuel
Hill for review of correct English translation. The authors
thank F. Steininger, S. Popov and L. Švábenická for their
valuable and helpful reviews.


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