GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, FEBRUARY 2009, 60, 1, 71—104 doi: 10.2478/v10096-009-0002-7
The Pennsylvanian—Permian succession of the Circum Pan-
nonian Region (CPR) records the change from the Pangaean
configuration and compressive regime inherited from the
Variscan orogeny, to the development of a broad zone of
strike-slip and extensional basins. The subsequent thermal
subsidence led to the gradual coalescence of these isolated
basins. Large evaporitic sabkha and salt pan to shallow water
environments were formed at the beginning of the Alpine
orogenic cycle. This was caused by the post-Cisuralian—Ear-
ly Triassic extension and transgression of the shallow Neo-
tethys Sea over the large CPR area.
The geological relationships of the CPR were demonstrated
in a set of “Tectonostratigraphic Terrane and Paleoenviron-
ment Maps of the Circum Pannonian Region” (published by
the Geological Institute of Hungary, Budapest; Kovács et al.
(Eds.) 2004) for four selected time slices. The presented text is
a short explanation and interpretation which is dedicated to
Late Variscan (Carboniferous to Permian) environments in
the Circum Pannonian Region
, FRITZ EBNER
, SÁNDOR KOVÁCS
, HANS-GEORG KRÄUTNER
, BRANISLAV KRSTIĆ
, JASENKA SREMAC
, DUNJA ALJINOVIČ
and DRAGOMIR SKABERNE
Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, Faculty of Natural Science, Comenius University in Bratislava, Mlynská dolina G,
842 15 Bratislava, Slovak Republic; firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Applied Geosciences and Geophysics, University of Leoben, Peter Tunnerstrasse 5, A-8700 Leoben, Austria;
Department of Geology, Academy of Research Group, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, H-1117, Budapest, Hungary
Isarstrasse 2E, D-83026 Rosenheim, Germany
Department of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrology, József Attila
University Szeged, H-6701 Szeged, Hungary
Djoke Vojvodica 6, SRB-11160 Beograd-74, Serbia
Department of Geology, Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb, Horvatovac 102a,
HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, University of Zagreb, Pierottijeva 6, HR-10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Geological Survey of Slovenia, Dimičeva 14, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
(Manuscript received March 11, 2008; accepted in revised form June 12, 2008)
Abstract: The Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian late-orogenic and post-orogenic paleoenvironments of the Circum Pannonian
Region (CPR) include tectono-stratigraphic sequences developed from the Upper Bashkirian-Moscovian marine early
molasse stage up to the Guadalupian-Lopingian post-orogenic stage, with gradual connection to the beginning of the
Alpine (Neotethyan) sedimentary cycle. Shallow marine siliciclastic or carbonate siliciclastic overstep sequences started
in the internal part of the Variscan orogenic belt during the latest Serpukhovian and Bashkirian—Moscovian. They
overlapped unconformably the variably metamorphosed Variscan basement, or weakly deformed and metamorphosed
foreland and syn-orogenic flysch sediments of Mississippian to Early Pennsylvanian age. The post-Variscan rifting
largely affected the Variscan orogenic belt by reactivation of the Variscan lithosphere. The late- to post-orogenic terres-
trial sequences started within the internal part of the Variscan orogenic belt during the Middle/Late Pennsylvanian. It
continued gradually to terrestrial-shallow water carbonate-siliciclastic sequences in its external part through the Per-
mian. According to the present configuration, the Alpine (Neotethyan) northward shifting transgression started during
the Guadalupian/Lopingian in the South and during the Early Triassic in the North.
Key words: Pennsylvanian—Permian, Variscan post-orogenic stage, Circum Pannonian Region, tectono-paleoenvironments,
the Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian late- and post-Variscan orogenic
stage. The Guadalupian—Lopingian Epoch is not documented
in this map, although it is very important for interpretation of
the beginning of the Alpine orogenic cycle. As the transgres-
sion of the Tethys Sea prograded during the Guadalupian—
Lopingian up to Early Triassic gradually from the South to the
North (according to the present position of units), the distribu-
tion of these sediments in the CPR realm is an important phe-
nomenon for the interpretation of Variscan and Alpine geody-
namic evolution. To minimize this lack we include brief
information on the Guadalupian—Lopingian environments in
the Pennsylvanian—Cisuralian explanation text.
In the present fabric all Variscan and pre-Variscan tec-
tonostratigraphic units/terranes are included within the Al-
pine mega-crustal blocks: ALCAPA, TISIA, DACIA, VARD-
AR and ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterranes (Fig. 1). The focus
of Map 2 (“Late Variscan (latest Carboniferous to Early Per-
mian) environments”; Vozárová et al. 2004; http//
www.geologicacarpathica.sk) is to decipher the Late Carbon-
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
iferous—Permian late- to post-Variscan events and paleogeo-
graphical reconstruction within the CPR realm. The explana-
tory text and stratigraphic columns (Figs. 2—6) also accumu-
lates description of the Guadalupian—Lopingian environments,
with the main aim of entering the relations with the beginning
of the Alpine geodynamic cycle.
The Carboniferous/Permian (C/P) sequences were de-
scribed in their present position within the qualifying Mega-
terranes, with respect to their facies and lithostratigraphic
development, sea-level fluctuations, palinspastic reconstruc-
tion and disconformities. Corresponding to the explanatory
text of the previous Map 1 “Variscan pre-Flysch (Devonian/
Carboniferous) environments” (Ebner et al. 2008) the
Variscan tectono-stratigraphic units/terranes are marked by
italic letters. Therefore, the nomination of the tectonic units
generally follows the terms of terrane tectonics as used for
IGCP No. 276 “Terrane Maps and Terrane Descriptions”
(Ed. Papanikolaou 1997). The description of the Variscan
terranes/units is in order to their position in the Alpine
Pennsylvanian to Permian sedimentary sequences
in the Circum Pannonian Region
The ALCAPA Megaterrane
The Eastern Alps
For the tectonic subdivision of the Eastern Alps we use the
“classical” tectonic subdivision of Tollmann (1987).
In the Eastern Alps the basement of the internal zones (i.e.
the Austroalpine and Penninic nappe system of the Tauern
Window) is covered with post-orogenic Upper Paleozoic sedi-
ments (Fig. 3). Generally, the post-Variscan sediments display
two sedimentary cycles, strongly influenced by climatic
changes, vertical tectonics and finally the transgression of the
1. Upper Pennsylvanian/Lower Permian clastic fillings of in-
tramontane basins and acid volcanics (Upper Austroalpine units),
2. Guadalupian-Lopingian continental deposits merging
into “Permoskythian” shallow marine sediments of the trans-
Fig. 1. The Alpine Megaterranes and important tectonostratigraphic units of the Circum Pannonian Region. The numbers indicate schematical-
ly the position of the described tectonostratigraphic units documented in Figs. 2—6: the ALCAPA Megaterrane – the Eastern Alps (1—8), the
Western Carpathians (9—17), the Pelsonia Composite Terrane (18—23); the TISIA Megaterrane – the Mecsek-Villányi Zone (24), the Bihor
Autochthon (25), the Codru Nappe System (26—27), the Biharia Nappe System (28); the DACIA Megaterrane – the Bucovinian-Getic Nappe
System (29—33), the Danubian Nappe System (34—36); the VARDAR Megaterrane – the Jadar Block (37—38); the ADRIA-DINARIA
Megaterrane – the E-Bosnia-Durmitor Terrane (39—40), Central Bosnian Terrane (41), the Sana-Una Terrane (42), the Adriatic-Dinaridic
Platform (43), the Southern Alps (44—45).
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
gressing Neotethys Sea (Lower and Middle Austroalpine and
Lower and Middle Austro-Alpine and Penninic nappe system
All late to post/Variscan sequences (Fig. 3, col. 1—2) have
been deformed and overprinted by Alpine (Cretaceous) meta-
morphism to phengite- and muscovite schists, metaarkoses,
Fig. 2. Legend to lithostratigraphic columns (Figs. 2—6) of the Penn-
sylvanian-Permian sequences in the Circum Pannonian Region.
quartzites and porphyroids. Based on the lithological correla-
tions, the whole sequence is generally divided into: i) the lower,
coarse-grained Guadalupian?-Lopingian “Alpine Verrucano”
(including rhyolitic volcanic materials) and ii) the upper, finer-
grained Scythian quarzites (“Skythquarzite”)*.
Note: The Early/Lower Triassic period is also known as the
Scythian epoch, within the time span between 251 ± 0.4 and
245 ± 1.5 million years ago (ICS Geological time table). It is divided
into the Induan and Olenekian stages. The name of “Scythian
quartzite” is used for the designation of mineralogically mature,
continental quartzose clastic sediments, mainly overlapping the
Variscan crystalline complexes, as well as the post-Variscan sedi-
mentary sequences in the internal part of the Alpine-Carpathian
Variscan orogenic domain. A lithostratigraphic synonym for these
sequences is the Germanic Lower Triassic Buntsandstein.
Compared to the “Skythquarzite” the Permian sediments are
immature, rich in feldspars, and locally fragments of acidic
rocks and detritus from underlying crystalline complexes. Due
to the strong Alpine deformation and overprinting the mutual
relationship between these two sedimentary complexes is un-
clear. On the basis of distinct differences in mineralogical ma-
turity a disconformity between them could be suggested.
Further information is given in Tollmann (1964, 1972, 1977),
Oberhauser (1980), Krainer (1993).
Upper Austroalpine Nappes
In the Upper Austroalpine units (Fig. 3, col. 3—8) the post-
Variscan sediments rest with an angular unconformity above
the low- and very low grade Paleozoic sediments of the
Graywacke Zone (Noric Nappe), the Stolzalpe Nappe of the
Gurktal Thrust System and the Steinach Nappe. The Graz Pa-
leozoic has no post-Variscan Upper Paleozoic sediments.
Gurktal Nappe System (Stolzalpe Nappe)
The Variscan basement in this region is composed of de-
formed and weakly metamorphosed sedimentary and volcanic
rocks of Ordovician to Mississippian age. The youngest rocks
of the Variscan basement are represented by more than 20 m of
shales and cherts resting on the Upper Devonian limestones.
Based on conodonts, these rocks are assigned to the Late Tour-
naisian or Tournaisian/Visean age (Neubauer & Herzog 1985).
This Variscan basement is unconformably overlain by a more
than 400 m thick succession of grey, freshwater clastics, desig-
nated as the Stangnock Formation (Krainer 1989a,b; Fritz et al.
1990). The lowermost part is composed of polymict conglomer-
ates rich in gneiss clasts, and intercalated, immature, coarse-
grained sandstones of a proximal fluvial environment. Based on
petrological and geochronological investigations, these gneiss
clasts were compared with the “Middle Austro-Alpine crystal-
line basement” (Frimmel 1986; Frank 1987). The main part of
the succession consists of several indistinctly developed fining-
upward megasequences containing gravelly braided river sys-
tem deposits at the base, grading upward into a gravel-sandy
facies with characteristic features of meandering river systems.
The sandstones contain small amounts of volcanic rock frag-
ments and volcanic quartz indicating the onset of volcanic ac-
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
tivity during the latest Pennsylvanian. Several meters of thick
dark shales containing abundant well preserved plant fossils are
developed at the top of these megasequences. About 80 species
of plant fossils have been described from the interbedded shales
and thus suggest the Kasimovian—Gzhelian age (Tenchov 1980;
Krainer 1989a,b, 1992, 1993; Fritz et al. 1990). Current direc-
Fig. 3. Pennsylvanian-Permian sequences in the Eastern Alps (part 1 of the ALCAPA Megaterrane). Legend in Fig. 2.
tions show in the present geographic orientation a distinct east-
ward trend indicating that the sediments of the Stangnock For-
mation were deposited in an approximately E-W-trending
intermontane basin. The sharp erosional contact at the base of
the megasequence is interpreted as a result of synsedimentary
block faulting (Krainer 1993).
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
Nonmarine clastic sediments of the Kasimovian—Gzhelian
age unconformably overlie the Variscan basement of the Up-
per Austroalpine Steinach Nappe in the Brenner area. The
poorly exposed succession is composed of grey coloured
channel, bar and overbank sediments. Thin anthracite seams
occur in places. Overbank shales contain well preserved plant
fossils. Some assemblages contain about 30 taxa suggesting
the Kasimovian age. The facies and mineralogical composi-
tion of the sediments are very similar to the Stangnock Forma-
tion of the Gurktal Nappe, the sediments were probably
deposited in the same intramontane basin (Krainer 1990).
The Permian sequence is divided into two lithostratigraph-
ic cycles, separated by a major hiatus, interpreted by Krainer
(1993) as a consequence of the Saalian movements. Proxi-
mal to distal alluvial red-beds, grading into fine-grained
sandflat-playa complexes with caliche crust and thin algal
layers in some places, characterize the Cisuralian (lower cy-
cle) throughout these tectonic units (the Laas Formation in
the Drauzug, the Werchzirm Formation in the Gurktal
Nappe). In most cases, these sediments overlie with angular
unconformity the Variscan crystalline basement (the Gailtal
metamorphic rocks in the Drauzug), or different weakly
metamorphosed Variscan metasediments. At the NW margin
of the Stolzalpe Nappe, the Cisuralian red-beds overstepped
the Upper Pennsylvanian sediments of the Stangnock For-
mation. Flora from the basal parts of these red-beds proved
the Cisuralian age (van Ameron et al. 1982; Fritz et al.
1990). Generally, the sediments are rich in clasts derived
from the local basement (polymict conglomerates, lithic
arenites and greywackes).
In the Drauzug, Stolzalpe Nappe of the Gurktal Thrust Sys-
tem and the westernmost part of the Northern Calcareous
Alps, rhyolitic volcanics (ignimbrites, pyroclastic flows) with
thicknesses up to 100 m are widespread. Based on the palyno-
logical data from lacustrine sediments within the equivalent
Bolzano Volcanic Complex of the Southern Alps, the Permian
age reaches up to Late Artinskian—Kungurian (Hartkopf-
Fröder & Krainer 1990).
The Guadalupian-Lopingian siliciclastic red-bed sediments
of the ephemeral braided river and playa system of the Gröden
Formation overlie the Cisuralian sediments with the hiatus
caused by block faulting. According to Krainer (1993) this hi-
atus corresponds to the boundary between lower and upper
sedimentary cycles. In Drauzug and Gurktal Nappe the maxi-
mum thickness of the Gröden Formation is ca. 350 m. These
sediments contain large amounts of redeposited acid volcani-
clastic fragments derived from the underlying Cisuralian se-
quence. The Scythian disconformity is represented by the
transition to the “Alpine Buntsandstein Formation” which is
characteristic in the Drauzug and Stolzalpe Nappe of the
Gurktal Thrust System.
Along the Periadriatic Lineament some Upper Permian gra-
nitic intrusions are present within the basement of the Drau
Range (Nötsch and Eisenkappel granites; Exner 1984).
The whole Carboniferous sequence of the Veitsch Nappe is
composed of syn- to late-orogenic sediments which were de-
veloped in the narrow post-early orogenic (post-Bretonian
event) foredeep and remnant basin zone described as the
Nötsch-Veitsch-Szabadbattyán-Ochtiná Zone (NVSOZ; Ebner
et al. 2008). For this reason all Carboniferous sequences from
the Veitsch Nappe up to the Moscovian are described together
with the Devonian-Carboniferous pre-flysch and flysch envi-
ronments in the Circum Pannonian Region (Ebner et al. 2008).
In the Veitsch Nappe of the Graywacke Zone, Upper Per-
mian Alpine Verrucano occurs only within the thin Alpine
Silbersberg thrust-sheet (Neubauer et al. 1993).
In the Noric Nappe of the Graywacke Zone the Variscan
pre-orogenic sequence continues locally until Visean/Na-
murian levels (Schönlaub 1982). The Variscan pile is over-
lain with an angular unconformity by conglomeratic
formations (Präbichl Formation) which grade upwards in the
continental red-beds and sabkha sediments (Hochfilzen
Group). At the base of the Calcareous Alps there are thick
evaporates (“Haselgebirge”), dated by sporomorphs (Klaus
1965), including some basic magmatic material representing
the early Alpine rifting stage. Compared to the Drazug and
Stolzalpe Nappe of the Gurktal Thrust System, the mutual
transition from continental coarse-grained Guadalupian-Lop-
ingian sediments to lagoonal-sabkha facies is proved at the
basement of the Northern Calcareous Alps.
The Western Carpathians
Structural fragments of newly formed epi-Variscan crust
were incorporated in the paleo-Alpine Western Carpathian
units. Like most of the other collisional fold belts, the
Western Carpathians have been traditionally divided into
external and internal structural zones. The age of the main
Alpine events and the intensity of deformational and meta-
morphic effects is the main difference between the distin-
guished structural zones. These are: i) The internal zone,
consisting of the HP/LT Late Jurassic subduction event and
Early/middle Cretaceous collision, followed by the nappe
stacking. This pre-Late Cretaceous nappe system comprises
the crystalline massifs with their Late Paleozoic overstep
sequences. ii) The external zone, the Late Cretaceous/Early
Paleocene to Oligocene/Early Miocene subduction/accre-
tion and collision events. Mišík (in Mišík et al. 1985) sub-
divided the internal zone of the Western Carpathians into
the “Central” and “Inner” part. This triple division of the
West Carpathian orogenic belt is more acceptable from the
standpoint of the Variscan geodynamic evolution and con-
sequently of the Alpine tectono-thermal cycle.
In the Western Carpathians different types of Variscan
basement were overstepped by the post-orogenic Carbonifer-
ous/Permian sedimentary sequences. Regardless of their
lithological composition and the grade and timing of the
Variscan metamorphic overprint, the Alpine-West Car-
pathian basement can be subdivided into three zones
(Vozárová 1998): the Central Western Carpathian Crystal-
line Zone (CWCZ), the North Gemeric Zone (NGZ) and the
Inner Western Carpathian Zone (IWCZ). Relics of these
Variscan crustal fragments are preserved within the main Al-
pine crustal nappe units together with their characteristic
post-Variscan overstepped sequences (Fig. 4).
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
Central Western Carpathian Crystalline Zone
Fragments from the medium to high-grade crystalline base-
ment (the CWCZ crust) are inferred as integral parts of the fol-
lowing Alpine nappe units: Tatricum, Northern Veporicum,
Southern Veporicum, Zemplinicum and Hronicum (Fig. 4.
The Zemplinicum Pennsylvanian sequence consists of four
partial lithostratigraphic units (Čerhov, Luhyňa, Tŕňa, Kašov
Formations; in Bouček & Přibyl 1959; Grecula & Együd
1982; Vozárová 1986). Their stratigraphic range was estab-
lished according to macrofloral (Němejc 1953; Němejc &
Obrhel 1958) and microfloral findings (Planderová et al.
1981). Polymict conglomerates, with grain-supported struc-
ture and relatively well-rounded pebble material derived from
the underlying Zemplinic crystalline basement (the Byšta Ter-
rane; Vozárová & Vozár 1996), lie unconformably on the
basement and build up the dominant lithofacies of the Čerhov
Formation (400—600 m thick). They are interpreted mostly as
braided-river deposits. Their lithology consists of repeated
small fining-upward sedimentary cycles with the prevalent
conglomeratic or sandy-conglomeratic components. Minor
black shale and siltstone intercalations occur in the upper part
of the sequence. The dating, Late Moscovian—Kasimovian, is
based on dominant microflora. The gradually evolving Lu-
hyňa Formation (~200 m thick) consists of fine-grained lacus-
trine sediments – sandstones, mudstones and shales of grey
to black colour, interrupted by the episodic events of distal-fan
streams. The Kasimovian age was proved mainly by macrof-
lora. Microfloral assemblages also confirm the Kasimovian
range. Cyclothems with thin coal seams represent the Tŕňa
Formation. The Kasimovian age was inferred from plant find-
ings. The Tŕňa Formation ( ~ 800 m thick) can be divided into
two large cycles, several hundreds of m thick. The lower cycle
contains seven limnic-fluvial cyclothems with coal seams of
variable thickness (from several cm up to 160 cm). Generally,
the sediments are rich in clastic mica, plant debris, fragments
of tree trunks and barks. The distinct cyclicity of fining-up-
ward type, with sets of layers of black shales with thin coal
seams and occasionally dark clayey lenses and nodules of
limestones, indicate the limnic-fluvial and swamp environ-
ments. The second large cycle is characterized by alluvial
stream-channel lithofacies, with dominant sandstones and ab-
sence of the coal-bearing association. Several levels of calc-al-
kaline rhyolite-dacite and their volcaniclastics are typical of
this part of the sequence. Thick layers of rhyolite-dacite volca-
niclastics (incl. ignimbrites) and alluvial, stream-channel and
flood plain sediments with dominant sandstones are the domi-
nant lithology of the Kašov Formation ( ~ 300 m thick). Based
on the microfloral assemblage, the Kašov Formation was as-
signed to the Kasimovian—Gzhelian.
The Southern Veporicum Carboniferous post-orogenic se-
quence is represented by the upward-coarsening Kasimovian-
Gzhelian sediments of the Slatviná Formation ( ~ 800 m
thick). Their direct contact with the basement (the Kohút Ter-
rane; Vozárová & Vozár 1996) is hard to prove, due to either
Alpine tectonic reworking or the contact-thermal effects of the
Alpine granitoids. The well preserved cyclical structure, as a
multiplied vertical alternation of grey metasandstones, dark
grey/black metapelites and their regional unification in two
large coarsening upward regressive cycles indicate the mutual
prograding from lacustrine-deltaic to fluvial environments.
This prograding trend is in contrast to the rapid change of sed-
iment colour, from black or dark grey to light grey/light
green, due to changes of climatic conditions, as well as sedi-
mentary environments. In reaches of stillwater anoxic condi-
tions tended to develop, and this led to the formation of black
shales. Abundant carbonized plant detritus, relics of tissue
fragments and spores of terrestrial plants are indicative of the
proximity of a plant covered continent. Conspicuous stratifi-
cation and cycles, tabular and relatively uniform sandstone
strata are the main sedimentary features. Most others were de-
stroyed by the Alpine regional deformation and metamor-
phism and by consequent thermal relaxation (Vozárová 1990).
On the basis of pollen (Planderová & Vozárová 1978) the sed-
iments are classified as Kasimovian—Gzhelian.
The Hronicum has been defined as a rootless mega-structural
Alpine unit consisting of two partial nappes: Šturec and Choč
Nappes (according to Andrusov et al. 1973). Due to their inter-
nal structure and mutual relationships as well as facies charac-
teristics these partial nappes have been distinguished as mainly
Triassic complexes. Both Hronic Nappe subunits contain Upper
Paleozoic volcano-sedimentary formations, preserved variably
as a consequence of tectonic reduction during the nappe thrust-
ing. The remains of these sequences are known in many moun-
tain ranges in the Western Carpathians, and their tectonic
position is always equal, between the Veporic/Fatric and North-
ern Gemeric or higher Mesozoic nappe units.
There is no evidence of the underlying pre-Upper Pennsyl-
vanian sediments, or of the immediate crystalline basement.
Tectonic slices of granitoid blastomylonites found in the basal
part of the Šturec Nappe might be partly indicative for its
composition (Andrusov 1936; Vozárová & Vozár 1979). Data
obtained through petrofacies analysis of clastic sediments
proved proximity to a dissected magmatic arc source area (the
hypothetical Ipoltica Terrane; Vozárová & Vozár 1996). The
Upper Pensylvanian Nižná Boca Formation (400—500 m
thick) is generally a regressive clastic sequence with a distinct
tendency of upward coarsening. The most typical feature is
the numerous small repeating fining-upward sedimentary cy-
cles. Abundant graded-bedded sandstones with minor mud-
stone intercalations, as well as layers rich in plant detritus
indicate a fluvial-lacustrine delta association. The sequences
of the fine-grained sandstones, mudstones and shales of grey
to black colour correspond to lacustrine lithofacies. Synge-
netic, mostly subaerial dacite volcanism is represented by
abundant redeposited volcanogenic material mixed with non-
volcanic detritus and more or less by thin layers of dacitic
tuffs and exceptionally by small lava flows of dacite.
The rift-related sediments of the Hronicum showed a trend
towards of older and older supplies of detrital mica in an up-
ward direction. The
Ar cooling ages of detrital white
mica from the Nižná Boca Formation, from the stratigraphi-
cally lowest sample, yielded age of 309 ± 3 Ma. The samples
from the middle and upper portion of the Nižná Boca Forma-
tion delivered successively older ages of 318 ± 2 Ma and
329 ± 2 Ma respectively (Vozárová et al. 2005). The time gap
between the average cooling in the source area and the age of
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
sedimentation in the basal part of the Nižná Boca Formation
may not exceed ~ 5 Myr, whereas at the top of the same for-
mation this time difference reaches about ~ 20 Myr. These
cooling ages of the source area reflect the development of the
Hronicum terrestrial rift and heterogeneity of source area, with
gradual rifting and cooling of the lithosphere. Macroflora from
the uppermost part of the Nižná Boca Formation indicates the
latest Moscovian-Kasimovian age (Sitár & Vozár 1973). Plan-
derová (1979) also distinguished Kasimovian-Gzhelian mi-
The Carboniferous/Permian boundary in the CWCZ is ei-
ther unconformable, where the Permian sediments directly
overlie crystalline basement, or conformable, where the up-
permost Pennsylvanian sediments continuously prograde into
the Cisuralian. Sharp change in sediment colour is related to
rapid increase of aridity. The coarse-grained continental sedi-
ments of the Tatricum and Northern Veporicum have an un-
conformable base. The Tatricum Permian sediments are not
very thick, and are preserved only in isolated areas (e.g. High
Tatra, Low Tatra, and Malé Karpaty Mts), with more impor-
tant occurrences in the Považský Inovec and Malá Fatra Mts.
Common features of these successions include: unconform-
able overstepping of medium- to high-grade Variscan crystal-
line basement; continental, proximal to distal braided-alluvial
sediments (conglomerates, coarse-grained sandstones). The
sediments lack fossils. Scarce presence of rhyolites and their
volcaniclastics show a calc-alkaline trend. The U-Pb isotope
data from the rhyolites of the Považský Inovec Mts gave an
age of ~ 280 Ma (Archangelskij in Rojkovič 1997).
In the Northern Veporicum, the Lower Permian sequence is
represented by the lower part of the ubietová Group, com-
prising the Brusno and Predajná Formations (Vozárová 1979).
The Brusno Formation (150—750 m thick) mostly represents
arkosic fluvial sandy sediments deposited in low-sinuosity
rivers. Coeval rift-related volcanic activity resulted in calc-al-
kaline dacite effusions, associated with pyroclastic flows (ign-
imbrites) and epiclastic deposits. Rare andesite/basalts and
their volcaniclastics show affinity to a tholeiitic magmatic
trend. The Cisuralian age of the Brusno Formation is only pro-
vided by the poor assemblage of monosaccate spores. The
Predajná Formation (350—450 m thick) overlaps disconform-
ably the Brusno Formation. A hiatus, as a consequence of the
Saalian movements, is documented by a change of drainage
system, distinct differences in composition of detritus (mica
schists, paragneisses, microgranites and reworked Brusno vol-
canites). Sediments indicate alluvial fan to piedmont flood
plain environments with isolated distal ephemeral lakes. Two
regional megacycles with polymict conglomerates at the base,
both reflect the synsedimentary tectonic. The second cycle is
partially reduced due to pre-Triassic erosion. The Cisuralian
age was deduced according to the poor microflora (Planderová
in Planderová & Vozárová 1982).
Representatives of those Permian successions which are ly-
ing conformable on the Upper Pennsylvanian include the Ci-
suralian deposits in the Southern Veporicum, Zemplinicum
and Hronicum tectonic units.
The strongly deformed and metamorphosed Southern Ve-
poricum metasediments (200—500 m thick) consist of coarse-
grained arkosic metasandstones and rare metaconglomerates
with abundant granitic detritus (e.g. the Rimava Formation;
Vozárová & Vozár 1982). Occasional lava flows of calc-alka-
line rhyolites with their tuffs are present.
The Cisuralian sediments of the Zemplinicum (the Cejkov
and Černochov Formations) were deposited in an alluvial fan
setting alternating with floodplain or ephemeral lake deposits
with calcrete horizons, all showing the typical features of
semiarid/arid climatic conditions. Several layers of calc-alka-
line rhyolite tuffs are partly present in the formation. The Ci-
suralian age of the Cejkov Formation ( < 400 m) is based on
the abundance of the species from the genus Potonieisporites
and Vittatina (Planderová et al. 1981).
The Hronicum Permian sequence (the Malužiná Formation;
Vozárová & Vozár 1988) comprises a thick succession of al-
ternating conglomerates, sandstones and shales. Lenses of do-
lomite, gypsum and calcrete/caliche horizons occur locally.
The sediments of the Malužiná Formation ( ~ 2000 m thick)
were deposited in braided alluvial and fluvial-lacustrine envi-
ronments under a semiarid/arid climate. Fining-upward cycles
of the order of several meters, as well as three regional mega-
cycles (third-order cycles related to synsedimentary tectonics)
are recognized. The basal part of each megacycle comprises
channel-lag and point-bar deposits, associated laterally with
floodplain and levee sequences. The upper part of each mega-
cycle is characterized by playa, rare continental sabkha and
ephemeral lake deposits. An important phenomenon is the
polyphase synsedimentary rift-related andesite-basalt volcan-
ism with a continental tholeiitic magmatic trend (Vozár 1997;
Dostal et al. 2003). The Cisuralian microfloral assemblages
correspond approximately to the first and second megacycles
(Planderová & Vozárová 1982). This assumption is supported
U dating of 263 ± 11 Ma from
uranium-bearing layers of the upper part of the second mega-
cycle (Legierski in Rojkovič 1997). The important magneto-
stratigraphic data, confirming the position of the Illawara
Reversal Horizon were obtained from the upper part of the
second megacycle (Vozárová & Túnyi 2003). On the basis of
these magnetostratigraphical and biostratigraphical results, the
third Malužiná megacycle is considered to be of Late Permian
age. The established paleomagnetic latitudes of the Hronicum
Permian sediments as well as the volcanic rocks indicate a po-
sition below the equator – 7° S of the equator (Krs et al.
The A-type Permian-Triassic granites occur within the intra-
Veporic strike-slip zone (the Hrončok Granite; Petrík et al.
1995) and along the Southern Veporic-Northern Gemeric tec-
tonic contact (the Turčok Granite; Uher & Gregor 1992). The
age of the A-type group magmatites is known from the con-
ventional zircon dating: 239 ± 1.4 Ma for the Hrončok Granite
(Putiš et al. 2000) and 278 ± 1 Ma for its fine-grained micro-
aplitic equivalent (Kotov et al. 1996).
Northern Gemeric Zone
The Northern Gemeric Upper Bashkirian-Moscovian
(Fig. 4, col. 14) basal polymict conglomerates overstep the
different lithological members of the Mississippian syn-oro-
genic sequence, as well as the thrust wedges of two pre-Car-
boniferous terranes (the Spiš Composite Terrane comprising
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
the Klátov and Rakovec Terranes; Vozárová & Vozár 1996).
Within the Northern Gemeric Zone the continental post-oro-
genic sedimentation started during the Early Permian. All
post-orogenic rock complexes within the NGZ were deformed
and metamorphosed during the Alpine tectonothermal events
under very-low to low-grade greenschist facies conditions.
The shallow-water to paralic Upper Bashkirian-Moscovian
formations overstepped unconformably both NGZ pre-Car-
boniferous crystalline complexes (Klátov and Rakovec Ter-
ranes) as well as the eastern part of the occurrences the Early
Carboniferous syn-orogenic Črme Formation (a part of the
Veitsch-Nötsch-Szabadbattyán-Ochtiná Zone; Ebner et al.
2008). Due to very narrow spatial and compositional relation-
ships between the marine Upper Bashkirian-Moscovian and
the syn-orogenic Mississippian sequence, these formations
were described in more detail together with the Carboniferous
foredeep and remnant basins (Ebner et al. 2008). Important in-
dications are two breaks in sedimentation. The first, was dur-
ing the Early Pennsylvanian (Bashkirian) and the second one
in the Late Pennsylvanian (Kasimovian—Ghzelian). Both hiati
in sedimentation were connected with gradual reconstruction
of the NGZ sedimentary realm, first in a transpressional and
the second time in a transtensional tectonic setting. This as-
sumption is documented by different pre-transgressive erosion
steps of individual pre-Pennsylvanian sequences and by their
reworked detritic material.
The marine post-orogenic sequence (8—170 m thick) start-
ed with delta-fan boulder to coarse-grained polymict con-
glomerates (the Rudňany Formation), with rock fragments
derived from all pre-Pennsylvanian complexes of the NGZ.
The 370—380 Ma
Ar cooling age data from white clas-
tic mica and gneiss pebble (Vozárová et al. 2005) indicates
perfectly the age of the first step of the Variscan collisional su-
turing in the NGZ. After initial rapid sedimentation the littoral
to shallow-neritic limestones and fine-grained clastic sedi-
ments were associated with basalts and their volcaniclastics
(the Zlatník Formation; up to 400 m thick). Termination of
this Late Bashkirian—Moscovian peripheral basin is reflected
by cyclical paralic sediments (the Hámor Formation). The
lower part of the Late Bashkirian sequence is well biostrati-
graphically fixed, based on macrofauna: brachiopods, bryozo-
ans, crinoids, gastropods, corals, ammonites and mainly
trilobites (Rakusz 1932; Bouček & Přibyl 1960), Neuropteris
plant debris (Němejc 1953) and Idiognatoides sinuatus con-
odonts (Kozur & Mock 1977).
The origin of the Cisuralian basin was related to the post-
Asturian transtension regime. Coarse clastic sediments de-
rived from the collisional belt predominate, and these are
associated with bimodal andesite/basalt-rhyolite volcanism.
The basal part of the Permian succession (the Knola Forma-
tion) contains mostly poorly-sorted conglomerates and brec-
cias of variable thickness (100—350 m). The deposited
mudflows were partially eroded by alluvial stream channels.
The age of the sediments is not well dated, due to the lack of
fossils. The overlying Petrova Hora Formation (750—900 m
thick) comprises clastic sediments arranged into fining-up-
ward alluvial cycles. Depositional environments are represent-
ed by fluvial and floodplain environments, alternating with
playa-lake settings in the topmost parts of the megacycles. Bi-
modal volcanics and volcaniclastics are the significant mem-
ber of the Petrova Hora Formation. Analyses of the volcanic
horizons indicate that activity was polyphase. The Artinskian-
Kungurian (“Upper Rotliegend”) microflora was found in the
upper part of the Petrová Hora Formation (Planderová in Plan-
derová & Vozárová 1982). Th-U-Pb dating of monazite con-
firm the Artinskian-Kungurian age 278 ± 11 Ma of rhyolite
tuffs (Rojkovič & Konečný 2005).
The Cisuralian-age terrigenous and terrigenous-volcanogenic
sequence is overlain by a relatively mature sandy-conglomerat-
ic horizon, containing pebbly material derived from the underli-
er. The evidence of this “cannibalistic” erosion might have been
a consequence of the break in sedimentation at the end of the
Cisuralian (Saalian movements) and the beginning of the Al-
pine sedimentary cycle. However, the biostratigraphic evidence
supporting this assumption is missing. Deposition is represent-
ed predominantly by alluvial stream-channel deposits grading
upwards to salt pan/nearshore sabkha/lagoonal facies with an-
hydrite-gypsum and salt breccia horizons, associated with small
accumulations of sylvite (in the Novoveská Huta Formation,
Kántor 1972 in Vozárová 1997). There is a gradual transition
from the Guadalupian-Lopingian siliciclastic-evaporitic se-
quence up to the Lower Triassic siliciclastic-carbonate sedi-
ments. The paleomagnetic latitudes of the Northern Gemeric
Permian sediments and volcanics indicate their position at a pa-
leolatitude of 8° S of the equator (Krs et al. 1996).
Inner Western Carpathian Crystalline Zone
The Permian post-orogenic sequences were recognized
within several Alpine tectonic units in the Inner Western Car-
pathians (Fig. 4, col. 15—17). The lowermost Inner Western
Carpathian Alpine unit is represented by the Southern Gemeri-
cum, which is overthrust by the outliers of the Meliaticum,
Turnaicum and Silicicum Nappes. The whole stack of the Al-
pine Inner Western Carpathian nappes is characterized by the
distinct northern vergency. The superficial presence of the
Variscan basement was acknowledged only within the South-
The Southern Gemericum basement is mostly composed of
thick Lower Paleozoic volcanogenic flysch (the Gelnica Ter-
rane; Vozárová & Vozár 1996, 1997). Within this tectonic
unit, the Lower Permian continental Rožňava Formation was
preserved as a relict basin filling related to the initial stage of
post-Variscan rifting. This formation unconformably overlies
the low-grade Lower Paleozoic volcano-sedimentary complex
of the Gelnica Terrane. The Rožňava Formation (300—400 m
thick) is subdivided into two large cycles, with conglomerate
horizons at the base of each and of a sandstone-mudstone
member in their upper part. Sediments were deposited as
stream-channel and sheet-flood deposits. Both of the con-
glomeratic horizons interfinger with rhyolite-dacite subaerial
volcaniclastics and rare lava flows. According to monazite
ages the Rožňava Formation volcanogenic horizon corre-
sponds to the Artinskian—Kungurian (average age 277 Ma;
Vozárová et al. 2008). The chemical composition of these vol-
canic rocks tends to be of calc-alkaline to alkaline magmatic
type. The Cisuralian age of the Rožňava Formation is also
confirmed by the presence of microflora (Planderová 1980).
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
The gradually prograding Štítnik Formation ( ~ 400 m thick)
is a monotonous complex of cyclically alternating sandstones,
siltstones and shales. Lenses of calcareous sandstones and do-
lomitic limestones with intercalations of shales occur only in
its upper part. Thin lenses of phosphatic sandstones are rare.
The phosphatic sandstones contain intraclasts of microphos-
phorites as well as fine-grained apatite crystals within the ce-
ment. The sediments contain a relatively high amount of
rhyolite/dacite detritus (most probably redeposited from the
Rožňava Formation). The sedimentary environment is inter-
preted as alluvial-lacustrine and lacustrine, with ephemeral
high-alkaline lakes in some places, grading into near-shore, la-
goonal facies. In contrast to this, the phosphatic sandstones
originated in ephemeral eutrophic lakes as a result of phos-
phorus concentrations due to iron redox cycling (Vozárová &
Rojkovič 2000). The Guadalupian-Lopingian age determina-
tions are known only from the uppermost part of the Štítnik
Formation (plant and bivalve test remains – Šuf 1963; micro-
flora assemblages – Planderová 1980).
Generally, the Southern Gemeric Permian sequence con-
tains a high amount of mineralogically mature detritus
(quartz, metaquartzites), mainly in its basal part. Conspicu-
ous upward fining is accompanied by decreasing of mineral
maturity (enrichment in clastic mica, phyllitic fragments and
Mineralogically and geochemically specialized Ss granites
(Broska & Uher 2001) are the integral part of this crustal
block. These granites have very high initial
ratios, > 0.720 (Kovách et al. 1986; Cambel et al. 1990),
which indicates a mature continental metasedimentary pro-
tolith. The Permian—Triassic age was obtained by zircon sin-
gle grain analysis (250 ± 18 Ma; Poller et al. 2002). The
Permian age was confirmed by Rb-Sr whole rocks and mineral
dating (Cambel et al. 1990), monazite microprobe dating
(276 ± 13 Ma, 263 ± 28 Ma; Finger & Broska 1999; Finger et
al. 2003) and Re-Os isotope molybdenite dating (262.2 ± 0.9
and 263.8 ± 0.8 Ma; Kohút & Stein 2005).
Bôrka Nappe (Meliaticum)
A high pressure/low temperature accretionary wedge rock
complex of the Meliaticum suture, assigned to a single tectonic
unit termed the Bôrka Nappe, consists of a variable, discontinu-
ous and intensely tectonically-segmented rock package of the
ocean bottom and thinned continental crust including Permian
complexes among other fragments (Mello et al. 1998). Two tec-
tonic slices of the Permian metasediments have been recog-
nized, namely: i) the Bučina Formation, composed of felsitic
rhyolite-dacites and their volcaniclastics, mixed with non-vol-
canic quartzose detritus; and, ii) the Jasov Formation, composed
predominantly of siliciclastic quartzose metasediments, with
rare acid volcanics and volcaniclastics at the base. Conglomer-
ates are rich in quartz and metasiliciclastic fragments.
Petrological features of the Permian metasediments, as well
as metapelites, marbles and metabasalts from the Mesozoic
part of the Bôrka Nappe sequence, point to two dominating
metamorphic evolutionary stages (Mazzoli & Vozárová
1998), the first HP/LT stage (P ± 1.3 GPa, T ~ 550 °C) and the
second LP one (P ~ 0.5 GPa and T ~ 400 °C). Both Permian
sedimentary formations are lithologically similar to the Ci-
suralian sediments of the Southern Gemericum. They are in-
terpreted as representing fragments of the initial rift-related
basin filling, which were involved in the subduction process
during closure of the Meliata Ocean.
Turnaicum (Slovenská skala Nappe)
In the Turnaicum, the Brusník Formation continental red-
beds unconformably overlie the Bashkirian syn-orogenic flysch
turbiditic strata. Most probably they are of Guadalupian-Lopin-
gian age (no biostratigraphical material was found and it re-
mains undated). The mutual upward prograding of polymict
siliciclastic sediments into the Perkupa Formation evaporites is
characteristic. The Brusník Formation is dominated by coarse-
grained siliciclastics and has a distinct fining-upward tendency,
with violet and greyish-violet colour. The whole sequence is
composed of three large fining-upward cycles, with mudstone
and scarce lenses of carbonates at the top, however, carbonates
were found only in a third part of them. The sediments are struc-
turally immature. The prevalent depositional system corre-
sponds to alluvial fan environment. Supracrustal provenance is
documented by fragments of metapelites, metasandstones, ly-
dites and metaquartzites. Sediments are rich in quartz and
synsedimentary acid volcanic material.
The Guadalupian-Lopingian/Lower Scythian evaporites are
the integral part of the Turnaicum as well as mostly Mesozoic
Silicicum Nappe system. They have been referred to the Per-
kupa Formation. The main occurrence is in the Slovak Karst,
on the territory of Slovakia (Mello et al. 1997) and in the Ag-
gtelek-Rudabánya Unit of the Aggtelek Karst in northern
Hungary (Kovács et al. 1989). Evaporites in both areas are
concordantly overlain by the Bódvaszillas Beds (red and grey
sandstones and shales – Griesbachian). This uniform Middle-
Late Permian/Scythian sedimentary pattern is an integral part
of the Alpine sedimentary cycle.
Pelsonia Composite Terrane
The Pelsonia Composite Terrane (Fig. 4, col. 18—23) con-
sists of the Transdanubian Range Unit (the Bakonya Terrane),
Zagorje-Mid-Transdanubian Unit, Bükk Unit (Bükkia Ter-
rane) and the Aggtelek-Rudabánya Unit. It is bounded by the
Rába-Hurbanovo-Diósjenő Line and the Rožňava Line to the
North and by the Mid-Hungarian Lineament to the South
(Haas et al. 2001). The juxtaposition occurred during the Late
Pre-Variscan and Variscan basements are not known in the
Aggtelek-Rudabánya Unit. The Guadalupian—Lopingian in
the Aggtelek-Bódva Nappes is characterized by accumulation
of a thick evaporite sequence under arid climatic conditions
(the Perkupa Formation) related to the transgression of the
Neotethys Sea at the beginning of the Alpine sedimentary cycle.
The shallow-marine Mályinka Formation develops continu-
ously from the flyschoid, deep-water siliciclastic sediments of
the Szilvásvárad Formation, apparently without any break in
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
sedimentation. In the older literature the Szilvásvárad turbidit-
ic silicilastics were correlated as the Hochwipfel flysch. How-
ever, Ebner et al. (2008) do not refer to these sediments as
syn-orogenic flysch due to the lack of any Variscan overprint.
The Mályinka Formation consists of fossiliferous shales (bra-
chiopods, crinoids and sometimes trilobites, bivalves, gastro-
pods), sandstones and scarce conglomerates, with three major
limestone horizons (two in Late Moscovian, one in Gzhelian).
The limestone horizons (each of them several tens of meters)
are mostly very rich in fossils (fusulinids, corals, calcareous
algae, etc.). The formation represents the time equivalent of
the Auernig Group of the Carnic Alps (Ebner et al. 1991),
however, there is no evidence for Variscan orogenic events.
On the other hand, similarly to the Jadar Block and Sana-Una
Terranes, an uplift and erosion took place in the Early Permian.
During the Permian the Bükkia Terrane (Bükk Parautoch-
thon Unit) might have been located in the inner part of the
western Tethys (Protić et al. 2000; Filipović et al. 2003).
There is a gap in the Cisuralian. The Guadalupian formations,
representing the beginning of the Neotethyan sedimentary cy-
cle, overlie the eroded surface of a shallow marine Upper
Pennsylvanian series. Mostly the whole Kasimovian-Gzhelian
part had been eroded and the overlying Szentlélek Formation
rests directly on the Upper Moscovian sediments. The
Szentlélek Formation sequence begins with the 170—250 m-
thick sandstone and siltstone formation. Whitish-grey and
variegated sandstone characterizes the basal part of the lower
member of the formation. Quartz grains are predominant in
the sandstone. The quantity of mica, feldspar and acidic vol-
caniclasts is subordinate. Violet and brownish-red sandstone
makes up the middle part of the sequence, containing in-
creasing amounts of clastic muscovite.
The lower and middle part of the lower member was formed
in a fluvial environment. The upper part of the lower member
consists of lilac to reddish siltstone and fine-grained sandstone
that formed in an alluvial and/or coastal plain environment.
This part of the Permian succession can be correlated with the
Val Gardena (Gröden) Formation in the Southern Alps.
The upper member of the Szentlélek Formation is made up
of an alternation of greenish-grey claystones, dolomite, gyp-
sum and anhydrite layers. Evaporites predominate in the lower
third of the formation. Above the dolomitic limestone horizon
dolomites become increasingly important. Dolomitic layers
contain foraminifera and ostracode fossils. The small number
of species and large number of specimens suggest a high-sa-
linity environment. The ostracode assemblage is indicative of
the Guadalupian (Fülöp 1984). The lithofacies and fossils in-
dicate an alternation of the sabkha and subtidal lagoonal envi-
ronments. The features of this member are very similar to
those of the coeval Fiamazza facies of the Bellerophon Forma-
tion in the Southern Alps. Similar facies were also reported
from the Jadar Block (Filipović et al. 2003).
The evaporitic dolomite series passes gradually upward into
dark grey bituminous limestone, ~ 170—260 m thick (Nagyvis-
nyó Limestone). In the lower part of the formation limestone
and dolomite layers alternate, showing an upward-decreasing
trend of dolomitization. Corals and calcareous sponges were
found in the topmost bed of the lower member. Above this
bed medium-bedded, dark grey to black limestone predomi-
nates, punctuated by thin black shale layers. In the upper part
of the formation limestone and marl layers alternate, and marl
with calcareous nodules is typical. In some layers brachiopods
and molluscs can be found in large quantities, while trilobites
are rare. The formation is very rich in microfossils. Calcareous
algae (Mizzia, Gymnocodium etc.) commonly occur in rock-
forming quantity (Fülöp 1994). The quantity of benthic fora-
minifera is also remarkable (Bérczi-Makk et al. 1995). The
ostracode assemblage is extremely rich in species as well (Ko-
zur 1985). On the basis of the fossils the Nagyvisnyó Lime-
stone can be assigned to the latest Guadalupian—Lopingian
(Kozur 1985; Fülöp 1994). The large amount of dasycla-
dacean algae in the Nagyvisnyó Limestone clearly indicates a
euphotic, subtidal, low-energy inner shelf depositional envi-
ronment. The faunal assemblage suggests normal-salinity ma-
rine conditions. The formation shows close similarities with
the Badiota facies of the Bellerophon Formation in the South-
ern Alps, the Slovenian Žažar Formation, the Croatian Velebit
Formation and especially the Dinaridic (W Serbian) Jadar For-
mation (Pešić et al. 1988; Filipović et al. 2003; Sremac 2005).
Bakonyia Terrane (Transdanubian Range Unit)
Very low to low grade metamorphism of the thick Early Pa-
leozoic succession took place in the second part of the Missis-
sippian (320—340 Ma). The Pennsylvanian molasse-type
terrestrial deposits that contain clasts of the previously meta-
morphosed Lower Paleozoic basement were not affected by
metamorphism. In the Cisuralian (274 ± 1.7 Ma) peralumi-
nous, S- or S/A-type alkali granodioritic magma intruded into
the Variscan metamorphic complex, leading to the formation
of granite, granodiorite and quartz diorite intrusions, all along
the Balaton Lineament that is considered to be a continuation
of the Periadriatic Lineament (Buda et al. 2004).
Uplifting and denudation due to the Late Pennsylvanian—Ci-
suralian orogenic movements were followed by regional sub-
sidence in the Guadalupian. In this stage, remarkably thick
terrestrial series began to accumulate in the southwestern part
of the Transdanubian Range. The northeastern part of the
Transdanubian Range was subjected to marine inundation. Al-
luvial, coastal plain, peritidal and subtidal lagoon facies oc-
curred coevally. This pattern is very similar to that which
developed in the Southern Alps at the same time (Val Gardena
Formation = Bellerophon Formation) (Haas et al. 1988).
In the Balaton Highland area, continental red-beds covering
a considerable area represent the Guadalupian—Lopingian
(Balatonfelvidék Sandstone – an equivalent of the Val Gar-
dena Sandstone in the Southern Alps). In this area its thickness
may reach 500—800 m. There is a significant north-eastward re-
duction of the formation thickness to ~ 150 m only.
Generally, the sequence begins with a coarse clastic mem-
ber which is made up of conglomerate—sandstone—siltstone
cycles bounded by unconformities. The conglomerate pebbles
are derived from Lower Paleozoic metamorphic rocks and
dacite. In some parts of the Balaton Highland coarse polymict
breccia (fanglomerate) occurs at the base of the formation.
The upper member of the formation consists of sandstone—
siltstone cycles, occasionally with intraformational conglom-
erate at the base of the cycles. The sand grains consist
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
predominantly of rock fragments and quartz. As a rule, the
percentage of feldspar grains is less than 20 modal %. The ma-
trix is illitic with hematite and micritic dolomite or gypsum.
Matrix-supported conglomerates in the lower segment mem-
ber are formed by proximal, upper alluvial fan facies. The
clast-supported sandy conglomerate indicates the middle fan.
Cycles with sandstone and siltstone beds, which are character-
istic of the upper part of the formation, mark a distal fan envi-
ronment, from alluvial plain to coastal plain. The commonly
occurring cross-bedded sandstone beds are channel deposits
(point bar, channel bar, channel fill) and the siltstone layers are
floodplain sediments (Majoros 1983). The sequence is poor in
fossils, but coalified plants, imprints of leaves and stems,
and silicified trunks occasionally occur. In the Balaton High-
land the Guadalupian-Lopingian sporomorph assemblage
has been found 250—300 m beneath the P/T boundary
NE of the Balaton Highland an evaporitic formation con-
sists of siltstone, dolomite, anhydrite and gypsum. These ap-
pear above the red sandstone and partly interfingering with
them (Tabajd Evaporite). Dolomite and anhydrite form con-
cretions, nodules, laminae and thin beds within the red or
greenish-grey siltstones. The sedimentary environment of the
evaporitic siltstone formation was the coastal sabkha where
sulphate precipitation and dolomitization took place in the
ground-water fluctuation zone under arid conditions. Sporo-
morphs, found in some layers are essentially the same, as the
assemblage from the upper segment of the red sandstone for-
mation (Barabás-Stuhl 1975).
In the northeastern part of the Transdanubian Range the up-
per segment of the Permian is represented by a cyclical la-
goonal facies consisting predominantly of dolomite (Dinnyés
Dolomite). It is underlain by the evaporitic siltstone unit and in-
terfingers with it. The thickness of the formation is 200—300 m.
It consists of grey and dark grey, bituminous dolomite with in-
terlayers of nodular anhydrite or gypsum. The evaporate nod-
ules indicate sabkha facies in a periodically desiccated lagoon.
The laminated or locally fenestral, laminated bituminous dolo-
mites represent intertidal—supratidal facies. The peloidal, calcar-
eous algal, foraminiferal or ostracodal wackestone microfacies
indicate the subtidal lagoon environment, whereas the oolitic,
bioclastic grainstones point to ooid shoals. The lagoonal dolo-
mite is rich in calcareous algae, foraminifera and ostracods
(Góczán et al. 1987). This microfauna and the algal association
were reported in the Tethys region from the eastern part of the
Southern Alps as far as China in the Guadalupian—Lopingian.
Between Balaton and the Mid-Hungarian Lineament, the
basement of the Cenozoic sequences is made up of Upper Pa-
leozoic-Mesozoic formations, significantly different from the
corresponding horizons of the neighbouring structural units.
This strongly sheared zone was named Zagorje-Midtransdanu-
bian Zone by Pamić & Tomljenović (1998) and recently the
Sava Composite Unit by Haas et al. (2000).
The Permian sequences show significant facies relationships
with coeval formations of the Carnic Alps, the South Karawan-
ken, the Sava Folds and the Inner Dinarides. It indicates the
original location of these sheared blocks in the junction area of
the Southern Alps and Dinarides (Haas et al. 2001).
The Cisuralian succession consists predominantly of fine si-
liciclastic sediments (grey quartz sandstone and dark grey
shale) with interlayers of fossiliferous, dark grey, dolomitic
limestones and subordinately, lenses of reef talus breccia. Al-
gae and foraminifera were found in the carbonate layers (Bérc-
zi-Makk & Kochansky-Devidé 1981). This carbonate-clastic
sequence can be fairly well correlated with the Trogkofel stra-
ta of the South Karawanken. Above this succession light grey
dolomite and dolomitic limestone are exposed. They are as-
signed to the Guadalupian—Lopingian.
The TISIA Megaterrane
The TISIA Megaterrane forms the basement of the Pannon-
ian Basin south of the Mid-Hungarian Lineament. This lithos-
pheric fragment broke off from the southern margin of
Variscan Europe during Jurassic times. After complicated
drifting and rotation it took its present position during the Ear-
ly Miocene (Balla 1986; Csontos et al. 1992; Horváth 1993).
This pre-Neogene basement crops out only in two relatively
small, isolated mountains in South Transdanubia – the Me-
csek and Villány Mts. Within the crystalline basement of the
TISIA Megaterrane, three pre-Alpine terranes have been dis-
tinguished, separated from each other by major fracture zones
(Szederkenyi 1997). Their post-Variscan sequence is repre-
sented in the Mecsek-Villány Zone column (Fig. 5, col. 24).
The Slavonia-Dravia Terrane is located in the southeastern
part of Transdanubia, extending southward into eastern Croat-
ia. It is necessary to mention that every part of the Slavonia-
Dravia unit in Hungary is covered by younger formations and
it is confirmed by deep-drillings.
Babócsa Subunit: A non-metamorphic Pennsylvanian mo-
lasse-type sequence oversteps unconformably in southern part
of the crystalline basement as erosional remnants above them.
The crystalline rocks are identical with the medium-grade
crystalline rocks of the Drava Basin as well as the Papuk-
Krndija Mountains of East Croatia (Pamić & Lanphere 1991).
The Teseny Sandstone Formation consists of a cyclic grey and
dark grey conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, shale and thin
anthracitic coal seams. Rich plant remnants indicate the Late
A Pennsylvanian “molasse-type” sequence shows poor af-
finity to the Radlovac Formation (Pamić 1998) and an excel-
lent one to the Apuseni Mountains Pennsylvanian formations
(Bleahu et al. 1976). Certain relationships are recognized with
the coal-bearing Carboniferous complexes of Silesia and Ger-
many. Permian deposits are unknown in this subunit.
Baksa Subunit: Similarly to the Babócsa Subunit the Penn-
sylvanian “molasse-type” sandstone sequence had uncon-
formably overlain the crystalline basement. This thick
coal-bearing grey-coloured sandstone-claystone sequence of
Late Moscovian and Kasimovian age contains a rich flora
characterized by typical ferns, Equisetum and Sphaenophyl-
lum (Hetényi et al. 1971). This sedimentary formation is over-
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
lain by a complex of violet-brown siltstone and fine-grained
sandstone. Several thin rhyolite tuffs and dolomitic marl inter-
calations also occur. Amphibian footprints suggest Kasimov-
ian—Gzhelian age (Barabás-Stuhl 1975).
The Late Pennsylvanian strata pass without a sharp bound-
ary into the Permian sequence, which represents a thick and
complete Cisuralian “red-beds” formation (Barabás-Stuhl
1988). This characteristic sedimentary rock-column is fin-
ished by a thick acidic volcanic and volcano-sedimentary
rock-complex. It is represented by a rhyolitic lava complex
and related pyroclastics (ignimbrites, tuffs) more than ~ 800 m
thick. After a considerable gap, the Early Triassic conglomer-
ates and red sandstones settled down on the erosional surface
of the volcanic mass (Fazekas et al. 1981, 1987).
The crystalline complex of the Baksa Subunit has the same
affinity to the Babócsa Subunit, namely the crystalline com-
plexes of the East Slavonian Papuk, Ravna Gora, Psunj,
Krndija and Moslovacka Gora Mountains. Significant simi-
larity can be recognized in lithology, lithostratigraphy and
metamorphic evolution to the Csongrád Subunit of the Béké-
sia Terrane. There is still no acceptable explanation for this
The Kunságia Terrane extends over the area located between
the Middle Hungarian Lineament and the Villányi-Mecsekalja-
Szigetvar Fracture Zone. An eastward continuation towards the
Apuseni Mts can be postulated, but true connection between
them is still lacking.
Mórágy Subunit: There are five smaller and variable bodies,
which represent several types of thrust outliers, mostly of
Variscan nappe remnants wedged into the crystalline rocks of
the Mórágy Subunit. Grey, non-metamorphosed fossil and oc-
casionally organic matter rich sandstones (the Nagykörös
Sandstone) are wedged into the NE continuation of the Mecse-
kalja Line. They are tentatively regarded as Pennsylvanian.
Nearly a complete Permian rock-column overstep sequence
covers the granitoid deep-basement of the Western Mecsek
Mountains. A continuous and undisturbed “molasse” se-
quence about ~ 3200 m thick consists of four sedimentary and
one volcanic formation. They are the Korpád Sandstone,
Gyűrűfű Rhyolite, Cserdi Conglomerate, Boda Aleurolite and
Kővágószőlős Sandstone Formations (Fülöp 1994). The last
of them contains a uranium-bearing level.
The Korpád Sandstone consists of predominantly red,
coarse-grained sandstone and polymict conglomerates. The
whole sequence displays cyclicity, with intercalation of red-
brownish mudstones at the top of individual cycles. On the
basis of sporomorph and macroflora the age of this forma-
tion is Cisuralian (Barabás-Stuhl 1981). The Gyűrűfű Rhyo-
lite is a rather monotonous complex of lava flow alternating
with ignimbrites. The top part of this formation is character-
ized by an erosional surface (Fazekas et al. 1987). The whole
rock Rb-Sr age is 277 ± 45 Ma (Balogh & Kovách 1973).
The Cserdi Conglomerate transgressively overlies the eroded
surface of the Gyűrűfű Rhyolite. A fluvial cyclic red-beds
(conglomerate—sandstone—siltstone) sequence gradually pass-
es upward into the overlying Boda Siltstone. The formation is
made up of thick, monotonous, reddish-brown siltstone with
scarce intercalations of fine-grained sandstone and dolomitic
marls. Sedimentary structures indicate lacustrine environ-
ment in an arid/semiarid climate. The phyllopods proved the
Cisuralian age (Fülöp 1994). According to the sporomorphs
the formation belongs to the Guadalupian—Lopingian (Bara-
bas-Stuhl 1981). The Guadalupian—Lopingian age is thus
better constrained. The youngest Kővágószőlős Sandstone
Formation consists of well-bedded fluviatile coarse- to fine-
grained sandstone and a lacustrine-paludal siltstone. Numer-
ous grey interlayers contain the Guadalupian-Lopingian
macroflora (Heer 1877). After a small hiatus, found on the
top of the Permian rock-column, the Early Triassic red-bed
layers (so-called Jakabhegy Sandstone Formation), overstep
the Permian formations. In other parts of the Mórágy Subunit
(northern part of the Great Hungarian Plain and Tolna Coun-
ty of SE Transdanubia) small remnants of the Cisuralian
Korpád Sandstone Formation with thin Gyűrűfű Rhyolite
lava overlay the crystalline complex (Vajta and surround-
ings). The younger Permian rocks are missing in this area.
The crystalline complex of the Mórágy Subunit shows simi-
larity in lithology, lithostratigraphy, metamorphic evolution
and tectonic setting to the basement of Szolnok-Debrecen Up-
per Cretaceous-Paleogene flysch (Ebes) and the northernmost
hills of Apuseni Mountains (Bükk, Ciko, Salaj Magura, Mesz-
es). The Permian sequences of the Western Mecsek show a
rather unique development. Any other thick and continuous
Permian rock formations can be found in the Pannonian Ba-
sin. In the Villány and Apuseni Mountains small isolated rel-
ics of the Permian rock complexes are settled on the erosional
surface of the Mórágy- and Kőrös Subunits, as-well-as on the
crystalline complex of the Békésia Unit (Vajta, Kecskemét,
Nagykőrös, Kelebia, Kiskunmajsa, Tótkomlós, Nagyszénás,
Battonya, Kékkut, Balaton Highland).
Kőrös Subunit: It forms the crystalline basement of so-
called Villány Zone (except the crystalline basement of strict-
ly regarded Villány Mountains, which belongs to the
Slavonia-Dravia Terrane). The Kőrös Subunit forms a
~250 km long synclinorium structure with migmatite-grani-
toid bodies in its axial zone, similarly to the Mórágy Subunit.
Within this zone, there are five elongated small (15—25 km
long) S- and I-type biotite metagranite-granodiorite bodies
(Buda 1985, 1995). This subunit also contains small enclaves
of crystalline rock bodies (amphibolite and eclogite and low-
grade metamorphic rocks).
As an overstep sequence the Cisuralian red sandstone (the
Korpád Sandstone Formation) and thin rhyolite lava flows
overlay it (the north-eastern continuation of Villány Permian
association up to the Danube River). The younger Permian
sedimentation was missing in this area (Fülöp 1994). The
crystalline rocks of the Kőrös Subunit correspond to south-
western continuation of the so-called Bihor Autochthon
(Bleahu et al. 1975).
Remnants of the Upper Paleozoic overstep sequences are
rare within the Békésia Variscan basement. They are present
only within the Kelebia and Batonya Subunits.
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
Kelebia Subunit: It is made up of low- and medium-grade,
strongly-folded two-micaschists with rare chlorite schist inter-
calations. This rock complex shows mainly the effect of Bar-
rowian metamorphism, with a weak Variscan thermal
overprinting in some places. The Cisuralian rhyolite lava
(Gyűrűfű Rhyolite Formation) and small erosive remnants of
the Korpád Sandstone Formation overlap the erosional surface
of the metamorphic basement rocks in the north Serbian area
(the Kelebia locality). Another independent Cisuralian rhyolite
volcanic body was found at Kiskunmajsa (Fazekas et al. 1981)
Due to their metamorphic grade and structural style the
Kelebia crystalline rocks form a rather individual structural
rock mass. The north Serbian (Vojvodina) crystalline base-
ment shows similar development near Subotica and Sombor.
Battonya Subunit: Biotite-muscovite granodiorite with en-
claves of medium- and high-grade metamorphic rocks occur
on both (NW and SE) sides of the broad granitoid body (25—
30 km wide) and characterize this subunit. According to
Buda (1995) these peraluminous rocks show mixed crustal/
mantle origin of the destructive plate margin setting. On the
erosional surface of the Battonya Subunit a huge Gyűrűfű
Rhyolite Formation volcano developed with a diameter of at
least ~30 km at its base. Due to the powerful pre-Triassic
erosion this volcano was eroded nearly to its root. The age of
volcanism, dated by the Rb-Sr whole rocks method gave
very wide time span around 240 ± 45 Ma (Balogh & Kovách
The Apuseni Mountains
The Apuseni Mts are the product of several tectonic cycles,
the last of which, the Alpine cycle has been best defined and
precisely delimited. The Alpine orogeny gave rise to two geo-
logical units, the Northern Apuseni and the Southern Apuseni,
differing in the character and age of Alpine sedimentary se-
quences as well as the timing of tectonothermal processes.
Variscan post-orogenic sediments are known only within the
Northern Apuseni Mts. In the Northern Apuseni Mts three
main zones can be differentiated on the basis of their structural
and paleogeographical history: 1. Bihor Autochthon, 2. Codru
Nappe System, 3. Biharia Nappe System (Bleahu et al. 1981).
These main Alpine zones represent the eastern continuation of
the TISIA Megaterrane basement units of the Pannonian Basin
(Fig. 5, col. 25—28).
The Permian deposits represent the oldest sedimentary cov-
er of the pre-Alpine metamorphic basement. This is assigned
to the Somes Terrane, consisting of paragneisses, mica schists,
leptyno-amphibolite sequence and migmatites, considered
pre-Variscan (Kräutner 1997). The Variscan deformational
and tectono-thermal events are mostly represented by retro-
gressive greenschist facies metamorphism (Kräutner 1997;
Dallmeyer et al. 1994: 316—306 Ma
Ar ages) and pene-
tration of late orogenic igneous intrusions (Muntele Mare
Granitoids, 278 Ma zircon age; Pana et al. 2002). In some ar-
eas a distinct Alpine thermal overprinting was recorded (ca.
Ar ages; Dallmeyer et al. 1994).
The Permian overstep sequence is mostly represented by
quartzitic breccia containing fragments from the metamorphic
basement, scarce bodies of rhyolites and acid welded pyro-
clastics. Locally, the breccia is underlain by argillaceous silty
shales and vermicular sandstones.
Codru Nappe System (Békés-Codru of TISIA)
Most of the Codru Alpine Units are cover nappes, contain-
ing sedimentary sequences ranging from the Permian to the
Early Cretaceous (Bleahu et al. 1981). Fragments of the pre-
Permian terranes were conserved only in the deeper units of
the nappe system: the Codru Terrane in the Finis-Gârda
Nappe and the Variscan low-grade Lower Carboniferous
metapsamites and metapsefites (Arieseni Formation) in the
Arieseni Nappe. The Codru Complex consists of polymeta-
morphic ortho-amphibolites, paragneisses, micaschists and
Ar ages of 405 Ma for amphibole, 373 Ma
for muscovite; Dallmeyer et al. 1994). Integral parts of the Co-
dru Complex are pegmatites (K-Ar ages of 356 Ma for musco-
vite; Pavelescu et al. 1975) and intrusive bodies of
trondhjemite, quartz-diorite and orthoclase granite, microcline
and muscovite granites (Codru Granitoids). Variscan and Al-
pine deformational events are documented by retrogressive
greenschist facies overprint.
Post-Variscan overstep sequences are preserved in most of
the Codru Nappe System, excluding the uppermost units
(Vascau and Golesti Nappes) formed only by Mesozoic de-
posits. They are represented by the Permian varicoloured sedi-
ments, locally associated with acid and basic volcanic rocks.
Changes of facial development and character of volcanism in
different tectonic units suggest that in the Codru Nappe Sys-
tem distinct parts of an intracontinental rift basin are pre-
served, ranging from the continental edge of the Bihor realm
(Bihor “Autochthonous” and Valani Nappe) through a slope
(Finis-Gârda Nappe) to the main basin zone (Dieva-Batrânes-
cu and Moma-Arieseni Nappes). In the lower part of the nappe
pile, the deposits underwent a weak Alpine metamorphism.
Within the Finis-Gârda Nappe the Permian overstep se-
quence includes, from the bottom to the top, the following for-
mal lithostratigraphic units (Bleahu et al. 1981): (1) the
Laminated Conglomerate Formation (latest Pennsylvanian—
Cisuralian) consisting of oligomictic metaconglomerates, as-
sociated with laminated metasandstones and purplish
metapelites; (2) the Vermicular Sandstone Formation com-
posed mainly of red lithic sandstones with bioglyphes (burrow
fillings), interbedded with shales and sandy shales; (3) the
Rhyolitic Formation formed mainly of ignimbrites (Stan
1981), locally interbedded with tuffs and tuffaceous sand-
stones; (4) the Feldspathitic Formation represented by felds-
The lithological sequence of the Arieseni Nappe (Bleahu et
al. 1981) starts with (1) the Laminated Conglomerate Forma-
tion, followed by (2) the Vermicular Sandstone Formation
which shows its largest development in this unit. The equiva-
lent of the Rhyolitic Formation (3) consists mainly of detrital
feldspathitic sediments, and ignimbrites/rhyolites occur only
as subsidiary element. Sporadic occurrences of basalts may be
mentioned. On the top of the whole sequence the Oligomictic
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
Formation (4) was distinguished. It may be considered a
lithostratigraphic equivalent of the Feldspathitic Formation of
the Finis-Gârda realm. Here the quartzose character of the
sandstones becomes more evident and the amount of the feld-
spar component decreases.
In the Moma and Dieva-Batrânescu Nappes the rifting relat-
ed bimodal volcanism show the largest extent. The sedimenta-
ry pile (Bleahu et al. 1981) includes from the base to the top:
(1) the Laminated Conglomerate Formation; (2) the Volcanic
Formation, in which three members have been distinguished.
The Lower Rhyolite Member (2a) includes mainly ignimbrites
(also cinerites in the Moma Nappe) in which the dacitic rocks
are associated towards the upper part (in the Dieva-Batrânescu
Nappe). The Mafic Member (2b) is formed of basalts, andes-
ite-basalts, spilitic rocks and anamesite flows, associated with
intercalations of basaltic tuffs (Stan 1987). Spilitization and
hydrothermal alteration are largely extended processes, so that
most of the available analytical data (Stan 1980, 1983) are not
suitable for discrimination of tectonic environments. These
volcanics are interbedded with shales, silty shales, siltstones
and fine reddish-violet sandstones. In the Moma Nappe, the
amount of detrital rocks is higher than in the Dieva-Batrânes-
cu unit. The Upper Rhyolitic Member (2c) (or “feldspathitic
member with upper rhyolites”) consists prevailingly of detrital
material represented by conglomerates, feldspathitic and arko-
sic sandstones and shales. Several levels of rhyolitic ignim-
brites and acid tuffs are present. The rhyolitic roots of these
volcanics are crosscutting the Mafic Member. A decrease of
volcanic material marks the transition to the Oligomictic For-
mation (3) on the top of the Permian sequence (only in the Di-
Biharia Nappe System
This nappe system includes the uppermost Alpine units of
the Northern Apuseni, comprising from the bottom to the top:
(1) the Highis-Poiana Nappe, (2) the Biharia Nappe (incl.
Radna Nappe of the Drocea Mts), (3) the Muncel-Lupsa
Nappe and (4) the Baia de Aries Nappe. All these nappes are
constituted mainly of metamorphic rocks, assigned to differ-
ent pre-Alpine terranes, which underwent successively pre-
Variscan, Variscan and Alpine tectono-thermal overprints. In
the Biharia Terrane, considered a pre-Variscan ophiolitic crust-
al fragment (Dimitrescu 1994), the pre-Variscan granitoids are
recorded in the Gilau and Biharia Mts (described as Lunca Lar-
ga Granitoids – Balintoni 1994; 490 Ma zircon age – Pana et
al. 2002). In its western part (Radna Unit; Balintoni 1986) the
Biharia Terrane was intruded by the Highis Granitoids during
the Permian (266—264 Ma zircon age – Pana et al. 2002).
Post-Variscan overstep sequences are represented by largely
extended detrital deposits, mainly conglomerates, assigned to
the Late Pennsylvanian. They are intensively overprinted by a
low-grade Alpine metamorphism. Locally this pile is covered
by the Permian deposits, somehow similar in facial develop-
ment to the Permian deposits of the Codru realm.
(1) In the Highis-Poiana Nappe the Upper Carboniferous
deposits were described as the Paiuseni Formation (in the
Highis and Biharia Mts). In the Highis Mts the Paiuseni For-
mation is represented mainly by metaconglomerates with in-
tercalations of fine-grained metasediments and scarce occur-
rences of acid metatuffs. Supplementary intercalations of
metaquarzites, chlorite-carbonate schists, marbles and metar-
hyolites occur. The whole sequence is penetrated by intrusive
bodies of rhyolites, microgranites, gabbros and diorites, as-
signed to the Permian. The Paiuseni Formation is unconform-
ably covered by Permian metasandstones and metasiltstones
assigned to the Cladova Formation (“Black Series”). It may
represent an equivalent of the Vermicular Sandstone Forma-
tion of the Codru realm. The black rock colour is due to a dis-
tinct thermal contact effect which produced a martitized
(2) In the Biharia Nappe, the Late Pennsylvanian is repre-
sented by a metaconglomerates and phyllites sequence, de-
scribed in this unit as the “Gritty-Conglomeratic Formation”
(Bleahu et al. 1981). It covers unconformably different parts
of the Biharia Terrane. Towards the east, no Late Paleozoic
sediments are recorded, the Biharia Terrane being directly
overstepped by the low-grade metasediments of the Lower
Triassic Belioara Formation.
(3) In the Muncel-Lupsa Nappe no post-Variscan overstep
sequences are known.
(4) In the Baia de Aries Nappe the Permian cover deposits
occur only in its easternmost part (Baisoara), where red con-
glomerates locally cover the metamorphic rocks of the pre-
Variscan Baia de Aries Terrane. These conglomerates may be
an equivalent of the Laminated Conglomerate Formation of
the Codru realm.
The common feature of the post-Variscan sequence within
the Northern Apuseni nappe units is the pre-Triassic strati-
graphic hiatus and the discordant position of the mineralogi-
cally mature Lower Triassic quartzose sediments, overlapping
different parts of the Permian sequence.
The DACIA Megaterrane
The Eastern Carpathians
Within the Infra-Bucovinian, Sub-Bucovinian, and Bu-
covinian Nappe Systems the Variscan cycle is represented by
Lower Paleozoic to the Lower Carboniferous continental rift-
ing related formations (the Rodna and Bistrita Terranes).
They were deformed and metamorphosed probably during the
intra-Late Carboniferous (Sudetian) movements under LP-LT
conditions in the Infra-Bucovinian realm, and MP-LT condi-
tions in the Bucovinian and Sub-Bucovinian domains (Kräut-
ner et al. 1975). During the subsequent Variscan shortening,
these low-grade metamorphic rocks were involved in an ex-
tensive Variscan nappe system (Kräutner 1997).
Pennsylvanian/Permian late- and post-orogenic Variscan
sequences are not preserved in most parts of the Eastern Car-
pathians. Relics of continental or marine sediments occur only
in restricted parts of the Bucovinian Nappe System (Fig. 5,
col. 29—30). They overstep mostly the Precambrian continen-
tal crust, which was overprinted in greenschist facies during
the Variscan metamorphic event.
In the Bucovinian and Sub-Bucovinian Nappes only conti-
nental breccias of reworked basement material occur, reaching
thicknesses of some tens of meters (Haghimas Breccia; Mure-
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
san 1970). They are transgressively overlain by the Lower Tri-
assic siliciclastic sediments. In the Eastern Rodna Mts red
quartzose breccia also occur, grading into the Lower Triassic
conglomerates and sandstones. Thus the Guadalupian/Lopin-
ghian age may be envisaged for these continental deposits.
In the Infra-Bucovinian area, Late Pennsylvanian and Ci-
suralian deposits are locally found. The Late Pennsylvanian
consists of grey sandstones and microconglomerates (Neagra
Sarului/Borcut-Ulm Formation), exposed only in the Sarul-
Dornei/Neagra Sarului Nappe. The Cisuralian reddish con-
glomerates with scarce intercalations of sandstones and
siltstones occur in the same unit. In the deepest Infra-Bucovin-
ian units (Poleanca Unit) of the Northern Maramures and Ra-
hov Mts, the Cisuralian is represented by red and grey
siltstones, sandstones and conglomerates, interlayered with
rhyolites and basalts. The Guadalupian/Lopinghian reddish
conglomerates prograding into the Lower Triassic siliciclas-
tics are known from the Infra-Bucovinian Petriceaua Unit
The Southern Carpathians
The main Alpine structural units of the Southern Car-
pathians, the Supragetic, Getic and Danubian Nappe Systems,
are all composed of post-Variscan, Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian
continental deposits, which unconformably overstep different
Precambrian-Cambrian and low-grade Lower Paleozoic crys-
talline rock complexes, as well as the Variscan nappe struc-
tures in which these are involved. Molasse-like sedimentation
started in the Late Moscovian and prograded continuously to
the Cisuralian (Fig. 5, col. 31—36). The post-Variscan over-
step sequences, as well as the metamorphic basement com-
plexes are discordantly covered by the Lower Jurassic
deposits, in which the Alpine sedimentation cycle starts in this
part of the orogenic belt.
The post-Variscan overstep sequence formed in two princi-
ple domains with distinct internal structures, possibly separat-
ed by emerged ridges (Kräutner 1996: fig. 3). Thus the Lower
Danubian realm corresponds to the eastern mostly emerged
continental one. The Upper Danubian realm includes two mo-
lasse basins (Presacina sedimentation zone in the East and
Sirinia sedimentation zone in the West) separated by a small
emerged zone (Iablanita-Rudaria). In the eastern Getic realm
sedimentary rocks do not document the Late Paleozoic sedi-
mentation. This presupposed emerged zone separated the sedi-
mentation zone of the western Getic realm from the adjacent
Resita and Sasca-Gornjak area (Resita sedimentation zone).
The Supragetic area included an easternmost basin system
(Ranovac, south of the Danube).
Lower Danubian: Permian red conglomerates and sand-
stones are reported only from two restricted areas (South Re-
tezat Mts, Tismana-Vâlcan Mts).
Upper Danubian: The Upper Moscovian—Kasimovian sedi-
ments occur only in the Sirinia Zone (Nastaseanu et al. 1981;
Kräutner et al. 1981; Cucuiova Formation according to Stan
1987). They consist of grey-blackish detrital sequences with
coal beds. Sedimentary breccias and polymict conglomerates
with crystalline rock detritus constitute most of the lower part of
this sequence, while in the upper part sandstones, sandy shales
and shales prevail. Age constrains are given by plant fossils (Bi-
toianu 1973) including Neuropteridae, Alethopteridae (Late
Moscovian) and Pecopteridae (Kasimovian). Locally basic py-
roclastics lava flows (basalts, basaltic andesites, rarely andesite)
are intercalated in the middle part of the sequence (Stan 1987).
The Cisuralian follows after a short stratigraphic hiatus. It is
widespread in both the Sirinia and Presacina Zones and covers
unconformably Carboniferous sediments and older rocks. The
Cisuralian has been assigned according to flora remnants and
lamellibranches (Nastaseanu et al. 1973). In the Presacina
zone the red-beds sequence consists of a lower conglomerate-
sandstone member (300 m) and an upper sandy-clayey mem-
ber (500 m).
In the Sirinia Zone red alluvial and lacustrine conglomer-
ates, sandstones and shales with lenses of limnic limestones
represent the basal part of this sequence. It also includes a few
basic volcanics, pointing to a bimodal character of the Permi-
an volcanism. The middle part mainly consists of rhyolite-
dacite volcanics and their pyroclastic rocks. Red-beds with
conglomerate, sandstone and shales form the top of the se-
quence. In the rhyolitic-dacitic pile, two volcanic assemblages
have been distinguished (Stan et al. 1986; Stan 1987): the
lower Povalina Formation, formed by mixed dacitic conglom-
erates and microconglomerates, alternating with red sand-
stones, shales, sporadically limestones, with ignimbritic
rhyodacitic bodies; the upper Trescovat Formation, formed by
Eastern Getic Nappe: Permian red conglomerates are ex-
posed in a restricted area (Cioclovina, Eastern Sebes Mts; Stil-
la 1985). A Jurassic overstep sequence covers most of the
older metamorphic complexes.
Western Getic Nappe and Resita Nappe: In the Resita sedi-
mentation zone a widespread post-Variscan overstep sequence
formed, ranging in age from the Moscovian to the Cisuralian.
The Late Pennsylvanian is represented by coarse-grained
deposits of continental facies in which three successive lithos-
tratigraphic and biofacies units have been recognized (Nas-
taseanu et al. 1981; Kräutner et al. 1981): (i) The Doman Beds
(Moscovian) – 300 m thick, formed of basal continental con-
glomerates and breccias with blocks and pebbles of crystalline
rocks. The Doman conglomerates are massive, without obvi-
ous bedding, suggesting a torrential sedimentation of pied-
mont type. They pass gradually into (ii) the Lupacu-Batrân
Beds – 200—400 m thick, represented by siliciclastic fluvial
sandstone-conglomerate complex, which prograde to sandy
shales with paleoflora remnants and coal beds. The plants re-
covered indicate the Late Moscovian—Kasimovian (Bitoianu
1973). The Lupacu-Batrân Beds also extend into the marginal
parts of the Resita sedimentation zone (Secu area), where the
coarse-grained Doman and Lower Lupacu-Batrân Beds as
well as the Lupac Beds are missing. (iii) The Lupac Beds –
150—300 m thick, are lacustrine sediments represented by
black shales and argillaceous sandstones with ferruginous
concretions and coal intercalations. They contain rich plant
remnants indicating the Kasimovian (Bitoianu 1973; Dra-
gastan et al. 1997).
The Cisuralian sediments follow concordantly, without a
break in sedimentation. The sequence consists of two forma-
tions (Nastaseanu et al. 1981), both assigned to the Cisuralian
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
on the basis of macroflora (Nastaseanu et al. 1973) and pa-
lynological records (Antonescu & Nastaseanu 1976).
The lower, Black Clay Formation (150—300 m), consists
of black argillaceous rocks, with intercalations of fluvial
sandstones, conglomerates and occasionally lacustrine lime-
stones. The upper, Red Sandy-Conglomerate Formation
(1000—1500 m), is represented by a sequence of conglomer-
ates, sandstones and red clays.
Supragetic Nappe: In Romanian territory only small occur-
rences of the Upper Pennsylvanian overstep sequences were
preserved: (i) Doman Beds like conglomerates interbedded
with coarse-grained sandstones in the Bocsa Unit; (ii) metric
and decimetric alternations of conglomerates and grey sand-
stones similar to the Lupacu-Batrân Beds lithofacies at Brebu
and Valeapai; (iii) in the Valeapai sequence, the Permian de-
posits are absent and hornblende dacites and their pyroclastics
The East Serbian units are directly connected with the
Southern Carpathians and Balkanides and Krajištides
(Fig. 5, col. 31—36). Regarding the different Paleozoic suc-
cessions, several Variscan tectonostratigraphic units (Ter-
ranes) have been distinguished in Eastern Serbia. They had
individual geological histories up the end of the Visean and a
common history after docking in Late Paleozoic times. From
the western to the eastern part of the Serbian Carpatho-Bal-
kanides the following terranes (units) has been defined: Ra-
novac-Vlasina-Osogovo (Suprageticum), Kučaj (Geticum),
Stara Planina-Poreč (Upper Danubicum) and Vrška Čuka-
Miroč (Lower Danubicum) (Krstić & Karamata 1992; Kara-
mata & Krstić 1996; Kräutner & Krstić 2001). The Pennsyl-
vanian-Permian terrestrial sediments, which correspond to
part of the Moscovian and to the Kasimovian—Gzhelian,
overlay unconformably different older rocks. They belong
from the Riphean—Cambrian to the Lower Paleozoic low-
grade metamorphic rocks and Tournaisian-Visean flysch to
passive continental margin formations.
Vrška Čuka-Miroč Terrane (Lower Danubian)
This easternmost unit of the Serbian Carpatho-Balkanides
is characterized by the absence of Mississippian syn-orogen-
ic flysch deposits. The post-Variscan stage started with the
Kasimovian-Gzhelian continental sequence, which uncon-
formably overlaps the Riphean-Cambrian greenschists
(Krstić et al. 2005). The basal part of this sequence consists
of polymict alluvial conglomerates, containing rock debris
from the underlying schists, granites and metaquartzites.
Fluvial-lacustrine sandstone and shales with scarce thin coal
seams prograde upward, with an overall thickness of
~230 m. The Kasimovian/Gzhelian age is deduced from
macroflora remains: Pecopteridae, Neuropteridae, Cordai-
tea (in Krstić et al. 2005). Within the uppermost part of this
succession are conglomerates, which contain limestone cob-
bles with Cambrian trilobite fauna. This material is exotic to
the underlying basement and appears to have been transport-
ed from the region north or northeast of Vrška Čuka. The
Kasimovian/Gzhelian deposits gradually pass upwards into
Permian red-beds (Vrška Čuka), or they are overlain by the
Liassic sediments (Miroč area).
Stara Planina-Poreč Terrane (Upper Danubian)
Fluvial and lacustrine sediments of Late Bashkirian—Mos-
covian age unconformably overlie the Tournaisian-Visean
flysch sequence in the northern (Poreč) part of the Stara
Planina-Poreč Terrane. The lower part of the Moscovian se-
quence is composed of polymict conglomerates (over 300 m
thick) with gneiss, greenschist and metaquartzite pebbles
(braided river or fan delta deposits; Krstić & Maslarević
1997). The upper part of this succession consists of lacus-
trine sandstones and shales, which contains Moscovian mac-
roflora. The presumed age is deduced from the macrofloral
remains: Asterophyllites equisetiformis, A. charaeformis,
Mariopteris sauveuri, Lepidodendron simile, Calamites cis-
tii, Paripteris gigantea, Sigillaria scutellata, etc. (Krstić et
Permian rocks are red sandstone and shale, alternating with
pyroclastics and volcanic flows, wich lie discordantly over py-
roxene gabbro of Glavica (at Donji Milanovac) and green
schists on the left side of the Porečka reka. Bogdanović &
Rakić (1980) thus distinguish two Permian horizons: terrigene
The terrigene horizon forms the lower part of the Permian
with conglomerate breccia at the base to sandstone and shale
to red sandstone and shale intercalated with freshwater lime-
stone on the top. The volcanic-sedimentary horizon is com-
posed of red sandstone, shale, volcanic breccia, tuffs and
The Moscovian of the Stara Planina region consists only of
volcano-sedimentary limnic sediments (dacite-andesite and
their volcaniclastics, mixed with siliciclastic sediments). They
unconformably overlie the Devonian sediments, basic and
acid magmatites, as well as the Proterozoic greenschists. Thin
coal seams within dark shales are an integral part of this suc-
cession. The ?Ducmantian-Bolsovian is inferred from the rich
macroflora (Krstić & Maslarević 1970; Krstić et al. 2005). Af-
ter a long stratigraphic hiatus the Moscovian sediments in the
Stara Planina region were overlapped by the Permian conti-
Kučaj Terrane (Geticum)
The post-Variscan continental sedimentation started during
the Kasimovian—Gzhelian. The continental, fluvial-lacustrine
deposits overstep unconformably on the thick low-grade
metamorphosed Tournaisian-Visean flysch succession (Krstić
et al. 2004, 2005). The Kasimovian-Gzhelian fining upward
sequence consists of polymict conglomerates, graywackes and
shales with scarce coal seams and occasionally siderite nod-
ules. The Kasimovian—Gzhelian age corresponds to the mac-
rofloral remains: Asterophyllites equisetiformis, Annularia
stellata, Asterotheca asborescens, Alethopteris bohemica,
Callipteridium gigas, Cordaites borrassifolius, etc. (Pantić
1955a,b). Gradual transition into the Permian red-beds is char-
acteristic (Krstić et al. 2005).
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
Ranovac-Vlasina-Osogovo Terrane (Suprageticum)
The terrestrial Kasimovian-Gzhelian sediments, up to
150 m thick, unconformable overlapped the low-grade Paleo-
zoic complex (Ordovician?—Visean?). They consist of
polymict conglomerates and coarse-grained sandstones alter-
nating with microconglomerates and shales with occasional
thin coal seams. The associated fossil plant assemblage corre-
sponds to the Kasimovian—Gzhelian and is identical to that in
the adjacent Kučaj Unit. The Kasimovian-Gzhelian fluvial and
lacustrine sediments pass upward into the Permian red-beds.
The Serbian-Macedonian Massif (composite terrane) repre-
sents a unit composed of amalgamated terranes located be-
tween the Vardar Zone in the West, the Carpatho-Balkanides
and the Rhodope Massif in the East. It is finally influenced by
the eastward subduction of the west situated Vardar Ocean,
during the (Middle-) Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous.
Precambrian and Lower Paleozoic (Cambrian to Devonian)
sedimentary and magmatic rock assemblages, originated in
different geotectonic settings and represent separate tectonic
units, that is terranes. They are composed of volcanic-sedi-
mentary (rift?) association of tholeiitic WP basalts and psamit-
ic-pelitic sediments, continental slope turbiditic sediments,
terrigenous sediments on plateaus, shallow water (shelf) car-
bonate (calcitic and dolomitic) sediments, all penetrated by
basaltic (WP) dykes, as well as continental sands and clays.
The younger formations are more abundant in the western and
northern parts of this composite domain. The Massif was re-
peatedly intruded by granitoids (from Ordovician to Cenozo-
ic). The whole Massif has a poly-tectonometamorphic history,
but during the Variscan orogeny all the units were equalized
under medium-grade metamorphic conditions (Karamata &
Krstić 1996). The metamorphic suite comprises gneisses, mic-
aschists, amphibolites, marbles, quartzites, locally with eclog-
itic and granulitic facies relicts. S-type granite intrusion at
Bujanovac and Ogražden probably belong to the Carbonifer-
ous, but exact dating does not exist. The oldest post-Variscan
cover sediments are ?Permian quartzose sandstones and clays
(in the Macedonian part), or Middle Triassic limestones (in the
Serbian part). However, they are not the characteristic post-
Variscan sediments, consequently, they are not presented in
the lithostratigraphic column.
The VARDAR Megaterrane
The VARDAR Megaterrane is considered an independent
Alpine oceanic domain with a very complex internal structure.
The relics of Carboniferous island arc sequence (the Veles Se-
ries) and oceanic crust, inherited from an Early Paleozoic do-
main and transported and docked to units to the E during the
Late Jurassic, form the Main Vardar Belt (Karamata 2006). The
Kopaonik Block represents a crust remnant detached from the
north-eastern border of Gondwana during the Late Triassic. It
created a ridge separating the Main Vardar Ocean from the
Western Marginal Vardar Ocean Basin in the West that existed
from the Late Jurassic and was closed in the latest Cretaceous
(Vardar Zone Western Belt – VZWB; Karamata 2006). To this
newly formed VZWB, the Jadar Block Terrane was incorporat-
ed in the Late Cretaceous (Filipović et al. 2003; Karamata
The Carboniferous of the Vardar Zone is stratigraphically
poorly documented. The only known complex is Veles “Se-
ries” represented by variable rocks: amphibolites, different
greenschists metamorphic rocks, serpentinites, quartzites, mi-
crocrystalline limestones, marbles. Its protholite was com-
posed of basalts and their volcaniclastics mixed with
siliciclastic sediments and associated with pelagic limestones
and cherts, formed most likely in back-arc setting (Krstić et
al. 2005). The whole sequence was metamorphosed under P-T
conditions ranging from amphibolite to greenschist facies,
presumably during the middle Carboniferous. Palynomorphs,
which were extracted from the part greenschists rocks, gave
the Carboniferous age (Grubić & Ercegovac 1975).
Jadar Block Terrane
The Pennsylvanian sedimentary complexes contain both,
the autochthonous and allochthonous nappe units of the Jadar
Block Terrane (Fig. 6, col. 37—38).
Autochthonous unit: After a stratigraphic hiatus the Late
Carboniferous continental to shallow marine sediments dis-
conformably overlie the anchimetamorphosed Devonian-Mis-
sissippian turbidite siliciclastic and pelagic complexes
(Ramovš et al. 1990; Krstić et al. 2005). The following shal-
low-water marine or continental sediments reflect regression
after climax of the Variscan orogenesis. The lower part of this
sequence (the Ivovik Formation) contains Devonian and Mis-
sissippian limestone clasts in a silty matrix. The upper part is
characterized by several different facies. Fossiliferous lagoon-
al to shallow marine silty carbonates and siltstones rich in
plant, fusulinid and brachiopod remains are characteristic. The
fauna corresponds to the Late Moscovian of the Donetsk and
Moscow Basins and Russian Platform. In the western part the
shallow marine sediments are interfingering with continental
deposits. The Moscovian (Podolsky Horizon) age was proved
by fusulinid fauna. The youngest Carboniferous sediments
were found only in the southern part of the Jadar Block Unit.
They correspond to shallow marine massive limestones,
which are rich in Late Moscovian and Kasimovian-Gzhelian
fusulinids and conodonts (the Kriva Reka Formation).
Allochthonous unit: Pennsylvanian sediments were recog-
nized in the Likodra Nappe. They continuously followed
above the Mississippian deep-water turbiditic siliciclastic sed-
iments and transitional Serpukhovian-Bashkirian fossiliferous
limestones and siltstones (the Djulim Formation). In the older
literature these turbiditic siliciclastics were assigned as
“Kulm” flysch facies. However, Ebner et al. (2008) do not re-
fer to these sediments as syn-orogenic flysch due to the lack of
any Variscan overprint. They are conformably overlain by the
Upper Bashkirian massive and bedded limestone rich in
fusulinid fauna (the Rudine Formation). These sediments ver-
tically alternate with a complex of limestones and siltstones,
which contain rich plant remains as well as fusulinids and bra-
chiopods of Bashkirian-Early Moscovian age (the Stojkovići
Formation). The Bashkirian fauna assemblages are similar to
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
those of the Donetsk Basin, Russian Platform and Urals. The
Lower Moscovian association corresponds more to the Canta-
brian Mts fauna in NW Spain. The youngest lithostratigraphic
unit in the Likodra Nappe is a complex of recrystallized lime-
stones (the Stolice Formation) rich in Bashkirian microfauna
(Krstić et al. 2005).
After a stratigraphic hiatus the Pennsylvanian formations in
both, autochthonous and allochthonous units, are transgres-
sively covered by the Guadalupian-Lopingian continental
clastics, which were followed by the Bellerophon limestone
facies. The Variscan and Alpine evolution of the Jadar Block
Unit can be compared with those sequences in the Bükkia Ter-
rane (Filipović et al. 2003).
The ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterrane
The ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterrane consists of the Drina-
Ivanjica Terrane, the Dinaric Ophiolite Belt, the East Bosnian-
Durmitor Terrane, the Central Bosnian Terrane, the Sana-Una
Terrane, the Adriatic-Dinaric Platform ( = Dalmatian-Herze-
govinian Composite Terrane; Karamata et al. 1997) and the
Southern Alps. The latter are separated from the Dinarides by
a Miocene strike-slip zone only (Karamata et al. 1997; Pamić
et al. 1997; Haas et al. 2000; Pamić & Jurković 2002; Kara-
mata 2006). All these terranes are of Alpine age. However,
they include pre-Mesozoic sequences. The information re-
garding the Devonian-Carboniferous sedimentary sequences are
summarized by Ebner et al. (2008). In the ADRIA-DINARIA
Megaterrane the grade of Variscan metamorphism and defor-
mation seems to be weak or even absent. Similar tectono-sedi-
mentary development during the Carboniferous and Permian
occurred in the Dinarides and Southern Alps realm.
The Carboniferous and Permian sequences of the Dinarides
are represented within several Alpine terranes. In the eastern
Dinarides they occur in two different terranes: the Drina-Ivan-
jica (W and SW Serbia) and the East Bosnian-Durmitor (the
Lim area of SW Serbia, N and NE Montenegro). The Carbon-
iferous in the central Dinarides (Prača Unit) still remains as a
part of the East Bosnian-Durmitor Unit. In the Central Bos-
nian Mts the Pennsylvanian—Permian continental to shallow
water sedimentary sequences are missing. During the Late
Pennsylvanian—Permian, this part of the Dinarides belonged
to the Gondwana passive margin of the Paleo-Vardar Ocean
Carboniferous deep-water siliciclastic sedimentary se-
quences of Drina-Ivanjica Terrane (Dimitrijević in Karamata
et al. 1997) conformably overlie the pre-Mississippian low-
grade to anchimetamorphic complexes. Main occurrences
are known from the Drina Anticlinorium and in the western
part of the Ivanjica Block. This Visean-Serpukhovian olis-
tostrome flysch trough was closed during the Early Bashkiri-
an times. The late Variscan “molasse-like” sediments are
unknown. The Carboniferous succession is directly uncon-
formably overlain by the Lower Triassic continental clastic
sediments. Whole Paleozoic complexes underwent the dis-
tinct Alpine overprinting up to condition of the greenschist
facies. The Alpine metamorphism based on radiometric data
range from 170—160 Ma to 130—120 Ma ages (Milovanović
East Bosnian-Durmitor Terrane
Within the East Bosnian-Durmitor Terrane, the siliciclas-
tic turbidite and olistostrome sedimentation also existed dur-
ing the Bashkirian time (Krstić et al. 2005). This deep-water
turbiditic siliciclastic environment was gradually changed
upward into the shallow-water carbonate platform environ-
ment. The uppermost part of the Carboniferous succession
consists of shallow marine limestones, rich in corals, brachi-
opods, rostroconchs, fusulinids and algae, corresponding to
the Moscovian and Kasimovian—Gzhelian (Krstić et al.
2005). The mutual substitution of deep-water siliciclastic
and carbonate platform sedimentation is spatially and tempo-
rally unequal. Lithological and stratigraphic equivalents of
these carbonate sediments are known in the Jadar Block Ter-
rane. However, Variscan metamorphism is not proved. The
regional greenschist facies metamorphism seems to be the
Alpine (Dimitrijević in Karamata 1997). The Carboniferous
sedimentary sequences are unconformably covered by the
Guadalupian-Lopingian clastics, in the Prača area, with
Lower Triassic clastics and limestones also occurring in the
Lim and Tara area (Krstić et al. 2005).
Central Bosnian Terrane
The post-Carboniferous sequence began with the Guadalu-
pian-Lopingian coarse clastics, evaporites and the Bellero-
phon Formation (Hrvatović et al. 2006). They determine the
beginning of the Alpine sedimentary cyclus. The presence of
a Variscan deformation and/or metamorphism is not proved.
Major folding and metamorphism probably commenced
within the Triassic (Hrvatović 1998).
The oldest formation in the Sana-Una Unit are Lower and
middle Carboniferous turbidites (Javorić Flysch Formation),
mostly composed of metasandstones, metasiltstones and with
olistostromes of variable thickness.
Turbidites (with thickness of ca. 250 m) contain redeposited
composite brachiopodal fauna of the Bashkirian or Moscovian
age, as well as remains of paleoflora. The prevailing turbidite
sedimentation ceased from time to time, or was replaced with
fluxoturbidites or olistostromal shocks. A longer interval of
the bottom clayey-silty sedimentation involved the develop-
ment of the primary siderite iron ore beds (Ljubija, Prijedor).
The olistostromes are mainly composed of limestone olis-
toliths of different age (Devonian, Lower Carboniferous, mid-
dle Carboniferous). Their thickness varies from 1 to 90 m
(Grubić & Protić 2003). The whole Carboniferous sequence is
anchimetamorphosed, but no Variscan deformation and meta-
morphic event was proved (Krstić et al. 2005).
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
The relatively long stratigraphic hiatus was ended by the
unconformably resting Guadalupian-Lopingian continental
clastics (red breccias and conglomerates, sandstones, shales
and evaporites), which were followed by the transgressive
Lower Triassic clastic formation (Karamata et al. 1997).
The geotectonic belt of the Internal and External Dinarides
extends for about 1000 km from the Southern Alps to the Hel-
lenides in Greece. It was derived primarily from Late Paleozo-
ic—Triassic rifting off the Gondwana margin (Vlahović et al.
2005; Balini et al. 2006). During the Mesozoic—Cenozoic
time, the region of the External Dinarides, which includes the
karst regions of Slovenia, Croatia, Hercegovina and Montene-
gro, comprised the carbonate platform often called the Adriat-
ic Carbonate Platform (e.g. Vlahović et al. 2005) or as Adria
Terrane by Pamić et al. (1997).
Paleozoic rocks outcrop in the Dinarides at several localities
in Croatia: Lika Region, Velebit Mts, Gorski Kotar, the Ban-
ovina Region, Medvednica Mts and in oil exploratory-wells in
Zebanec (Hrvatsko Zagorje) (Sremac 2005).
The Lika Region and the Velebit Mts represent the best
known and the most completely developed Carboniferous-
Permian sequence in Croatia, showing partial analogy with
the Carnian Alps. In the Lika Region predominantly shallow
marine Carboniferous deposits are documented by numerous
floral and faunal fossil findings (for references see Sremac
In the Velebit Mts lower and upper late to post-Variscan cy-
cles can be recognized. In the lower cycle Kasimovian-Gzhe-
lian argillaceous shales intercalate with fusulinid sandstones,
oolitic grainstones, lime mudstones and quartz-conglomerates
and probably represent shallow marine setting related to the
tectonically active area. At some localities sedimentation from
the Late Pennsylvanian concordantly continued to Lower Per-
mian deposits represented by lenses of Sakmarian Rattendorf
limestones isolated within clastics.
The upper cycle Middle—Upper Permian to Triassic rocks of
the Velebit Mts have an undefined position in relation to the
lower cycle and comprise two distinct stratigraphic units:
probably Lower Guadalupian (possibly partly Cisuralian in
lower parts) clastic Košna Formation (partly equivalent of
clastic Trogkofel Limestone), and the Guadalupian-Lopingian
Velebit Formation (carbonates) in ascending order. The
Velebit Formation represents a well defined platform carbon-
ate sequence. Shallow subtidal, intertidal and supratidal
sabkha environments can be recognized. Transgressive/re-
gressive cycles were caused by glacio-eustatic sea-level oscil-
lations (for the references see Sremac 1991, 2005; Aljinović et
al. 2003; Aljinović et al. 2008).
The Gorski Kotar Region is represented by predominantly
clastic deposition. The clastic sedimentary complex consists
of an isolated occurrence of Kasimovian-Gzhelian Triticites
sandstones and of Permian orthoquartzitic to polymict con-
glomerates, sandstones and thin-bedded sandstone-shale inter-
calations. These sediments were deposited near the active
tectonic belt, mainly as fan delta deposits. According to the
microfossil assemblage in resedimented limestone blocks and
clasts, especially according to pyritized albaillellacean radi-
olarians (Sremac & Aljinović 1997; Aljinović & Kozur 2003),
the Guadalupian age can be inferred for the entire Paleozoic
clastic sedimentary complex of Gorski Kotar, thus correlated
with the lower cycle of late to post-Variscan sediments.
The Velebit Mts and Gorski Kotar Region started to devel-
op as a part of the Carboniferous to Cisuralian epeiric plat-
form formed by northern Gondwana accumulating shallow
marine carbonates and terrigenous clastics. In the Late Ci-
suralian this primary setting was punctuated by intermittent
rift-related extensional tectonics that broke the platform into
several horsts and grabens isolated from the main carbonate
platforms in the Southern Alps, whereas the clastic rocks in
the Gorski Kotar in western Croatia filled the Permian inter-
platform basins (grabens) prior to the Early Triassic carbon-
ate deposition (Sremac 2005; Aljinović et al. 2008).
In the region of the Adria units in Slovenia, the Upper Penn-
sylvanian-Permian sequence occurs in the framework of two
structural units: i) the Trnovo Nappe that is partly preserved
west of Ljubljana, and ii) the Hrušica Nappe that passes over
in the overthrust structure of the External Dinarides. The
stratigraphic position of these beds below the Val Gardena
( = Gröden) Formation is only partly defined. The main reason
are complex tectonic conditions, lack of stratigraphic marker
horizons and fossils within the monotonous clastic sedimenta-
ry rocks, dark grey shale, grey lithic quartz sandstones and
The sedimentary succession, which is at least 1650 m thick,
was divided into three lithological units: the lower shale, the
sandstone conglomerate and upper shale (Mlakar 1987, 1994,
2003; Mlakar et al. 1993). Incontestably dated are only rocks
of the sandstone subunit, attributed on the basis of fossil plant
remains to Early Pennsylvanian (Kolar-Jurkovšek & Jurkov-
šek 1985, 1986, 1990, 2002). A strong erosional unconformity
is found within the sandstone-conglomerate unit, dividing the
sedimentary succession into two parts. The lower part, con-
sisting of the lower shale and basal part of the sandstone-con-
glomerate unit constitute a regression, deltaic-fluvial sequence
(Mlakar et al. 1993). The erosion unconformity is overlain by
coarse-grained conglomerate with larger limestone clasts and
blocks that have partly been dated, and attributed to Silurian,
Devonian and Late Moscovian ages (Ramovš & Jurkovšek
1976; Ramovš 1990). Conglomerates above the erosion sur-
face are most probably a product of alluvial fans and/or fan
deltas. They constitute a transgressive sequence (the upper
shale unit) representing the second sedimentary cycle. In the
upper shale unit the sequence of the marine ingressions with
dominant clastic sedimentation is expected. This sequence is
unconformable overlain by the clastic Val Gardena Formation
( = Gröden Formation), even the contact is mostly tectonic. The
Val Gardena Formation red-beds (fluvial-lacustrine and playa
environment) are passing into the Bellerophon Formation
The sedimentary rocks of the Ortnek Formation or the so
called “clastic Trogkofel beds” occur below the Val Gardena
Formation south of the Sava Folds, in Lower Carniola at Ort-
nek (Ramovš 1963, 1968). In its basal part, quartz conglom-
erates followed by quartz sandstones are developed. They
pass gradually into shaly mudstones with lenses of various
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
(coral, brachiopod and fusulinid, brecciated crinoidal) massive-
reef limestones, calcareous breccias and angular conglomerates.
The fauna dates these rocks to the Sakmarian—Artinskian. The
macrofauna shows close relations with the South-Alpine assem-
blages, whereas most of the fusulinid microfauna are more simi-
lar to the Asian faunal province.
The Southern Alps
In the eastern Southern Alps (Carnic Alps, Karawanken,
Southern Karawanken Mts), Pennsylvanian-Permian sedi-
ments overlie unconformably the Variscan basement. This
basement was folded and, in the western part, slightly meta-
morphosed during the Moscovian. Within these late and post-
Variscan sedimentary sequences, two cycles can be recognized.
They are separated by a main unconformity (Cassinis et al.
1988; Massari et al. 1988).
The Eastern Southern Alps (Carnic Alps, Southern
Karawanken and Julian Alps)
The deformed Variscan basement in the Carnic Alps and
Karawanken Mountains terminated by the syn-orogenic flysch
of the Hochwipfel Formation (Ebner et al. 2008) is uncon-
formably overlain by a thick sequence of the Upper Pennsyl-
vanian and Cisuralian deltaic and shallow marine siliciclastic
and carbonate sediments (Fig. 6, col. 44). They were deposit-
ed in discrete basins formed by block and wrench faulting sub-
sequent to the final phase of Variscan activity (Venturini 1982,
1990a,b; Krainer 1993). The lowermost cycle is composed of
Kasimovian-Gzhelian to Cisuralian deltaic to shallow marine
sediments. The uppermost cycle begins with continental to shal-
low marine clastics of the Gröden Formation.
The basal Bombaso Formation is formed by immature
coarse-grained clastic wedges, rich in pebbles of radiolarian
cherts, arenites, volcanics and Silurian to Lower Mississippian
limestones (Fenninger et al. 1976; Venturini 1990). The
Pramollo Member has been regarded for a long time as the
base of the Bombaso Formation. The new field investigations
indicate a clear relationship to the Hochwipfel Formation
(Schönlab & Histon 2000).
The overlying Auernig Group (with maximum thickness of
1200 m) consists of quartz-rich conglomerates (deltaic-beach
environment), trough- and hummocky-crossbedded sand-
stones (shoreface), bioturbated siltstones, shales and fossilifer-
ous limestones. In the upper part of the Auernig Group, the
studied lithofacies form clastic-carbonate transgressive and re-
gressive cycles. In general, sea-level lowstands are marked by
coarse-grained clastic sediments, whereas sea-level highstands
are marked by limestones (Krainer 1993). Cycle formation is
related to eustatic sea-level changes caused by the Gondwana
glaciation (Massari & Venturini 1990). Sediments of the
Auernig Group contain a rich Kasimovian-Gzhelian associa-
tion of fauna and plant fossils (Passini 1963; Gauri 1965 –
brachiopods; Kochansky-Devide & Ramovš 1966; Kodsi
1967 – bryozoans; Kahler 1983, 1985; Wagner 1984; Fritz &
Boersma 1986 – flora; Flügel 1987 – sponges; Hahn et al.
1989 – trilobites; Flügel & Krainer 1992; Krainer 1995; Sa-
mankassou 2003 – algae; Forke 2007 – fusulinids).
The Permian forms a thick sequence of different, in most
cases shallow marine carbonates and clastic sediments, divid-
ed into the Rattendorf Group and Trogkofel Group, which
were marked by Krainer (1993) as the lower cycle, and the up-
per cycle with the Tarvis Breccia, Gröden Formation and Bel-
lerophon Formation, from the base to the top.
The Rattendorf Group sedimentary assemblages were de-
posited in shallow marine environments, with sedimentary
patterns changed from near-coast and inner shelf to outer
shelf. The basal, Schulterkofel ( = Lower Pseudoschwageri-
na) Formation (Krainer 1995) of the latest Gzhelian age is a
sequence of thin clastic sediments (sandstone, siltstone, sel-
dom conglomerates) and near-coastal to inner shelf lime-
stones (Homan 1969; Flügel 1974, 1977; Buggisch et al.
1976). Four transgressive/regressive cycles have been recog-
nized (Homann 1969; Samankassou 1997; Forke et al.
1998), similar to the Auernig Group, caused by glacio-
eustatic sea-level changes of the Gondwana glaciation
(Krainer 1993). The Grenzland Formation is a clastic se-
quence of quartz-rich conglomerates, cross-bedded sand-
stones, siltstones and red shales, with thin intercalations of
limestones. These sediments were deposited in a shallow
marine near-coastal environment. Based on fauna and plant
fossils the Grenzland Formation is of Middle Asselian to
Early Sakmarian age (Fritz & Boersma 1984; Kahler 1985;
Boersma & Fritz 1986; Forke 2002).
Time equivalents to the Grenzland Formation, in which si-
liciclastic facies predominate, crop out in the famous locality
of Permian rocks and fossils in the Southern Karawanken –
the Dolžanova Soteska and Born Formations (Forke 2002).
There, dark bedded biodetritic limestones, marls and sandy
crinoidal siltstones are overlain by a grey and red limestone
facies. Massive bioturbated wackestones of the lower part of
this unit grade upward into crinoidal wackestones and bioclas-
tic wacke- to packstones with more diverse fauna. They are
followed by thick-bedded greyish to pale red limestones,
which pass into the characteristic dark red bioclastic grain-
stones. Especially, the latter are exceptionally rich in produc-
tid and spiriferid brachiopods, as well as in other fossils of
different groups (Heritsch 1933; Ramovš 1963; Hahn et al.
1989). The top of the unit is brecciated and it shows clear karst
features that indicate subaerial exposure. The described unit,
as well as the following mixed clastic-carbonate succession,
with biohermal bodies (coral patch-reefs), have traditionally
been regarded as the “carbonate and clastic Trogkofel beds”
(Heritsch 1933, 1939; Ramovš 1968; Kochansky-Devidé
1970; Buser 1974, 1980; Kahler & Kahler 1980; Kahler
1983). However, detailed studies of fusulinid assemblages re-
vealed an older, Middle-Late Asselian age (Buser & Forke
1996; Forke 2002).
The upper part of the Rattendorf Group sequence is repre-
sented by the open marine platform carbonate with a few thin
clastic intercalations (the Zweikofel Formation; Flügel 1971,
1977; Flügel et al. 1971; Krainer 1995). The Late Sakmarian
age is based on fusulinids (Kahler 1985; Forke 2002).
Sediments of the Rattendorf Group are overlain by ~ 400 m
of thick-bedded and massive limestones of the Trogkofel
Group (Trogkofel, Tressdorf, Goggau Limestones – Flügel
1980, 1981). All these limestones were deposited in shallow,
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
Fig. 6. Pennsylvanian-Permian sequences in the VARDAR and ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterranes. Legend in Fig. 2.
restricted and open marine shelf-lagoons with only minor
bathymetric differences. On the basis of fusulinids, the lower
part of the Trogkofel Limestones is dated to the Early Sakmar-
ian, the Tressdorf Limestone to the Early Artinskian and the
Goggau Limestone as the Late Artinskian (Flügel 1980; Kah-
ler & Kahler 1980; Kahler 1986; Forke 2002).
In the Southern Karawanken, equivalents of the Zweikofel
Formation and Trogkofel Limestone are only known from tec-
tonically isolated occurrences (Ramovš & Kochansky-Devidé
1979; Novak & Forke 2005). The youngest (Late Artinskian)
fusulinid fauna could be identified in thick-bedded light grey
to white limestones and breccia, correlated with the Goggau
Limestone, at Javornišky rovt and Krajnska Gora (Novak &
After a hiatus, due to block faulting movements, the Guada-
Trogkofel Group sequence, with the Tarvis Breccia in its basal
part. It is interpreted as a scarp foot fan deposit and proximal
debris flows and ranges from a few meters up to about 200 m.
Limestone clasts derived from the underlying Trogkofel
Group are the most frequent pebble material. Intercalations of
red siltstones and claystones with caliche concretions are in-
terpreted as being a part of evaporitic sedimentation within a
coastal sabkha (Kober 1984). The Tarvis Breccia probably
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
corresponds to the Misellina Zone (Buggisch & Flügel 1980)
and is referred to as the “Saalian orogenic phase”.
The boundary between the Tarvis Breccia and the overlying
Gröden Formation conglomerates is marked by the first ap-
pearance of rhyolitic volcanic clasts. The Gröden Formation
(0—800 m) rests upon rock complexes of different ages, in-
cluding the Tarvis Breccia, Auernig Group, Hochwipfel For-
mation and even Devonian reef limestones, indicating strong
block faulting tectonics. The Gröden Formation sediments are
of fluvial, playa and shallow water origin (Buggisch 1978; Ori
& Venturini 1981; Farabegoli et al. 1986). Only in the eastern
Julian Alps (surroundings of Bled) the “Neoschwagerina
Limestones” occur as the time equivalent of the Val Gardena
( = Gröden) clastic sedimentary rocks. Fine-grained limestone
breccia and small massive build-ups indicate a gently dipping
carbonate ramp. Bedded shallow platform carbonates domi-
nate in the upper parts (Flügel et al. 1984). Rich fusulinoidean
fauna places this sequence in the Early Capitanian stage (up-
per part of Neoschwagerina craticulifera Zone; Kochansky-
Devidé & Ramovš 1955). It could be inferred that these beds
represent the same transgressive episode, confined within the
Val Gardena Formation on a wide area of the eastern Southern
Alps and Dinarides (Venturini 1990; Sremac 2005).
In the upper part, the Val Gardena ( = Gröden) Formation is
interfingering with the Bellerophon Formation facies. This se-
quence is composed of evaporitic sediments at the base
(sabkha), followed by bituminous dolomites, well-bedded or-
ganodetritic grainstones (open-marine shelf) and bioclastic
mudstones (restricted shelf), rich in faunal fragments (Bug-
The Dolomites and Western Southern Alps
Late to post-Variscan sedimentation started during the low-
ermost Permian and was controlled by the strong extensional
block-faulting tectonic and volcanic activity (Fig. 6, col. 45).
As in the Carnic Alps and Karawanken the sequence shows
two evolutionary stages, which are separated by a major un-
conformity: i) the lower cycle (Cisuralian)—Ponte Gardena/
Waidbruck Conglomerate and the acidic Bolzano Volcanic
Complex; b) upper cycle Guadalupian?—Lopingian – Gröden
Formation and Bellerophon Formation.
The low-grade metamorphic Variscan basement (Brixen
quartzphyllite) is locally overstepped by coarse-grained allu-
vial fan conglomerates (Ponte Gardena/Waidbruck conglom-
erate) of very variable thickness (maximum 200 m) deposited
under semiarid climatic conditions. In many places, the
Variscan basement is directly covered by the Bolzano Volca-
nic Complex or the Gröden Formation prograding gradually to
the Bellerophon Formation. The Bolzano Volcanic Complex
consists of lati-andesitic to rhyolitic volcanic rocks (lavas, ign-
imbrites, tuffs) with several intercalations of fluvial and lacus-
trine sediments. At the top of this sequence, lacustrine
sediments composed of black siltstones and shales, thin algal
layers and thin silica layers occur. Within these sediments
Artinskian-Kungurian palynomorph assemblages were found
(Hartkopf-Fröder & Krainer 1990). Radiometric age determi-
nations on biotite showed ages of ~ 270 Ma for the Bolzano
Volcanic Complex (D’Amico et al. 1980; D’Amico 1986). In
the Carnic Alps and Southern Karawanken Mts age-equivalent
sediments lack any volcanic material. The Guadalupian-Lop-
ingian sediments of the upper cycle unconformable overlie the
Bolzano Volcanic Complex or the Variscan basement directly.
They are similar to those of the Carnic Alps and the Southern
Karawanken Mts and can be divided into two lithostratigraph-
ic units: the Gröden Formation (Val Gardena Sandstone) and
Late- to post-Variscan sediments (Fig. 6, col. 45) with
synsedimentary volcanic rocks were deposited in several gra-
ben-like basins (Collio, Tione, W-Trompia, Boario, Treggio-
vo, and Orobic Basins) and overstepped the Variscan
basement (Cassinis 1985, 1986; Cassinis & Perotti 1997). The
Upper Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian part of the sequence (lower
cycle) is represented by thick fluvial and lacustrine sediments,
rhyodacitic volcanic rocks and their pyroclastic flows (Collio
Formation, Treggiovo Formation) divided into several mem-
bers (Cassinis 1966; Ori et al. 1986). Flora and mainly microf-
lora suggest a Late Artinskian age (Ufimian) for the Collio
Formation, and a younger age (Kungurian—Ufimian) for the
Treggiovo Formation (Remy & Remy 1978; Cassinis &
Doubinger 1991; Barth & Mohr 1994). The tetrapod foot-
prints (Ceoleoni et al. 1986, 1987, 1988) assemblages are sim-
ilar to those of the Oberhof and Rotterode Formations of the
German Rotliegend (the “Upper Autunian” by Haubold &
Katzung 1975; Haubold 1996). The time interval covered by
the tetrapod-bearing sediments is constrained by the radiomet-
ric data obtained from volcanic rocks at the base and the top of
the Collio and Treggiovo successions, which are from
~283± 1 Ma for the base of the Collio, up to 280± 2 Ma for
the topmost volcanic horizon (mean
U age; Schalteg-
ger & Brack 1999). The second cycle (?Guadalupian—Lopin-
gian) is characterized by clastic red-beds of a fluvial
sedimentary system (Verrucano Lombardo), time equivalent
of the Gröden Formation (Val Gardena Sandstone) and the
Bellerophon Formation in the Dolomites (Cassinis 1966;
Cassinis et al. 1988; Ori et al. 1986).
The depositional and geodynamic domains in the
Circum-Pannonian realm during the
The ensuing locking of the Variscan subduction system
and the subsequent Pennsylvanian-Permian disintegration of
the Variscan fold belt was probably the combined result of
dextral shear, gravitational collapse of the over-thickened
crust, and possibly back-arc extension related to post-oro-
genic steepening and decay of the N-dipping Paleotethys
subduction zone (Jowett & Jarvis 1984). However, the Late
Pennsylvanian and Cisuralian fault systems are clearly
multi-directional, and affected not only the Variscan fold
belt, but also large parts of its foreland. It is likely that dex-
tral translation of Gondwana margin relative to Laurussia
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
was the principal mechanism that governed their develop-
ment (Ziegler 1988).
The post-Variscan period brought an intense crustal reequil-
ibration and reorganization under an alternating transtensional
and transpressional tectonic regime. The crustal reequilibra-
tion and tectonic activity was controlled by subsidence of in-
tramontane basins, mostly with a major strike-slip component
in their deformational history. Following the main phases of
Variscan compression, thermal relaxation of the crust oc-
curred in Pennsylvanian—Cisuralian times, creating the rifts
and graben that allowed accumulation of the first stage of
Contemporaneous deep-crustal fracturing triggered wide-
spread intrusive and extrusive magmatism characterized by a
highly variable chemical composition – continental tholeiitic
andesite/basalts, calc-alkaline to alkaline acid to intermediate
volcanites and their volcaniclastics. The extensive rift-related
tectonics and related extensional magmatic activity probably
in response to changes in the regional stress field and subse-
quent thermal equilibration of the lithosphere have played an
important role in the geodynamic evolution of sedimentary
basins. Synsedimentary volcanism was an important source of
the clastic filling of sedimentary basins as well as a very im-
portant stratigraphic marker.
Within the ambit of the CPR several Pennsylvanian—Permi-
an paleogeographic zones were recognized, based on spatial
relation to the Variscan orogenic belt, the timing of sedimen-
tation, character of sedimentary environments and the struc-
tural type of sedimentary basins (Fig. 7). The following
geodynamic domains can be generally distinguished:
1. Continental strike-slip and rift-related basins of the inter-
nal part of the Variscan orogenic domain;
2. Continental and marine shallow-water extensional ba-
sins of the external part of the Variscan orogenic domain;
Fig. 7. Cartoon of the late Variscan
ic restoration and post-Variscan zoning
in the Circum Pannonian Region (modi-
fied after Ebner et al. 2008). Size, bound-
aries and positions of the units are
schematized and are not to scale. The
position of the equator is only tentative.
1 – Continental strike-slip and rift-re-
lated basins of the internal part of the
Variscan orogenic domain:
Mediterranean Crystalline Zone (MCZ)
with Late Devonian—Early Carboniferous
deformation and metamorphism and
SMZ with polystage Variscan overprint;
Zone (VNSOZ): post orogenic sediments
(marine foredeeps, remnant basins) in re-
spect to the MCZ. 2 – Continental and
marine shallow-water extensional basins
of the external part of the Variscan oro-
EVD – Prevailing conti-
nental sediments generated in the zone of
typical or atypical Visean-Bashkirian fly-
sch, characteristic of Variscan deforma-
tion, partly with a slight metamorphic
overprint; syn-orogenic siliciclastic fly-
sch sediments of the Variscan flysch
zone (VFZ): deformed during the (?)
Late Visean until the Intra-Late Carbon-
iferous orogeny. 3 – Continental to ma-
rine shallow-water basins related to
passive margin domain:
PMD – Pelag-
ic carbonate and turbiditic siliciclastic sediments lacking any Variscan deformation of the Bükk-Jadar Zone; Elements of the future Gond-
wana NE border without Carboniferous syn-orogenic flysch sediments and lack of Variscan or suspected Variscan deformation; Paleotethys
with the Veles Series Terrane remaining as an open oceanic domain during the final Variscan period. * PA = Panafrican basement – with-
out Variscan overprint from the northern margin of Gondwana, explored in AGIP drillings in front of the Southern Alps (Vai in Ebner et al.
2004). Further Abbreviations: B – Bükk Mts, CA – Carnic Alps, CBT – Central Bosnian Terrane, CB – Carpatho-Balkanides, D – Di-
narides, DHT – Dalmatian Herzegovinian Terrane, DIT – Drina Invanjica Terrane, EA – Eastern Alps, EBT – East Bosnian Durmitor
Terrane, EC – Eastern Carpathians, Ge – Gemeric Units, Gr – Rannach Nappe of the Graz Paleozoic, Gt – Gurktal Nappe, HM – Hel-
vetic Moldanubian Unit, JBT – Jadar Block Terrane, M – Medvenica Mts, N – Noric Nappe (Graywacke Zone), T – segment of later
TISIA Megaterrane, Tu – Turnaic Unit, TV – Tatro-Veporic Units, SK – South Karawanken Mts, SMZ – Serbo-Macedonian Zone,
SUT – Sana-Una Terrane, U – Uppony Mts, Sz – Szendrő Mts, VST – Veles Series Terrane, WC – Western Carpathians, WSA – Western
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
3. Continental to marine shallow-water basins related to
passive margin domain.
The established geodynamic domains of this area corre-
spond to paleogeographic and paleotectonic reconstructions,
published by Scotese & McKerrow (1990), Rakús et al.
(1998), Golonka (2000, 2002), Golonka et al. (2000, 2006).
Distinctive aspects of the Carboniferous-Permian sedimen-
tary basins associated with strike-slip setting are longitudinal
and lateral asymmetry shape, episodic rapid subsidence,
strong lateral facies changes with local unconformities, and
stratigraphic and facial contrast among different basins within
the same sedimentary realm. Basin fill was derived from mul-
tiple basin-margin sources that changed through time as a re-
sult of continued lateral movement along the basin-margin
faults. Rift-related basins provide many common tectono-sed-
imentary elements; including, asymmetry along low-angle
and listric border faults with large accumulation on one side,
fault movements contemporaneous with sediment infill with
facies coarsening along the border fault, and rapid erosion of
basement rocks. For both tectonic settings intensive synsedi-
mentary volcanism is characteristic. Due to later erosion, re-
worked volcanic materials became an integral part of the
sedimentary filling sources.
Continental strike-slip and rift-related basins of the inter-
nal part of the Variscan orogenic domain
Within the main part of ALCAPA (Eastern Alps, CWCZ in
the Western Carpathians), TISIA and DACIA Megaterranes
(Eastern and Southern Carpathians), the post-orogenic Penn-
sylvanian—Cisuralian sequences are represented mostly by
continental coarse-grained clastic sediments, generally. In the
Moscovian sequences lacustrine-deltaic and fluvial-limnic en-
vironments are dominant, with coal seams formed in the hu-
mid climate. The Cisuralian is characteristized by the braided
alluvial and playa/aeolian environments in arid/semiarid cli-
mate. The post-orogenic sedimentary basins were established
in transpressional/transtensional and extensional setting first
in the Moscovian-Kasimovian (Phase 1) and later in the Ci-
suralian (Phase 2). The synsedimentary volcanism was domi-
nantly acidic- to intermediate and/or rhyolite-basalt bimodal
calc-alkaline, rich in ignimbrites and explosive products. In
the axial part of extensional, rift-related basins the volcanites
of the continental tholeiitic magmatic suite are dominant
(Hronicum in the Central Western Carpathians; Moma and Di-
eva Nappes in Northern Apuseni Mts).
The post-orogenic sedimentary sequences of the internal
part of the Variscan orogenic domain overstepped their meta-
morphic basement with angular unconformities. With respect
to their creation the following types of basement are recog-
nized: 1. medium- to high-grade crystalline core complexes
with huge masses of syn- and late orogenic magmatites
(Variscan terranes in the Central Western Carpathians, Lower
and Middle Austroalpine, in the Penninic system Habach Ter-
rane, Tisia crystalline basement units, Bihor Autochthon and
Codru Nappe System in the Apuseni Mts, units in the Bu-
covinian-Getic Composite Terrane in the Eastern and South-
ern Carpathians; = Mediterranean Crystalline Zone; Ebner et
al. 2008), 2. Variscan low-grade metamorphic complexes de-
rived from the Lower Paleozoic volcano-sedimentary se-
quences of different tectono-environment – oceanic domain,
pre-flysch stage, marine intracontinental rift-related settings
(Quartzphyllite Unit, part of Graywacke Zone and Gurktal
Nappe and Drauzug in the Eastern Alps, part of Tisia crystal-
line basement, Biharia Nappe System in Apuseni Mts and
partly crystalline basement of the Western, Eastern and South-
ern Carpathians) and Mississippian foreland and remnant ba-
sins (Nötsch-Veitsch-Szabadbattyán-Ochtiná Zone in the
Western Carpathians and Eastern Alps; Ebner et al. 2008).
The sedimentary filling of these basins contains clastic de-
tritus derived from the immediate basement and is generally
characteristic of a rapid sedimentation, low-grade of mineral
and structural maturity, sedimentary cyclicity (VI. and III. or-
der cycles) and distinct synsedimentary volcanism. The
stratigraphy of the continental Pennsylvanian-Cisuralian suc-
cession in the CPR is based on lithostratigraphic or allostrati-
graphic principles. The reason for this is the lack of proper
guide fossils of regional importance.
The Variscan fold belt was apparently characterized by con-
siderable relief which became progressively degraded during
the Cisuralian. The erosion products accumulated in intramon-
tane basins, many of which had been established starting in the
Permian. In these basins, sedimentation was only temporarily
interrupted at the end of the Cisuralian (i.e. Saalian unconformi-
ty) and resumed with the accumulation of coarse fluviatile clas-
tics under increasingly arid conditions. The changes of the
source area and directions of sedimentary transport were reflect-
ed within sedimentary formations. In many places, however,
there is no clear distinction between “Autunian and Saxonian
sediments”, due to the lack of fossils and the poorly-defined
chronostratigraphic-biostratigraphic boundary (Lower Rotlieg-
end-Upper Rotliegend 265—290 Ma in continental formations,
Menning 1995). Following the main stages of Variscan com-
pression, thermal relaxation of the crust occurred in Early Per-
mian times, creating the rifts and grabens that allowed
accumulation of the first phase of sedimentation.
Extension of rifting in the internal zone of the CPR
Variscides occurred coevally with thrusting and strike-slip
faulting further to the South. The timing and extent of individ-
ual stages of extension and rifting throughout the internal part
of the CPR Variscides rift systems is still uncertain, as the dat-
ing of Pennsylvanian and Cisuralian red-beds is imprecise.
There is no doubt that the thermal signature of the Permian
rifting was a significant control of the subsequent Mesozoic
evolution of the CPR lithosphere. The beginning of the Alpine
cycle in this zone was shifted from the Late Permian up to the
Early Triassic. The Permian sediments in the whole zone of
the internal part of the Variscan orogenic domain are discor-
dantly overlapped by the extremely mineral mature sediments
of the Early Triassic “Buntsandstein” facies.
Continental and marine shallow-water extensional basins
of the external part of the Variscan orogenic domain
The Pennsylvanian and/or Permian basins were generated
in the zone of atypical or typical Variscan flysch domain. The
late Variscan deformation of the Mississippian flysch se-
quence is characteristic, partly with a slight metamorphic
LATE VARISCAN ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CIRCUM PANNONIAN REGION
overprint. Post-orogenic sedimentation began during the Late
Moscovian and Kasimovian—Gzhelian with shallow water si-
liciclastic-carbonate sedimentation with a distinct unconfor-
mity. Sedimentation continued gradually to the dominant
carbonate facies up to the Artinskian-Kungurian (Southern
Alps). In contrast to this, in the Turnaic Unit (Inner Western
Carpathians) the Bashkirian flysch sediments are unconform-
ably overstepped by the Guadalupian-Lopingian continental
red-beds prograding gradually into the evaporites. In the South-
ern Gemeric Unit, the long lasting Early Paleozoic flysch of the
Gelnica Terrane is unconformably overstepped by mineralogi-
cally mature Cisuralian continental sediments associated with
the rhyodacite volcanism. Similarly, in a part of the Carpatho-
Balkanides the Mississippian siliciclastic turbidite sequences
are disconformably covered by the continental Moscovian (Sta-
ra Planina-Poreč Unit) or Kasimovian-Gzhelian clastic sedi-
ments associated with acid to intermediate volcanites and thin
coal seams in some horizons (Kučaj, Vrška Čuka-Miroč, Ra-
novac-Vlasina-Osogovo Terranes). The Pennsylvanian forma-
tions either gradually prograde into the Cisuralian
coarse-grained clastic sediments or are followed by long last-
ing breaks in sedimentation (Poreč region).
In the area of the Dolomites and Western Southern Alps, the
Variscan post-orogenic rift-related sedimentary sequences di-
rectly overlap the variably metamorphosed and deformed
Variscan crystalline basement.
Gradual sedimentation and progradation from continental to
sabcha-lagoonal/shallow marine environment is characteristic
of sedimentary basins in this geodynamic domain.
Continental to marine shallow-water basins related to pas-
sive margin domain
The gradual continuation of deep-water turbidite siliciclas-
tic sedimentation from the Mississippian up to the Bashkiri-
an or Moscovian is characteristic of this geodynamic zone.
Later, sedimentation is followed either by shallowing and in-
terfingering with shallow water carbonate and siliciclastic-
carbonate formations or breaking of sedimentation and
stratigraphic hiatus. The Variscan regional metamorphism
and deformation is unknown in this realm. This zone in-
cludes vast areas of the ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterrane, the
Dinarides (Velebit Mts, Sana-Una, Central and Eastern Bos-
nian, Drina-Ivanjica Terranes), the Jadar Block in Vardar
Zone and the Bükk Composite Terranes.
The relatively long lasting stratigraphic hiatus in this geody-
namic domain was the time equivalent of the thermal relax-
ation and subsidence of lithosphere, which were introduced
during the Pennsylvanian—Cisuralian within the internal and
external Variscan orogenic domain by an intensive phase of
wrench faulting. On the other hand, in the vast area of the
ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterrane a period of increased rifting
activity started during the Late Permian. This is reflected in
the development of a short lasting period of continental,
mainly braided alluvial coarse-grained sedimentation in the
Guadalupian. This continental sedimentation continued pro-
gressively into the Lopingian—Induan sabkha-lagoonal and
shallow water evaporate – carbonate shelf. All these forma-
tions are an integral part of the Alpine sedimentary cycle.
The development of a new interior rift system in this domain
paved the way for the later Mesozoic break-up of Pangea and
reorganization of plate boundaries (Ziegler 1988). It neces-
sary to mention, that some parts of the Adria-Dinaria domain
(the Jadar Block and Drina-Ivanjica Terrane) contain infor-
mation about the existence of pre-Guadalupian thrusting or
thrust-faulting and possible deformation (the supposed
thrusting of the Likodra Nappe during the “Saalic” phase be-
fore the Middle Permian transgression; Filipović 1995).
Within the ambit of the Circum Pannonian Region several
Pennsylvanian—Permian paleogeographic zones were recog-
nized, based on spatial relationship to the Variscan orogenic
belt, the timing of sedimentation, character of sedimentary en-
vironments and the structural type of sedimentary basins.
Continental strike-slip and rift-related basins of the internal
part of the Variscan orogenic domain were developed within
the main part of the ALCAPA (Eastern Alps, Western Car-
pathians), TISIA and DACIA Megaterranes (Eastern and
Southern Carpathians in Romania and Serbia-Bulgaria). The
post-orogenic Pennsylvanian—Lower Permian sequences are
generally represented mostly by continental coarse-grained
clastic sediments. Acidic- to intermediate and/or rhyolite-ba-
salt bimodal calc-alkaline synsedimentary volcanism, rich in
ignimbrites and explosive products, was dominant. In the axi-
al part of rift-related basins the volcanites of the continental
tholeiitic magmatic suite were associated.
Continental and marine shallow-water extensional basins
of the external part of the Variscan orogenic domain were de-
veloped within minor parts of the ALCAPA (Inner Western
Carpathians), DACIA (the Carpatho-Balkanides) and ADRIA
Megaterranes (the eastern and western part of the Southern
Alps, Dolomites). The Pennsylvanian and/or Permian basins
were generated in the zone of atypical or typical Variscan
flysch. The late Variscan deformation of the Mississippian
flysch sequence, partly with a slight metamorphic overprint is
characteristic. Generally, post-orogenic sedimentation started
in the Late Moscovian/Kasimovian-Gzhelian with an uncon-
formable lying marine shallow water siliciclastic-carbonate
sequence. Sedimentation continued gradually to the dominant
carbonate facies up to the Artinskian-Kungurian (Southern
Alps). In a part of this domain (Carpatho-Balkanides) the Mis-
sissippian flysch sequences are disconformably covered by the
continental Moscovian/Kasimovian-Gzhelian or Cisuralian
(Southern Gemeric Unit in the IWCZ) clastic sediments asso-
ciated with acid to intermediary volcanites. In some part of
this domain, the Bashkirian flysch sedimentation is followed
by a long lasting break in sedimentation (Poreč region in Car-
patho-Balkanides, Turnaic Unit in IWCZ), which is docu-
mented by the Guadalupian-Lopingian unconformity of
continental red-beds overstep sequence.
Continental to marine shallow-water basins related to pas-
sive margin domain are characterized by the gradual continua-
tion of deep-water turbidite siliciclastic sedimentation from
the Mississippian up to the Bashkirian or Moscovian. In the
Kasimovian—Gzhelian the sedimentation is followed by shal-
VOZÁROVÁ et al.
lowing with shallow water carbonate and siliciclastic/carbon-
ate formations or breaking of sedimentation and stratigraphic
hiatus. The Variscan regional metamorphism and deformation
is unknown in this realm. This zone includes vast areas of the
ADRIA-DINARIA Megaterrane – the Dinarides (Velebit
Mts, Sana-Una, Central and Eastern Bosnian, Drina-Ivanjica
Terranes), the Jadar Block in the Vardar Zone and the Bükk
Composite Terranes in the ALCAPA Megaterrane.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank all colleagues of the
national working groups of the former IGCP No. 5 (leaders
H.W. Flügel and F.P. Sassi) and No. 276 (leader D. Papani-
kolau) for fruitful cooperation after decades. Further we ac-
knowledge the support of the coordinators (S. Kovács, S.
Karamata, J. Vozár), the discussions of the colleagues of the
“Joint Venture on the Circumpannonian Terrane Map” and the
effort of K. Breznyánsky for printing the maps at the Hungari-
an Geological Institute. The authors express their thanks to the
reviewers Prof. J. Golonka (Kraków), Ass. Prof. S. Opluštil
(Prague), and Dr. J. Hladil (Prague) for their critical reviews,
comments and helpful suggestions. M. Šipková and E. Petrí-
ková are thanked for the professional preparation of the com-
puter graphics. Parts of the investigations were supported by
the Slovak Science Fund (APVV) due to Grant No. APVV-
0438-06, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) due to Grant
P10277 and in Hungary by the National Research Fund
(OTKA), Grants No. T37595, and T47121.
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