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doi: 10.1515/geoca-2016-0022

Structure and tectonic evolution of the NE segment  

of the Polish-Ukrainian Carpathians during the Late 

Cenozoic: subsurface cross-sections and palinspastic models






Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, AGH University of Science and Technology; Al. Mickiewicza 30,  

30-059 Kraków, Poland; 


Polish Oil and Gas Company S.A., Department of Petroleum Deposit Exploration; ul. Kasprzaka 25, 01-224 Warszawa, Poland; 

(Manuscript received July 1, 2015; accepted in revised form June 7, 2016)

Abstract: The discrepant arrangement of the Carpathian nappes and syntectonic deposits of the Carpathian Foredeep 
reveals the oroclinal migration of the subduction direction of the platform margin during the Late Cenozoic. Formation 
of the nappes was induced by their detachment from disintegrated segments of the European Platform; the segments 
were shortened as a result of their vertical rotation in zones of compressional sutures. It  nds expression in local occur-
rence of the backward vergence of folding against the generally forward vergence toward the Carpathian Foredeep. 
The precompressional con guration of sedimentation areas of particular nappes was reconstructed with application of 
the palinspastic method, on the basis of the hitherto undervalued model which emphasizes the in uence of the subduc-
tion and differentiated morphology of the platform basement on the tectonic evolution of the fold and thrust belt. 
Superposition of the palaeogeographic representations and the present geometry of the orogen allows understanding 
of the impact of the magnitudes of tectonic displacements on the differentiation of the geological structure in the NE 
segment of the Carpathians. The differentiation has inspired different views of Polish and Ukrainian geologists on 
structural classi cation and evolution of the frontal thrusts.

Key words: fold and thrust belt, Outer Carpathians, platform cover, interference of subbasins, kinematics of tectonic 
movements, Palaeogene, Miocene.


The oroclinal arrangement of the Cretaceous–Tertiary 
nappes, fringed by younger molasse of the foredeep, is 
a dominant feature of the Outer Carpathians (Fig. 1). Their 
northeastwards-protruding salient in the vicinity of the 
 Polish-Ukrainian border distinguishes itself by the north–
south trend of marginal thrusts of the Skole (Skyba)



Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes that are highly oblique to the 
 frontal thrust of the Early–Middle Miocene folded molasses 
of the Stebnik (Sambir) Nappe. The bend, named the 
 Przemy l Sigmoid ( widerski 1952), connects the eastern 
part of the Western Carpathians and the western part of the 
Eastern Carpathians.

To the west of the Przemy l Sigmoid: (1) the Boryslav- 

Pokuttya Nappe pinches out; (2) the thick series of folded 
molasse of the Stebnik Nappe is dismembered into disconti-
nuous tectonic slivers at the base and front of the Skole 
Nappe, which are correlated with the Stebnik Nappe (Ney 
1968), and/or the separated younger (Late Badenian–Early 
Sarmatian) Zg obice Unit (Kotlarczyk 1985; Po towicz 
2004); (3) undeformed fragments of the posttectonic trans-
gressive cover of the Badenian–Early Sarmatian deposits are 
preserved above folded and erosionally truncated outcrops of 
the Skole, Subsilesian and Silesian nappes (of the so-called 
Middle Group; Nowak 1927); (4) at the front, the folded 

molasse — included in the Marginal Group of the Outer Car-
pathians by Polish geologists (Nowak 1927) — in some 
zones rests (locally with a sedimentary gap) on flysch depo-
sits, folded with them and termed the “outer flysch” 
(Ksi kiewicz 1972).

Tectonostratigraphic identification of the unconformable 

occurrence of the Miocene sediments on older flysch 
sequences and heterogeneous structural stages of the sub-Ter-
tiary basement is still an under-recognized problem of Outer 
Carpathian evolution. It is worth noting that Ukrainian geolo-
gists assign the Sambir and Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes to the 
internal folded zone of the Carpathian Foredeep and consider 
these nappes to be detached platform covers accreted to the 
Outer Carpathian orogenic front during the Early Miocene 
(e.g., Gluško 1968).

In the extensive Carpathian bibliography, and against the 

background of thorough studies revealing the regularities of 
the geological structure and evolution of the Outer Carpathians 
(e.g., Gluško 1968;  widzi ski 1971; Ksi kiewicz 1972; 
Vjalov et al 1981; Kotlarczyk 1988; Picha 2011), there are 
remarkably different reconstructions of the pre-orogenic 
geometry of the sedimentary subbasins (e.g., Unrug 1979; 
Oszczypko & Toma  1985; Ku mierek 1988; Roure et al. 
1993; Golonka et al. 2006; Nem ok et al. 2006; G ga a et al. 
2012). They reflect different interpretations of the subsurface 
structure of the Outer Carpathians and conceptual models for 

* names used by Ukrainian geologists are given in parentheses

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the formation of the nappes, in particular their thrusting 
directions and the reference lines of palinspastic projections, 
which according to the classic assumptions (Kay 1945) have 
implied insurmountable difficulties (Khain et al. 1977; 
 Kruglov et al. 1985).

In addition to providing a better understanding of the geo-

logical structure of the study area, optimization of those 
 representations is of fundamental importance for the genera-
tion of oil and gas reservoirs in the flysch sequences and gas 
reservoirs in the foredeep molasse (Ku mierek et al. 1995, 
2001; Picha 1996; Kolodij et al. 2004), discoveries of which 
triggered advances in the study of the subsurface structure of 
the frontal segment of the Outer Carpathians.

The new cross-sections, models and tectonostratigraphic 

correlations illustrating the geological structure of the frontal 
zone of the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians and of their 
basement — developed by the authors of the presented paper 
— are based on reinterpretation of extensive data sets. In par-
ticular, these include: the most recent seismic sections, well 
sections and magnetotelluric soundings from the Polish Car-
pathians, as well as publications and geological maps from 
the Ukrainian Carpathians (e.g., Shakin et al. 1976; Gluško 
& Kruglov et al. 1986; Burov et al. 1986; Jankowski et al. 

The geological cross-sections represent modified frag-

ments of regional traverses constructed by the authors in the 
years 2007–2011, in cooperation with Ukrainian geologists, 
in the framework of two interdisciplinary research projects. 
These were oriented towards assessment of the possibility of 
discovering new hydrocarbon reservoirs and utilization of 
geothermal waters in the area of the Polish-Ukrainian Outer 
Carpathians, between the Wis oka river valley in the Western 
Carpathians and the Stryi river valley in the Eastern 
 Car pathians  (Ku mierek et al. 2009; Ku mierek & Baran 
2013). Some of those traverses (or their fragments) have 
already been published (Ku mierek & Baran 2008; Czopek 
et al. 2009; Ma kowski et al. 2009; Ku mierek 2010; 


Górecki 2013).

New aspects of the interpretation of the structure in the 

study area are provided by the tectonostratigraphic configu-
ration of the sedimentary successions of the Outer 

Carpathians and the underlying Ma opolska Block, and by 
the detailed cross-section and correlations (constructed on 
the basis of compilation of published data and archival well 
sections) illustrating the “interfingering” of the Miocene 
cover of the flysch nappes with the foredeep deposits.

Other fundamental theses of the paper, which pertain to the 

tectonic evolution of the NE segment of the Outer Car-
pathians (over 300 km in length), are based on: palinspastic 
reconstructions of the pre-orogenic configuration of the ori-
ginal depositional areas of the nappes; and the tectonic dis-
placements of the nappes during the Oligocene–Middle Mio-
cene along seven traverses (not enclosed here) running from 
the Dukla Nappe overthrust to the autochthonous deposits of 
the platform slope.

On the basis of arguments presented in papers of one of the 

authors (Ku mierek 1988), it was decided to accept a direc-
tion of the palinspastic projection which would be consistent 
with the vergence of folds and thrusts. According to this 
assumption, which implies the subduction of the original 
basement of the sedimentary basins (towards S-SW) as a pro-
cess that triggered the development of the thrusting and 
 folding, a kinematic model of the Outer Carpathians evolu-
tion during the Late Cenozoic was constructed.

The new representation of the evolution of the NE segment 

of the Outer Carpathians can be supported by interpretations 
of the tectonics of the slope of the subducted European Plat-
form, which are based on seismic tomography and thermal 
modelling (Kone n  et al. 2002), and magnetotelluric sound-
ing (Ku mierek 2010).

Outline of the architecture of the NE segment  

of the Carpathians

The fold and thrust belt 

The nappes and tectonostratigraphic units of the Outer 

Carpathians form a typical fold and thrust belt with a ver-
gence consistently toward the platform margin, except for 
structural depressions where upright or hinterland-vergent 
folds appear. The documented amplitudes of nappe 

Fig. 1. Locations of cross-sections and well penetrations on a simpli ed geological map of the northeastern segment of the Outer Carpathians. 
Nappes and allochthonous units (undivided): 1 — Magura; 2 — Dukla (and Porkulets); 3 — Stebnik (Sambir) and Zg obice.  
Sedimentary complexes: 4 — upper Oligocene and lower Miocene (Krosno Beds of the Silesian, Subsilesian and Skole (Skyba) nappes; 
Polyanytsya and Vorotyshche Beds within the Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe); 5 — Menilite Beds (lower Oligocene); 6 — Cretaceous and 
Eocene (older than the Menilite Beds); 7 — transgressive Miocene outliers on  ysch (a–with small areal extent). 
Overthrusts of nappes and units: 8 — Magura;, 9 — Dukla; 10 — Silesian; 11 — Subsilesian; 12 — Skole (Skyba); 13 — Boryslav- 
Pokuttya; 14 — Allochthonous Miocene; 15 — minor overthrusts; 16 — faults; 17 — lines of geological cross-sections (a–geological 
interpretation based on seismic sections); 18 — lines of regional traverses; 19 — line of correlation (Fig. 7); 20 — line of the longitudinal 
geological cross-section (Fig. 10B); 21 — wells along the cross-sections. 
Inset A. Location of the study area within the Polish-Ukrainian Carpathians. 
Tectonic units of the Polish and Ukrainian Carpathians:  I — Carpathian Foredeep, external part (Bilche-Volytsya); II — Stebnik 
 (Sambir);  III — Boryslav-Pokuttya; IV — Skole (Skyba);  V — Subsilesian; VI — Silesian (Krosno); VII — Chornohora; VIII — Dukla;  
IX — Porkulets; X — Rakhiv; XI — Magura; XII — Maramuresh Crystalline Massif; XIII — sedimentary cover of the Maramuresh 
Massif; XIV — Pieniny Klippen Belt; XV — Podhale Trough; XVI — Transcarpathian Depression; XVII — Tatra Mts.; the study area 
marked by the box;
1A — boundary between the Western and Eastern Carpathians.

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overthrusts and the intensity of their folding justify the view 
that they are detached from their original basement along the 
basal clay-rich complexes of the Lower Cretaceous and 
locally Eocene age. Locally, there is also disharmonic folding 
above minor subhorizontal detachments.

In the Polish Outer Carpathians, three groups of nappes 

can be distinguished (after Nowak 1927) from S to N: the 
Magura Group, Middle Group and Marginal Group. In the 
borderland between Poland and Ukraine, the Middle Group 
is most extensively developed, reaching its greatest width in 
the San and Ondava (in Slovakia) river basins.

The frontal zone of the orogen is characterized by a locally 

very complicated geological structure. In general, the alloch-
thonous covers formed of flysch deposits of Cretaceous–
Palaeogene age (up to the Early Miocene in synclinoria)  
and/or the Miocene molasse (of Early Miocene–Early Sar-
matian age) are thrust over younger or coeval terrestrial and 
marine molasse. The autochthonous molasse transgressively 
overlies the Meso-Palaeozoic and Precambrian structures of 
the platform slope or the partly eroded nappes as the top 
parautochthon, locally folded at the front of the orogen.

Tectonostratigraphic relationships between allochthonous 

and parautochthonous covers and autochthonous formations 
of the Carpathian Foredeep were discussed in numerous 
papers and monographs written by Polish and Ukrainian 
geologists, such as To wi ski (1956), Ney (1957, 1968), 
Gluško (1968), Komorowska-B aszczy ska (1971), 
Ksi kiewicz (1972), Samojluk (1976 b), Wdowiarz (1976), 
Vjalov et al. (1981), Gluško et al. (1984), Kotlarczyk (1985, 
1988), Po towicz (1991, 2004), Lizoon & Zayats (1997), 
Oszczypko (2006), Ku mierek & Baran (2008), and Zayats 
(2013), on the basis of results of field studies, interpretation 
of well sections, and geophysical surveys.

The basement and foreland of the frontal zone of thrusts

The fold and thrust arc of the Outer Carpathians is overlap-

ping the slope of the platform basement. According to 
Kone n  et al. (2002), at the contact between the Western 
and Eastern Carpathians, that slope was offset by an oblique, 
SW–NE-trending deep-seated fracture which separated the 
Ma opolska Block (Massif) from the basement of the Trans-
carpathian Depression. Within that depression, no deep well 
drilled in the Ukrainian Carpathians reached the platform 
basement under the Skole Nappe (Zayats 2013).

Within the Ma opolska Block, beneath the nappes, autoch-

thonous formations of different ages, representing the plat-
form basement, were encountered. In the study area, their 
most complete section has been preserved between Pilzno 
and Rzeszów (Fig. 2A), that is in the area of oblique submer-
gence of the Miechów Trough below the frontal zone of 
thrusts which truncated older and older structural stages of 
the basement. Its foundation is composed of weakly meta-
morphosed claystones and mudstones, which in the eastern 
part of the Ma opolska Block are of Neoproterozoic (Edia-
caran)–Early Cambrian age (Po aryski et al. 1981).

In the western part of the Ma opolska Block, the eroded 

top of the basement is overlain by Mesozoic–Palaeozoic for-
mations separated by numerous erosional hiatuses with dif-
ferent spatial and temporal extents. These formations are 
disrupted by fault systems (Fig. 2A). In the eastern part of the 
Block, long-lasting post-Laramian erosion (Palaeogene–
Early Miocene) over the Le ajsk Massif (Mizerski & Stupka 
2005) removed the Mesozoic–Palaeozoic formations. As 
a consequence, autochthonous Miocene sediments, over 
which the Stebnik Nappe with erosional outliers of epiconti-
nental facies deposits is thrust, rest directly on the Precam-
brian–Lower Cambrian rocks (Fig. 2B).

Deposition of the Miocene molasse sediments took place 

in a depression formed at the Carpathian front during Alpine 
deformation. The middle Badenian evaporites occurring in 
the lower part of the Miocene molasse section represent 
a seismic marker that images the structure of the Carpathian 
Foredeep, excepting zones of their absence (e.g., the 
“Rzeszów Island”, Komorowska-B aszczy ska 1965). Dips 
of those deposits generally range from a few to more than ten 
degrees and are disturbed over compactional drape structures 
of the basement (Krzywiec et al. 2005) or in the foremost part 
of the frontal thrusts. In the area between S dziszów and 
Rzeszów, in erosional palaeochannels, deposits composed of 
the coarse-grained material from the basement occur; they 
originated from formations of different ages, from the Pre-
cambrian up to the Upper Jurassic, and are covered with 
silty-sandy terrestrial deposits to which Moryc (1995) 
ascribed a Palaeogene age.

In comparison with the strongly deformed Proterozoic 

rocks, with prevailing dips of 60–90°, the unconformably 
overlying Palaeozoic and Mesozoic sequences are rather 
low-dipping, with dips from a few to rarely over 20°. The 
larger dips are generally in the lower clastic series and are 
related to clastic series that drape the eroded basement. 
Angular unconformities in the Mesozoic–Palaeozoic cover, 
the variable extents and numerous sedimentary gaps com-
prising sometimes whole periods, imply that each series rep-
resents a different structural stage.

The tectonics of the Mesozoic–Palaeozoic structural stages 

is dominated by systems of faults, including extensional 
faults inverted during the Tertiary, which cut the open 


folds (Cisek & Czernicki 1965; Jawor 1970, 1983; Jawor & 
Baran 2004; Krzywiec 1997; Krzywiec et al. 2008; Baran & 
Jawor 2009).

The morphology of the top of the Ma opolska Block foun-

dation has been most easily recognized in wells and seismic 
surveys in the frontal zone of the fold and thrust belt where it 
is shallowest. These data have documented the occurrence of 
faults with throws reaching several kilometres, as well as the 
reduced thicknesses of the autochthonous formations on the 
platform slope; for example, they were absent in the Ba-1 
well, drilled on an erosional basement high.

Beyond the depth of the drilled wells, important data are 

supplied by the magnetotelluric sounding (MT) along several 
regional profiles (Czerwi ski & Stefaniuk 2005). In the MT 

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profiles, the Precambrian basement is identified as a high-re-
sistivity complex traced over a long depth interval. The top 
basement horizon is shallowest (2.0–8.5 km) in the frontal 
zone of the orogen and dips beneath the southern 

(synclinorial) part of the Skole Nappe where it is offset by 
SW- to vertical-dipping fault systems, with throws exceeding 
1 km (Fig. 3). According to the geoelectric characteristics 
(Stefaniuk & Ku mierek 1986; Stefaniuk 2003), these fault 

Fig. 2. Lithostratigraphic scheme of the foreland and basement in the frontal zone of the fold and thrust belt: A — in the Western Carpathians; 
B — in the Eastern Carpathians (in the transfrontier zone). 1 — claystone and siltstone, 2 — sandstone, 3 — limestone, 4 — dolomite,  
5 — metaargillite and metaaleurolite, 6 — evaporites (salt, gypsum, anhydrite), 7 — erosional outliers of the epicontinental facies (olisto-
liths?), 8 — conglomerate (pebbly mudstone), 9 — stratigraphic discontinuities, 10 — tectonic extents, 11 — stratigraphic boundaries.  


 — middle Miocene: M


–Karpatian–Sarmatian; Pg? — Palaeogene; Cr


 — Upper Cretaceous: Cr


–Santonian, Cr





–Turonian, Cr


–Cenomanian;  Cr


 — Lower Cretaceous: Cr


–Beriasian–Hauterivian;  J


 — Middle and Upper Jurasic:  



–Kimeridgian–Tithonian, J


–Oxfordian, J



T — Triassic: T


–Upper Triasic, T


–Middle Triasic,  



– Lower Triasic, P?–T


–Permian?–Lower Triasic; C


 — Lower Carboniferous: C


–Wisean–Lower Namurian, C





–Tournisian; D — Devonian: D


–Upper and Middle Devonian, D


–Emsian; S — Silurian: S


–Lower Ludlow, S





–Llandover;  O — Ordovician: O


–Llanvirn–Lower Caradoc, O


–Arenig;   — Cambrian; p€ — Precambrian (Ediacaran).  

428.2 — ages ascribed to stratigraphic boundaries [m.y.]: for the Western Carpathians, after the Stratigraphic Table of Poland without the 
Carpathian region (2008); for the Miocene (the Eastern Carpathians), after Steininger (1996).

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systems define the hinge of the flexural slope of the platform 

Transverse, oblique-slip faults striking SW–NE (subordi-

nately S–N and SE–NW) and offsetting the pre-Alpine base-
ment, which were identified on the basis of interpretations of 
geophysical survey results and remote-sensing analysis (e.g., 
Doktór et al. 1990; Ku mierek 1990), are reflected only indi-
rectly in the tectonics of the allochthonous nappes by changes 
in strikes (Ku mierek & Baran 2008; Ku mierek 2010). 
 Nevertheless, they had an important influence on differentia-
tion of the thickness and structural style of the nappes.

molasse formations in the frontal thrust zones: 

interpretative implications

Based on the contributions mentioned in Section “The fold 

and thrust belt” and on descriptions and chronostratigraphic 
correlations of geological processes contained in the publica-
tions of Gofstein (1964), Ji í ek (1979), Dolenko et al. 
(1985), Kruglov et al. (1985), Petryczenko et al. (1994), 
Garecka & Olszewska (1997), and Poprawa et al. (2004), 
a model of the succession of the flysch and molasse deposits, 
tied to the tectonic regime that controlled their development 
(Fig. 3), was constructed in order to systematize the litho-
stratigraphic characteristics of formations distinguished in 
the geological cross-sections. Chronostratigraphic correla-
tion of the deposits in the transfrontier zone of the Western 
and Eastern Carpathians presented a considerable difficulty 
in the light of rapid changes in thickness and lithology and 
differences in dating, encountered in a number of Polish and 
Ukrainian publications, such as Kotlarczyk (1988), Petry-
czenko et al. (1994), and Garecka & Olszewska (1997).

Graphical synthesis of the tectonostratigraphic sequences 

in the NE front of the Outer Carpathians (Fig. 3) has revealed 
several important relationships. Firstly, expansion of stratal 
units toward the platform slope was associated with pinching 
out of thick-bedded sandy series and interfingering of typical 
deep-marine turbidites with: epiplatform near-shore deposits 
during the late Palaeogene (so-called outer flysch in the  

Western Outer Carpathians), with evaporitic deposits (in the 
Eastern Outer Carpathians) locally with covers of near-shore 
conglomerates composed of exotics during the late Miocene; 
and then with marine deposits of the younger molasse. 
 Secondly, the direction of that expansion can be confirmed 
by the increasing age of exotics (olistoliths, clasts) origina-
ting from erosion of older and older (toward NE) outcrops of 
the platform slope, from Jurassic and Upper Cretaceous 
rocks in sections of the Skole Series to the Palaeozoic quar-
tzites and Precambrian phyllites in the early Miocene con-
glomerates (Ney 1968; Vjalov et al. 1981; Kotlarczyk 1988). 
Thirdly, intrabasinal synsedimentary uplifts triggered lateral 
changes in the thickness and lithofacies of deposits, particu-
larly the extents of individual sedimentary successions, that 
impacted the distribution of Tertiary nappes in the Eastern 
Carpathians (e.g., Vjalov et al. 1981).

The diversified architecture of the eastern part of the  Polish 

Carpathians and the western part of the Ukrainian Carpa-
thians reflects the diachronism of the final phases of sedi-
mentation of the flysch and molasse deposits, tectonic defor-
mation, and the post-orogenic inversion of the orogen, in 
general manifested by:
•  in the western part, transgression of the younger molasse 

onto folded and denudated (by subaerial, synkinematic? 
erosion;  widerski 1952; Ku mierek 1990) rocks of the 
Skole Nappe before the Middle Miocene;

•  in the eastern part,  continuous sedimentation of the   ysch–

molasse deposits (locally washed out), thrust and folded in 
the  nal stages of their deposition (the Middle–Late 

Variation of the geological structure along the front 

of the NE segment of the Carpathians

Interpretation of the subsurface structure along the 

The locations of the transversal geologic cross-sections 

with the best documented subsurface structure of the frontal 
zone of the orogen in the eastern part of the Western 

Fig. 3. Tectonostratigraphic scheme of sedimentary successions in the frontal zone of the fold and thrust belt. Tectonic regime: 1 — sub-
vertical tectonic movements in the basement of sedimentary subbasins, 2 — trend of expansion of Cretaceous–Tertiary sedimentary subba-
sins, 3 — main phases of Tertiary tectonic thrusts, 4 — expansion of continuous deformation, 5 — surfaces of sedimentary discontinuity,  
6 — stages of  nal inversion of nappes. Sedimentary megacomplexes: 7 — early  ysch, 8 — clayey-marly Cenomanian–Coniacian depo-
sits (synrift formations?), 9 — turbiditic formations of Senonian–early Palaeocene, 10 — variegated clayey-marly deposits of late Palaeocene–
Eocene, 11 — older sequences of the Menilite-Krosno Series (Oligocene), 12 — a–younger sequences of the Menilite-Krosno Series,  
b–Polyanytsya and Vorotyshche Beds, undivided (Eggenburgian–Ottnangian), 13 — Pre-Alpine basement (Precambrian–Meso-Palaeo zoic), 
14 — epicontinental (near-shore) deposits of the Skole Series: a–Eocene, b–Oligocene–lower Miocene, 15 — Miocene molasse (undi-
vided): older–Stebnik Beds (Ottnangian–Karpatian, early Badenian?), b–younger (Badenian–early Sarmatian) – Balychi, Skawina  
(– Przemy l), Bohorodchany, Tyras (Wieliczka), Chodenice and Grabowiec (Kosiv) Beds, 16 — intraformational conglomerates with frag-
ments of rocks from: a–basement, b– ysch, 17 — evaporites, 18 — erosion of deposits. Chronohorizons: mg — Globigerina (Sheshory) 
Marls, wj — Jas o (Holovetsko) Limestones. Characteristic lithofacies: a — Ku mina Sandstones, b — Spas Sandstones, c — Siliceous 
Marls, d — thick-bedded Inoceramian (–Stryi) Sandstones, e — Jamna Sandstones, f — Vyhoda Sandstones, g — Hieroglyphic Sandstones, 
h — Boryslav Sandstones, i — Kliwa Sandstones, j — Menilite Sandstones, Cherts and Marls, k — Krosno Beds, l — Polyanytsya Beds, 
m — evaporites, Vorotyshche Beds (Peri-Carpathian Salt-bearing Formation), n — Sloboda (Dubnik) Conglomerates, o — (younger) 
Wieliczka evaporites (–Kalush evaporites, Tyras Beds), p — Dobromil (–Radych) Conglomerates.

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Carpathians (Fig. 4) and the western part of the Eastern Car-
pathians (Fig. 5) are presented in Fig. 1. Their traces were 
chosen to make use of the recent seismic reflection lines shot 
by Geofizyka — Kraków in the years 1991–2010 (sporadi-
cally, also older ones), running perpendicularly to structural 
strikes, and to the locations of deep wells, which were pro-
jected into the planes of the cross-sections.

For construction of the cross-sections, the fundamental cri-

terion was to honour all the data in such a manner that the 
interpreted geometry is consistent with surface outcrops, 
seismically defined boundaries, well penetrations, and recog-
nized trends of changes in distinct sedimentary formations 
(e.g., Ku mierek et al. 1991–1994; Ku mierek et al. 2009). 
The considerable improvements in acquisition and proces-
sing of seismic profiles, expressed by their better resolution 
and fidelity, was especially important for imaging the com-
plex geometry of overthrusts and nappes, thrust imbricates 
and detachment folds which do not manifest themselves in 
the near-surface zone (Ku mierek 2010).

In the Ukrainian Carpathians, interpretation of the subsur-

face structure in the northeastern fragment of cross-section VI 
(Fig. 5B) has been based on tectonic maps of so-called hori-
zontal cuts at 3000, 5000 and 7000 m b.s.l. (Gluško & 
 Kruglov 1986), as a consequence of the unavailability of the 
source documentation regarding the results of geophysical 
surveys and deep wells (Ku mierek et al. 2009).

As illustrated by the enclosed cross-sections (Figs. 4 and 

5), the tectonics of the allochthonous cover is most compli-
cated in zones with deeply buried basement, which are 
 characterized on magnetotelluric data by extreme resistivity 
contrasts and their unconformable positions (Ku mierek 
2010), which better synthesize the geometry of the resistivity 
boundaries, without going into the detailed description con-
tained in the quoted paper. The cover is also characterized by 
great changes in thickness of the Oligocene–Lower Miocene 
successions (as a result of their syntectonic deposition), with 
the tendency to pinch out on structural elevations of the fron-
tal zone of the Skole Nappe.

The thickness of the Skole Nappe decreases toward the 

platform margin as a result of the depositional pinch-out of 
the Lower Cretaceous sequences and pre-Badenian erosion 
(Figs. 1 and 4A, B). The geometry of the sole thrusts (frontal 
detachments) of the Skole Nappe and the Marginal Group 
units is generally unaffected by the faulted basement geome-
tries (e.g., Wdowiarz 1976).

In the zone of shallow basement, the dips of thrusts are 

generally subhorizontal but become slightly steeper over 
depressions in the basement (Fig. 5), whereas further land-
ward, their shape becomes complicated within tectonic 
sutures located in the foreland of the Silesian nappes as 
a result of subsurface wedging of displaced tectonic blocks.

In the Western Carpathians, the anticlinorium of the Skole 

Nappe is characterized by imbricate structures with roughly 
E–W strikes (Fig. 1). These are thrust over tectonically 
altered fragments of the allochthonous molasse of the Mar-
ginal Group (Fig. 4) and locally covered by outliers of the 
transgressive younger parautochthonous Miocene molasse 
(Fig. 1).

The changes in strikes of the marginal folds and thrusts of 

the Skole Nappe in the Przemy l Sigmoid are accompanied 
by an intense reorganization of the orogenic front. To the SE 
of that zone, the tectonics of the Skole Nappe anticlinorium 
is dominated by a system of more closely spaced imbricate 
thrusts which separate structural elements of the “skyba” 
type, that is with the asymmetric geometry accentuated by 
pinchouts of the youngest flysch series, preserved only in 
deep synclines (Fig. 5). Also the stratigraphic section of the 
Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe that pinches out laterally into the 
Przemy l Sigmoid zone demonstrates the severe thickness 
reduction of the flysch deposits (Fig. 5A) in relation to their 
prolongation in the Ukrainian Carpathians (Fig. 5B), where 
above the structural depression of the pre-Tertiary basement, 
flat-lying disharmonic folds were formed.

Isolated erosional outliers of the epiplatform Palaeogene 

facies, which are unconformably underlying (with a strati-
graphic gap) the Miocene molasse and were encountered by 
several wells (e.g., in the Hu-1 deep well, Fig. 5A), presumably 
determine the NE extent of the Palaeogene deposits in the 
Skole succession (Ku mierek & Baran 2008). These deposits 
have not been found at the bottom of the Stebnik (Sambir) 
Nappe in the Ukrainian Carpathians (Fig. 5B) where the 
thickness of folded molasse exceeds 5000 m, although their 
occurrence cannot be excluded (Burov et al. 1969) at depths 
exceeding the ranges of the wells drilled.

In order to elucidate the complicated tectonostratigraphic 

relationships between the allochthonous/parautochthonous 
cover and the autochthonous series of the Carpathian 

Fig. 4. Geological cross-sections (I–IV) through the frontal zone of the Western Carpathians,  eastern part. Allochthonous and parautoch-
thonous cover: 1
 — parautochthonous molasse (Badenian – early Sarmatian) transgressively overlying folded  ysch series, 


2 — folded molasse of the Stebnik Nappe (Ottnangian–Karpatian, early Badenian?) and Zg obice Unit (Badenian–early Sarmatian), undi-
vided; Skole Series: 3 — deposits of the Menilite-Krosno Series (Oligocene–early Miocene), 4 — Hieroglyphic Beds and Variegated Shales 
(late Palaeocene–Eocene), 5 — Inoceramian Beds (Senonian–early Palaeocene) and Siliceous Marls (Turonian), undivided, 6 — Cretaceous 
deposits (Hauterivian–Turonian); Subsilesian Series: 7 — Variegated Shales and Marls (Senonian–Eocene), 


8 — Lower Cretaceous (sub-Senonian) deposits; Silesian Series: 9 — Menilite-Krosno Series (Oligocene), 10 — Hieroglyphic Beds, Var-
iegated Shales and Ci kowice Sandstones (late Palaeocene–Eocene), 11 — Istebna Beds (Senonian–early Palaeocene), 12 — Lower Cre-
taceous (sub-Senonian) deposits, Lgota Beds, Ve ovice Beds and Cieszyn Beds. Autochthonous covers: 13 — Badenian – Sarmatian 
molasse (undivided), 14 — Mesozoic (undivided), 15 — Meso-Palaeozoic (undivided), 16 — Palaeozoic (undivided), 17 — Precambrian 
(Riphean–Vendian, Early Cambrian?). Graphical symbols: 18 — stratigraphic unconformities, 19 — nappe overthrusts, 


20 — lower-order thrusts and other faults, 21 — wells: a–in the cross-section plane, b–projected onto the cross-section.

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Foredeep, the authors constructed three selected cross-sec-
tions through the front of the Carpathian overthrust at larger 
scales (Fig. 6A, B and C), as well as their detailed correlation 
between well penetrations (Fig. 7).

Cross-section A (Fig. 6), located to the west of the Wis oka 

river valley (Fig. 1), illustrates the occurrence of the Upper 

Badenian deposits in three structural positions (from south to 
the north) as:
•  the top parautochthon that is overlying (with a strati graphic 

gap) the Cenomanian–Palaeocene deposits of the Skole 
Series but concordantly folded (?) and thrust together with 
them (the  G-1 well);

Fig. 5. Subsurface geological cross-sections (V–VI) through the frontal zone of the Eastern Carpathians, western part. Allochthonous and 
parautochthonous cover: 1
 — parautochthonous molasse ( Radych and Dobromil Conglomerates; late Badenian–early Sarmatian) trans-
gressively overlying folded deposits of the Stebnik and Skyba nappes. Folded molasse of the Stebnik (Sambir) Nappe: 2 — M



(Ottnangian?–Karpatian) Stebnik Beds (M



); 3 — M


–younger (Badenian–lower Sarmatian) Balychi Beds (M



) and Bohorodchany and 

Tyras Beds (M



); 4 — erosional outliers of  ysch subfacies of the Skole Series (Palaeogene). Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe: 5 — Menilite 

and Polyanytsya Beds, undivided (Ol–M


), 6 — Vorotysche Beds (Eggenburgian). For remaining explanations see Fig. 4.

Fig. 6. Detailed cross-sections (A, B and C) through the outermost parts of the frontal thrusts. A —  ki Górne–Pogórska Wola (after Jedno-
rowska & Moryc 1967, slightly modi ed);  B — Zalesie–Pobitno (tectonics of  ysch series after Ney 1968, of Miocene molasse after 
Komorowska-B aszczy ska (1971), with adaptation); C — Przemy l–Jaksmanice (from Fig. 5A, with more details).
ad A/ Skole Nappe: 1 —  ysch deposits: Variegated Shales (Cenomanian) K



, Siliceous Marls (Turonian) K



, Inoceramian Beds (Seno-

nian–Palaeocene) K




; parautochthon: 2 — upper Badenian–lower Sarmatian; folded Miocene: 3 — lower Badenian, 4 — evaporites,  

5 — upper Badenian–lower Sarmatian; autochthon: 6 — Upper Cretaceous marls and limestones, 7 — lower Badenian, 8 — upper Bade-
nian–lower Sarmatian; 9  — stratigraphic unconformities, 10 — overthrust of the Skole Nappe, 11 — overthrust of folded molasse,  
12 — faults, 13 — well penetrations with measured dips of strata.
ad B/ Skole Nappe: 1 —  ysch deposits: Spas Shales (Early Cretaceous) K



, Inoceramian Beds (Senonian–Palaeocene) K




, Hierogly-

phic Beds and Variegated Shales (late Palaeocene–Eocene) P


-E, Menilite-Krosno Series (Oligocene) Ol; parautochthon: 2 — Badenian–

lower Sarmatian; folded Miocene: 3 — upper Badenian, 4 — lower Sarmatian; autochthon: 5 — Precambrian, 6 — Devonian,  
7 — Carboniferous, 8 — upper Badenian, 9 — lower Sarmatian. For the remaining symbols, see Fig. A.
ad C/ Stebnik Nappe: 1 — erosional outliers of  ysch subfacies of the Skole Series; folded molasse: 2 — Stebnik Beds M



3 — Balychi 

Beds M



 — upper Badenian–lower Sarmatian M


post-tectonic cover (parautochthon): 5 — Przemy l (Skawina) 

Beds M



6 — Radych Conglomerates M



autochthon: 7 — Precambrian Pcm, 8 — undivided Miocene molasse (M


); 9 — overthrust 

of the Stebnik Nappe, 10 — overthrust of the Zg obice Unit, 11 — thrust slices and faults. For the remaining symbols, see Fig. A.

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•  a parautochthonous Miocene fold (at the front of the Skole 

Nappe overthrust), thrust over the autochthonous deposits 
of the Carpathian Foredeep (the PW-3 well) with the thrust 
amplitude on the order of 1 km;

•  the subhorizontal autochthon, somewhat tectonically dis-

turbed at depth (the PW-5 well), with basal lower Badenian 
deposits overlying (with a stratigraphic gap) the Upper 
Cretaceous marls (the  G-1 well).
Krzywiec et al. (2014) presented an alternative interpreta-

tion of the geological structure of the thrust front in the 
Pogórska Wola area (Fig. 1, cross section A), based on inter-
pretation of a seismic 3D survey. In the southern segment of 
the seismic time section (fig. 10 in Krzywiec et al. 2014) — 
with the course similar to that of the cross section from our 
Fig. 6A — the quoted authors plotted (with a question mark) 
a backthrust that suggested a tectonic character of the uncon-
formable position of the Miocene sediments on the Skole 
Nappe. Such interpretation conflicts with profiles of the early 
Badenian known from numerous wells (e.g., Po towicz 
1993), at the base of which there are sandstones and con-
glomerates with fragments of flysch rocks and sedimentary 
breccia of these rocks (Rajchel 1988), which indicate a trans-
gressive origin of this surface. It is generally gently sloping, 
except for frontal thrusts where it was folded together with 
the Skole Nappe (Fig. 6A) during deposition of the Miocene 
synorogenic sediments.

Cross-section B (Fig. 6) is located in the eastern part of 

so-called Rzeszów Embayment (Fig. 1). The embayment is 
built up of the thickest preserved transgressive Miocene 

cover, with thicknesses exceeding 1000 m in the Mo-1 well 
(Wdowiarz 1976). In cross-section B, the upper and lower 
Badenian subhorizontal strata are unconformably overlying 
the tightly folded flysch series of the Skole Nappe (of Early 
Cretaceous–Oligocene age). In reality, the Badenian deposits 
that “drape” the flysch formations (the Po-2 and Po-1 wells) 
in the frontal zone were folded together with the transgres-
sional surface during sedimentation of the lower Sarmatian 
deposits (the Po-5 well), resulting in overturned Miocene/
flysch fold thrust onto the lower Sarmatian–upper Badenian 
autochthonous deposits which in turn unconformably overlie 
Devonian rocks (the Po-2 well).

Cross-section C (Fig. 6), located on the eastern side of the 

Przemy l Sigmoid, represents the style of the geological 
structure of the Eastern Carpathians (Fig. 1A). This cross- 
section is an enlarged fragment of section V (Fig. 5A) and 
illustrates the geological interpretation of the northern part of 
the seismic section 2-13-94 K (originally scaled to 1:50,000), 
adapted from Ku mierek & Baran (2008). The visualization 
aims at presenting the “internal structure” of the Stebnik 
Nappe and its relation to the overthrust nappes, the tectonics 
of the Carpathian Foredeep, and the structural situation of 
so-called “deep-seated flysch elements” (Ney 1968) that in 
fact represent erosional outliers of flysch deposits in the 
epiplatform facies (after Ku mierek & Baran 2008) which 
rest at the base of the Stebnik molasse. Those outliers, 
encountered by the Ja-10, Ja-25 and Hu-1 wells (in the 
cross-section plane), are bounded by a surface of the Early 
Miocene erosion. In the seismic image, they are expressed 

Fig. 7. Correlation of “ ysch elements” in sections of the allochthonous Miocene in the frontal zone of the Polish Carpathians (eastern part). 
Allochthon of the Skole and Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes: 1 — Inoceramian Beds (Late Cretaceous–Palaeocene); 
subfacies of the Skole Series: 2 — Polyanytsya Beds (early Miocene), 3 — Menilite Beds (Oligocene), 4 — Variegated Shales (Eocene), 
5 — Inoceramian Beds (Late Cretaceous–Palaeocene); allochthonous and posttectonic Miocene: 6 — Zg obice cover (late Badenian–
early Sarmatian), 7 — Stebnik cover (Ottnangian–Karpatian);  autochthon: 8 — Precambrian, 9 — Devonian, 10 — Miocene (Badenian–
early Sarmatian); 11 — transverse zones of deep-seated faults (J–R,  –P), 12 — overthrust of the Skole Nappe, 13 — overthrust of the 
Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe, 14 — overthrust of the Stebnik Nappe, 15 — overthrust of the Zg obice Unit, 16 — stratigraphic unconformities, 
17 — symbols of well penetrations.

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by: decline of the reflector continuity; angular discordance; 
and different dynamics of their record in relation to the over-
lying molasses.

The flysch elements within the allochthonous Miocene 

cover were penetrated in different structural positions, 

delineated by stratigraphic discontinuities or overthrusts 
(Fig. 7), in the following forms:
•  in the western zone, as eroded folds of the front of the 

Skole Nappe overlain by the transgressive cover of the 
Badenian–lower Sarmatian deposits and sometimes thrust 
over folded deposits of that same cover (see 6B, Po-1 
well), which is distinguished as the allochthonous  Zg obice 
Unit (Kotlarczyk 1988, Po towicz 2004);

•  in the central part, as erosional outliers of the Cretaceous–

Palaeocene, unconformably overlain by deposits of the 
lower Miocene (Eggenburgian?, Ottnangian–lower Bade-
nian), distinguished as the allochthonous Stebnik Nappe 
(Unit) (Kotlarczyk 1988, Po towicz 2004), and locally 
 underlain by folded outliers of the Zg obice Unit (in the 
Al-6 and Prz-117 wells);

• in the eastern part (the Eastern Carpathians), as the 

 youn gest  sequence  of  ysch deposits (Eocene–lower Mio-
cene) at the bottom of the overthrust Upper Cretaceous de-
posits belonging to the Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe 


(the Prz-10 well?), and as erosional outliers uncon formably 
overlain by the Stebnik molasse, thrust together with them 
over the autochthonous deposits of the Carpathian Fore-
deep (the Prz-4 and Ja-10 wells) (Ku mierek & 


Baran 2008).

The palinspastic image of the tectonic evolution  

Reconstruction criteria for the palinspastic framework

The image of the precompressional configuration of the 

subbasins in the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians during 
the Late Tertiary was obtained through palinspastic projec-
tion of the following folded and thrust surfaces of:
• the base of the Menilite-Krosno Series (Oligocene) in 

cross-sections of the Silesian, Subsilesian, Skole and 
 Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes, which is correlated with the 
stratigraphic horizon of the Globigerina Marls (Sheshory 
Marls), approximately 34 Ma BP;

• the base of the Balychi Beds in cross-sections through  

the Stebnik Nappe, approximately 16 Ma BP (after Garec-
ka & Olszewska 1997), assuming that it determines the 

dary between the Early and Middle Miocene 


(Gradstein et al. 2004), although in older papers those  
beds were dated as Karpatian (Ney 1968; Petryczenko et 
al. 1994).
The authors assumed the relative reference line for the pal-

inspastic projection to be the trace that connects the points of 
intersection of the base of the Oligocene deposits with the 
Dukla Overthrust surface, which were marked in 7 regional 

cross-sections (traverses I, III-VIII, Fig. 1), not included in 
this paper. They were chosen from a larger set of traverses, 
constructed by the authors and originally scaled to 1:50,000 
or 1:100,000 (Ku mierek et al. 2009; Górecki 2013) in such 
a way that their traces are perpendicular to fold strikes and 
evenly distributed in the reconstructed part of the Outer 
 Carpathians (Fig. 1). Some of the segments (NE) are coinci-
dent with traces of the geological cross-sections (Fig. 4A, C, D 
and Fig. 5A) and the generalized structural models of the tra-
verses IV and V were previously published (Ku mierek 
2010, figs. 7 and 8).

The cross-sections that illustrate the subsurface geological 

structure of the Ukrainian Carpathians along traverses VI 
(the NE part), VII and VIII (Ku mierek et al. 2009) were con-
structed on the basis of geological maps (Shakin et al. 1976; 
Gluško & Kruglov et al. 1986; Burov et al. 1986; Jankowski 
et al. 2004; Kuzovienko et al. 2004) and publications (Danysh 
1973; Gluško et al. 1984; Kolodij et al. 2004).

In order to reconstruct the configurations of the subbasins 

(Figs. 8 and 9), the lengths of stratigraphic boundaries were 
measured with an opisometer (in the cross-sections), ascri-
bing them to particular nappes (tectonofacies units). The 
lengths of the straightened lines in directions consistent with 
their general vergence determined the original widths of 
sedi mentation zones of particular nappes in the traces of the 

Potential inaccuracies in constructing the palinspastic 

framework of the subbasins may arise from:
•  neglecting the in uence of the varied bathymetry (subsi-

dence of the bottom) on the reduction of widths of sedi-
mentation zones;

• assuming (a priori) that the age of structural offsets 

(thrusts, imbrications of folds, faults) was younger than the 
time of: (a) deposition of the guiding lithostratigraphic 
boundaries; and (b) formation of the subsurface line of the 
Dukla Thrust intersection with the basal surface of the Oli-
gocene strata.
 The second of these may include a potential error (on the 

order of several hundred metres to a few kilometres) in the 
eastern part of the Dukla Thrust, where synsedimentary tec-
tonic movements in the foreland occurred as early as the 
early Oligocene (e.g., Ku mierek & Baran 2013), possibly 
involving also the Dukla Nappe after the deposition of the 
Globigerina Marls (Fig. 3). The time of the initial shortening 
of the Krosno lithofacies deposits in the sedimentation zone 
of the Silesian nappes as early as the early Oligocene has 
been suggested by results of balancing cross-sections 
(Ku mierek 2010, fig. 6A). It can also be confirmed by data 
from the literature, which were compiled by Nem ok et al. 
(2006, table 1).

Selection of the subsurface edge of the Dukla Thrust as the 

relative reference line for the palinspastic projection — 
 taking account of its coincidence with the line of zero values 
of the Wiese vector — enables indirect tying of the Outer 
Carpathian cover to the potential zone of their collision with 
the Inner Carpathian zones (Figs. 8 and 9).

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, 2016, 67, 4, 347–370

the magnitude of tectonic displacement during the 

Basic parameters that scale the palinspastic models of the 

tectonic evolution in the NE segment of the Outer Carpathi-
ans (Figs. 8 and 9) are compiled in Table 1. They were 
derived from measurements and calculations in the planes of 
traverses I, III and IV in the Western Carpathians and tra-
verses V, VI, VII and VIII through the Eastern Carpathians. 
Values from column 1 of each nappe (Table 1) and their sums 
document (in the scale of Fig. 8) the precompressional widths 
of sedimentation zones of particular nappes and their maxi-
mum extents to the NE. In Fig. 8, the dashed lines denote the 
extrapolated extents of the sedimentation of:

•  the Skole succession of deposits in the epiplatform facies, 

located NE (or N) of the sedimentation zone of the Skole 
Nappe and/or the Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe;

• older Miocene molasse (Eggenburgian–Karpatian) over-

lying, with sedimentary continuity (or with a local strati-
graphic gap), the deposits of the Skole succession, in 
 essence — their SW extent ascribed to the palinspastic pro-
jection of the early Oligocene.
In the frontal zone of the Outer Carpathians, the age of 

final tectonic deformation can be calibrated by the age of the 
syntectonic deposition of molasse (e.g., Ji í ek 1979). 


In contrast, only indirect premises are available for the fore-
land zone of the Dukla Nappe, which indicate formation of 
synsedimentary folds as early as in the early Oligocene 
(Ku mierek & Baran 2013).

Fig. 8. Palinspastic reconstruction of the tectonic evolution of the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians during the Oligocene–Early Mio-
cene. 1 — relative reference line of palinspastic reconstruction and traces of its projection in the planes of regional traverses, 2 — actual 
segments of traverses V and VII before geometrical correction of their deviation from directions perpendicular to strikes of structures,  
3 — points documenting extents of sedimentary areas, 4 — SW extent of older Miocene molasse (Eggenburgian–Karpatian) overlying, with 
sedimentary continuity or with local stratigraphic gaps, the  ysch deposits of the Skole succession; maximum northeastern extents of sedi-
mentation of: 5 — Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe, 6 — Skole Nappe, 7 — Subsilesian Nappe, 8 — Silesian Nappe;  9 — sedimentation zones 
of the Skole succession:  a–in a near-shore facies to NE of the sedimentation area of the Skole and/or Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes,  
10 — magnitude of narrowing of sedimentation areas of particular nappes, 11 — subhorizontal magnitude of basement displacement of 
particular nappes, 12 — sedimentation zone of the Subsilesian succession, 13 — sedimentation zone of the Silesian succession, 14 — zones 
of deep-seated faults (fractures), active before the middle Miocene; present-day locations of: 15 — Magura overthrust, 16 — zero values of 
the Wiese vector, 17 — volcanic cover, 18 — state borders.

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Subtraction of values from columns 1 and 2 of Table 1 

yields the total magnitude of shortening of each nappe 


(in kilometres, column 3), presented as vectors in Figs. 8 and 9. 
This is illustrated for the Silesian succession (the Silesian 
and Subsilesian nappes) by the sums of the overall lengths of 
the thickened lines of the vectors of subhorizontal tectonic 
displacements, and for the Skole succession those lengths 
refer only to the Oligocene–early Miocene stratigraphic 

The total lengths of the vectors illustrate the magnitude of 

subhorizontal displacements of the consolidated basement of 
the nappes (Table 1, column 5). According to the assumption 
(see the previous section of the text), they were calculated as 
the sum of the magnitude of stratal shortening within each 
imbricate (column 3) and the heave of the intervening thrusts 
and faults. As dip angles of subsurface faults (“compres-
sional sutures”) increase to vertical ones, their horizontal 
component decreases to zero.

The magnitude of shortening during the Oligocene–early 

Miocene does not show any marked variation within sedi-
mentation zones of the Silesian succession (Table 1, Fig. 8). 
It varies more in the sedimentation area of the Skole succes-
sion, mostly in zones of strike changes of the Skole and 
Boryslav-Pokuttya subbasins, associated with the Jas o–
Rzeszów (J–R) and  upków–Przemy l ( –P) deep-seated 
fractures (Fig. 8), locations of which were determined on the 
basis of premises from the regional analysis of the recent tec-
tonics of the Outer Carpathians (e.g., Doktór et al. 1990; 
Ku mierek 1990). Consequently, the arrangement of the 
nappes in the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians was 
influenced by the configuration of the flysch subbasins as 
early as in the Oligocene–early Miocene.

The total magnitude of subhorizontal displacement of the 

front of the accretionary prism, determined as the overall 
vector lengths (Fig. 8), is characterized by substantial 
 differences along strike:

Fig. 9. Palinspastic reconstruction of the tectonic evolution of the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians in the beginning of the Middle 
Miocene and magnitude of displacements during Middle Miocene–Quaternary times. 1 — points documenting the NE extents of: a–sedi-
mentation of allochthonous Miocene molasse, b–Boryslav-Pokuttya Nappe, c–Skole Nappe, 2 — sedimentation area of allochthonous 
Miocene molasse; present-day locations of: 3 — maximum extent of transgression of the middle Miocene molasse on nappes in the Western 
Carpathians,  4 — allochthonous molasses thrust over the autochthonous deposits of the platform slope; locations of 


overthrusts of: 5 — Subsilesian Nappe, 6 — Silesian Nappe; 7 — line of the longitudinal geologic cross-section (P). For the remaining 
explanations, see Fig. 8.
Inset A. Directions of the greatest horizontal stresses (S


) on the basis of borehole breakout data (after Jarosi ski 2006), for:  

1A — autochthonous Miocene molasse in frontal zone of the Carpathians, 2A — overthrust of the Carpathian  ysch and folded Miocene 
molasses, 3A — sub-Tertiary basement.

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, 2016, 67, 4, 347–370

•  in the Western Carpathians, 35.8–49.6 km 
for the sedimentary cover and 54.6–78.1 km 
for the consolidated basement;
•  in the Eastern Carpathians, 55.3–74.2 km 
and 68.9–92.1 km, respectively.

The above ranges of values suggest dis-

memberment of the subducted platform 
slope into lithosphere blocks with variable 
directions and magnitude of displacement.

Interference of the allochthonous and 
parautochthonous covers in the Outer 

Figure 9 is a palinspastic model of the tec-

tonic evolution from the middle Miocene to 
Quaternary. It shows the extent of sedimen-
tation zones of the allochthonous and 
parauto chthonous Miocene molasse and the 
locations of frontal thrusts of the Skole and 
Boryslav-Pokuttya nappes at the end of the 
early Miocene, preceding the final inversion 
of the orogen (Fig. 3). During this interval, 
differences between the Western and Eastern 
Carpathians became marked.

The strikes of subbasins of the Marginal 

Group in the Eastern Carpathians follow the 
system of NW–SE oriented deep-seated 
faults that affect the SW slope of the East 
European Platform (Samojluk 1976a), 
namely the Tornquist-Teisseyre Zone (Picha 
2011). Oblique interference of the T-T zone 
with the deep-seated fractures of the West 
European Platform manifests itself by mini-
mum values of the gravity field (Zayats 
2013) in the NE segment of the Outer 

The differentiation of subbasin configura-

tions between the Eastern and Western Car-
pathians during the Middle Miocene is mani-
fested in their structural position and the 
width and magnitude of subhorizontal dis-
placements of the sedimentary cover and its 
basement (Fig. 9). The difference of extreme 
values of tectonic displacement of the sedi-
mentary cover exceeding 25 km (e.g., in the 
traverses III and VII, Fig. 9) supports the 
thesis that the folding and thrusting were 
diachronous along the front of the orogen 
toward the SE (Ji í ek 1979), which means 
that in the eastern traverses (VII and VIII, 
Fig. 1) the final stage could have ended over 
2 Ma later. The undeformed transgressive 
Badenian molasse on the folded nappes of 
the Middle Group in the Western  Carpathians 
shows that the final phase of contraction in 

Table 1: Measured parameters of the magnitude of subhorizontal tectonic displace-
ments of the allochthonous cover and its consolidated basement (CB) in regional geo-
logical traverses through the NE Outer Carpathians in the Late Tertiary

Number of traverse



 – F







Silesian Nappe

(Krosno zone)

Subsilesian Nappe


Skole / Skiba




Stebnik / Sambir Nappe

and Zg

obice Unit

The whole traverse

Sedimentary cover




edimentary cover




edimentary cover




edimentary cover




edimentary cover




edimentary cover



Width of the sedimentation zone


Present-day width of outcrops 


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement


Width of the sedimentation zone


Present-day width of outcrops 


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement


Width of the sedimentation zone


Present-day width of outcrops 


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement


Width of the sedimentation zone


Present-day width of outcrops 


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement


Width of the sedimentation zone


Present-day width of outcrops 


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement


Width of the sedimentation zone


Magnitude of shortening


Percentage of shortening


Magnitude of displacement





 E S 


 E R N  C 


 R P



 H I 


 N S















































































 E R N  C 


 R P



 H I 


 N S























































































































according to cross-sections 


, III, I (Po

towicz 2004; Figs. 6 and 9)

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, 2016, 67, 4, 347–370

this area was no younger than the early Sarmatian, and it 
probably took place in subaerial conditions associated with 
the “cannibalism” of older deposits (Ku mierek 1990).

In basement uplifts of the Western Carpathians (Fig. 4), the 

magnitude of shortening of the sedimentation zone of the 
allochthonous molasse was controlled primarily by the mag-
nitude of slip on the detachments. In the Eastern Carpathians, 
however, it was dominated by development of continuous 
deformation as seen in cross-sections of the Boryslav- 
Pokuttya and Stebnik nappes (Figs. 5B and 9, Table 1 — 
 columns 3 and 5).

The maximum extent of transgression of the Miocene 

molasse onto the flysch nappes (Fig. 9) was reconstructed on 
the basis of unpublished data from Urbaniak (in: Ku mierek 
1986) and of Ku mierek et al. (1991-1994), as well as publi-
cations of Po towicz (1993). Because this molasse forms the 
parautochthonous cover, its extent was reflected in the recent 
topography of the orogen, not the magnitude of tectonic dis-
placements in the marginal zone of the Western Carpathians, 
which were dominated by thrusts in the base of the flysch 
(Fig. 9, Table 1 — column 5). The authors also plotted the 
extent of the younger and older folded molasse, thrust over 
the younger, autochthonous molasse of the Carpathian Fore-
deep. The minimum southern (southwestern) extent of their 
occurrence was determined by interpolation of well data and/
or interpretation of the geometry of overthrusts in the planes 
of the traverses.

A synthesis of the palinspastic reconstruction of the tec-

tonic evolution in the NE segment of the Outer Carpathians 
during the Late Tertiary is illustrated by the sums of the 
parameters calculated for whole traverses (Table 1). The 
ranges of values emphasize differences between the Western 
Carpathians and Eastern Carpathians, respectively in:
• the reconstructed widths of sedimentation zones: 95.6–

122.6 km and 147.3–206.0 km;

• the magnitude of shortening: 37.2–54.2 km and 76.0–

110.8 km;

• the percentage of shortening: 39.9–44.3 % and 51.6–

54.9 %;

•  the magnitude of basement displacements: 68.6–92.0 and 

94.0–131.5 km.
The broad interval of geological time for the tectonic evo-

lution during the Late Tertiary (34–12 Ma) for the whole seg-
ment of the Outer Carpathians located to the NE of the Dukla 
Overthrust, implies low average shortening rates, for 
 example, 3.11–5.98 km/Ma for subhorizontal displacements 
of the basement. Nevertheless, when taking into account 
migrations (in time and space) of the folding and thrusting, 
real rates of shortening could be several times higher, for 
example, during the Late Oligocene–Early Miocene for the 
Middle Group nappes and during the Middle Miocene for the 
Marginal Group; for example, in the traverse VII it could 
exceed 10 km/Ma (Fig. 9).

The tectonic activity of the front of the Polish Outer Car-

pathians during the Pliocene–Quaternary involved relatively 
minor thin-skinned deformation (Zuchiewicz 2001). There 

were also long-wave oscillatory uplifts (Gofstein 1964; 
Ku mierek et al. 1985), induced by the isostatic effects of 
“erosional unloading”. Nevertheless, recent measurements 
on drill cores have revealed compressional stress (Jarosi ski 
2006), with the principal compressive stress subhorizontal 
and deviated a few to more than ten degrees from the inter-
preted displacement directions ascribed to the traces of the 
traverses (Fig. 9A).

The kinematic model of the orogenesis

To illustrate the model of the orogenesis of the frontal zone 

of the Outer Carpathians, successive stages of the tectonic 
evolution were reconstructed in geological cross- 
section V (Fig. 5A) through the Przemy l Sigmoid (Fig. 1). 
The stages, in millions of years (I–IV in Fig. 10), were scaled 
using the magnitude of the subhorizontal tectonic displace-
ments (Figs. 8 and 9) and the vertical component of tectonic 
movement of the Skole Nappe, namely subsidence of the 
base Oligocene in stage II, and with the amount of syntec-
tonic erosion in stage III and the postinversional erosion in 
stage IIIa, which were interpolated on the basis of recon-
structed maps (after Ku mierek et al. 1995).

Having (for the Skole Nappe) the quantified values of the 

subhorizontal and vertical components of tectonic move-
ment, the authors made a diagram of the rate and directions 
of the tectonic movements (resultant vectors, Fig. 10A) in the 
plane of the cross-section. The diagram shows, for succes-
sive stages of the evolution, both the change in the rate of 
movement and the oscillation of the movement vectors. It is 
suggested that in the early Oligocene (stage I-II), the palaeo-
tectonics of the subbasins reflected the disintegration of the 
platform slope into blocks with variable subsidence and even 
local uplift due to block rotation, with the initial subduction 
taking place in the zone of the Subsilesian Swell (to SW of 
the cross-section). The increase in the rate of tectonic dis-
placement in stage II-III, with the subhorizontal component 
still dominant, records the major phase of the subduction pro-
cess during the Late Oligocene–Early Miocene, which mani-
fests itself by the formation of thrust nappe and synsedimen-
tary folds together with subaerial erosion of their uppermost 
parts (model II and Fig. 3). At the same time, the synclino-
rium of the Skole Nappe, located over the zone of the “sub-
surface wedging” of crustal blocks (model IV), was charac-
terized by a higher degree of tectonic subsidence and 
 continuous, more asymmetric deformation (Fig. 5A) in com-
parison with the anticlinorium (as shown by the different 
lengths and directions of the vectors s II-III  and  a II-III  in 
Fig. 10A).

Model IIIa (Fig. 10) illustrates the amount of the postinver-

sion erosion, as shown by the vertical component of the vec-
tor III-IV which has a positive value in Fig. 10A. The subver-
tical trajectory of the vector represents the superposition of 
the decline of compression with the isostatic uplift of the 
orogen during Miocene–Quaternary times (Fig. 3).

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The propagation of the tectonic deformations as a result of 

the subduction of the platform slope is reflected by the con-
sistent vergence of the overthrusts, which is characteristic of 
this process. They juxtaposed the imbricated “skybas” in the 
section of the Skole Nappe with the Boryslav-Pokuttya and 
Stebnik nappes at its base. The degree of the tectonic inter-
ference between the flysch and the flysch and molasse covers 
was illustrated (Fig. 10, model IV) to accentuate the analogy 
with the palinspastic projection (Fig. 9).

In light of the oroclinal geometry of the deformed sedi-

mentary covers (Figs. 8 and 9), the convergent directions of 
the subhorizontal tectonic displacements inevitably resulted 
in compression also along the strikes of folds. This is illus-
trated, for example, by the longitudinal cross-sections in the 
form of thrust faults (Fig. 10B) which “shorten” the deformed 
surfaces. Their occurrence is a strong argument supporting 

the proposed model of the orogenesis of the fold and 


thrust belt.

Summary and discussion of results

1.  The arc of the Outer Carpathians, created by thrusting 

and folding, overlies faulted segments of the European Plat-
form lithosphere, bounded to the SW by the collision zone 
with altered, thinned lithosphere of a mantle diapir (Kone n  
et al. 2002). The lithosphere underlies the Carpathian 
Internides and back-arc basins, and that zone is identified 
with zero  values of the Wiese vector (Jankowski et al. 1979). 
The basement of sedimentary basins of the Outer Carpathians 
was successively shortened during the Late Tertiary along 
deep-seated faults (Ku mierek 2010) during its subduction 

Fig. 10. Kinematic model of the tectonic evolution of the nappes of the Outer Carpathians in the Przemy l Sigmoid zone. I–IV — Sections 
that image successive stages of the tectonic evolution: I — width of sedimentation zone of the Skole Nappe (Sk) and Boryslav-Pokuttya 
Nappe (B-P) during deposition of the chronohorizon of Globigerina (Sheshory) Marls; Ps — Subsilesian Nappe: 1 — start of the palinspa-
stic framework correlated with the intersections of the base of the Menilite Beds with the basal thrust of the Subsilesian Nappe, 2 — points 
documenting the widths of sedimentation zones; II — as above, during deposition of the chronohorizon of Jas o (Holovetsko) Limestones: 
3 — hypothetical sea level, 4 — hypsometry of the base of the Menilite Beds (Oligocene) and location of probable synsedimentary disloca-
tions, 5 — probable zones of subaerial erosion, 6 — probable location of synsedimentary uplifts of the basement, 7 — interpolated magni-
tude and direction of tectonic displacements of points correlated with location of overthrusts (in the stage II–III), F



sedimentation zone of the Skole succession deposits, in the near-shore (epicontinental) subfacies; III — as above, during deposition of the 
base of Badenian deposits,  16.0 Ma (younger molasse), correlated with the beginning of sedimentation of the Balychi Beds; estimated 
amount of erosion: 8
 — syntectonic erosion, 9 — postinversion (terrestrial) erosion in the stage III–IV; IV — present-day tectonic model 
(according to Fig. 5A): 10 — vertical projections of nappe covers (extents of interference), 11 — geometry of chronostratigraphic bounda-
ries: a–base of Oligocene, b–base of Badenian, 12 — traces of nappe overthrusts and minor thrusts, 13 — erosional outliers of  ysch 
deposits of the Skole succession in the epicontinental subfacies, 14 — top of the consolidated basement (Precambrian) and faults that offset it, 
15 — well sections: a–in the cross-section plane, b–projected onto the cross-section; “x”–deep-seated fracture skirting the southern extent 
of the platform type? basement; extents of synclinorium (s) and anticlinorium (a) of the Skole Nappe.
Inset A: 16 — diagram showing rates and directions of tectonic movements in successive stages of evolution of the Skole Nappe in the Late 
Tertiary; for the stage II–III, measured separately for a ( anticlinorium) and s (synclinorium) of the Skole Nappe;
Inset B: Tectonic sketch of the longitudinal geologic cross-section P through the internal synclinorium of the Skole Nappe (the cross-section 
line is in Figs. 1 and 9). 17 — overthrusts of nappes: a–Subsilesian, b–Skole, 18 — thrust faults that offset the base of the Oligocene.

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(together with gravitational? subsidence) including original 
uplifts in the basement which separate the West Carpathian 
subbasins (Ksi kiewicz 1965). Convergence of the conti-
nental plates of the lithosphere was compensated in the colli-
sion zone by diapiric uprise of the mantle (Kone n  et  
al. 2002).

2. Thrusts and folds of the sedimentary cover, detached 

from the subducted basement blocks, propagated toward the 
frontal zone of the Outer Carpathians and were subjected to 
telescopic shortening. The variable geometry of the zone was 
influenced by the pre-orogenic morphology of the basement 
of the sedimentary basins, including transverse oblique-slip 
fractures. The strike of the outer compressional suture that 
delineates the extent of the flexural platform slope in the area 
of the Polish Carpathians — the geoelectric signature of 
which was different in nature from the remobilized basement 
of the Externides in their central and southern parts 


(Stefaniuk et al. 2009, fig. 6; Ku mierek 2010) — correlates 
(in the first approximation) with the axis of the gravitational 

3.  The sedimentary cover detached from its basement is 

charac terized by distinct styles of: tectonic deformations 
(particularly the relatively weak syntectonic successions); 
the morphology of sedimentary basins; the sediment thick-
nesses and lithologies; and the geometry and amplitude of 
thrusts (Ku mierek & Ney 1988). These have been illustrated 
by subsurface cross-sections through the frontal zone of the 
NE segment of the Outer Carpathians (Figs. 4, 5 and 6). In 
zones of shallow basement, the structural style of the alloch-
thonous cover is dominated by thrust imbricates detached on 
sole thrusts, with the geometry becoming more complicated 
in the zone of the outer compressional suture. The style and 
consistent vergence of the thrust faults record their compres-
sional origin (e.g., Wdowiarz 1976; Ksi kiewicz 1972).

4. The influence of deep-seated faults in the basement, 

which terminate upward beneath the sole thrusts (e.g., 
Ku mierek & Baran 2008), manifests itself by changes in 
strike and modifications of the tectonics of the allochthonous 
cover, and particularly by their discrepancy in the Przemy l 
Sigmoid zone, associated with the NW margin of the Trans-
carpathian Depression in the basement. The western part of 
the Eastern Outer Carpathians, which overlies that depres-
sion, is characterized by an increasing thickness of the nappes 
and of the whole lithosphere (Dérerová et al. 2006) and 
a thorough reorganization of the frontal zone of the orogen. 
This includes the system of imbricate thrusts that separate 
structural elements of the “skyba” type (Fig. 5), as well as the 
sedimentary continuity of flysch — molasse successions 
with their horizontal interfingering with the Stebnik molasse 
and autochthonous foredeep molasse (Petryczenko et al. 
1994), apart from local stratigraphic gaps (washouts) and 
thrusts that offset the lithostratigraphic boundaries.

5. The tectonostratigraphic identification of depositional 

systems in the zone of frontal thrusts (Figs 2, 5, 6 and 7) is 
a basic source of information necessary for deciphering the 
Tertiary evolution of the Outer Carpathians (e.g., Krzywiec 

2006) and it implies their direct connection with the architec-
ture of the platform margin.

6.  Profiles of the Miocene sedimentary successions of the 

frontal cover in the Western Outer Carpathians, thrust onto 
the Ma opolska Block basement, are generally discontinuous 
on account of their deposition during subduction of the plat-
form slope. The direction of subduction varied obliquely 
rela tive to the strikes of the nappes (Ji í ek 1979; Ellouz & 
Roca 1994; Ku mierek 1996), which is why the tectono-
stratigraphic relationships of the Miocene successions with 
Cretaceous–Palaeogene (flysch) formations and younger (or 
coeval) autochthonous molasse are complicated (Figs. 2, 3, 6 
and 7). As a consequence, the Miocene deposits occur in 
 various tectonostratigraphic positions (Figs. 6 and 7):
•  the oldest of them form the upper members of the Krosno 

Beds of the  ysch succession, preserved, for example, in 
the synclinorium of the Skole Nappe (Kotlarczyk 1988);

•  the younger ones (and coeval ones) transgressively overlay 

(with a stratigraphic gap increasing toward the NW?) the 
epicontinental  ysch facies but are thrusted and folded 
with them; for example, the  ysch cores of the Bochnia 
folds (Tortonian, Ksi kiewicz 1972) and so-called “ ysch 
elements” of the Stebnik succession in the Przemy l Sig-
moid zone (Ku mierek & Baran 2008);

•  the youngest ones (early Badenian–early Sarmatian) trans-

gressively overlie the nappes of the Middle Group; in the  
frontal thrust zones they form synsedimentary folds and 
thrusts — locally with underlying  ysch strata 
 (Komorowska-B aszczy ska 1971) – distinguished as the 
Zg obice Unit (Kotlarczyk 1985) and thrust onto the 
younger (or coeval) autochthonous molasse (late Bade-
nian–middle/late Sarmatian) of the Carpathian Foredeep 
(Ney 1968; Por bski & Oszczypko 1999).
Attempts have been made to link the occurrence of the epi-

continental flysch-type lithofacies at the bottom of the Mio-
cene molasse, or patches of such lithofacies that are inter-
stratified with them, with the concept of gravity flows (Po to-
wicz 2004, Oszczypko et al. 2008); but such an option has no 
justification in the compressional style of the frontal zone of 
the orogen (e.g., Florek et al. 2004) or in its pre-Badenian 
morphology. Instead, the gravity sliding could comprise the 
zone of the epicontinental flysch facies, which covered the 
platform slope that was uplifted before the middle Miocene.

7.  The gradual reduction of thickness and decreasing age 

of the autochthonous Miocene molasse toward the zone of 
the outer suture in the basement — which was cut by sole 
thrusts that propagated synchronously with deposition of the 
uppermost members (Figs. 4 and 5) — undermine the re -
liability of interpretations that suggest occurrence of alloch-
thonous molasse on the southern side of the suture (e.g., 
Nem ok et al. 2006), which had been linked with presence of 
an internal basin of the Carpathian Foredeep, currently reach-
ing up to the upper San river basin (?, Ney et al. 1974).

8.  The tectonic evolution of the central-outer belt of the 

Outer Carpathians during the Late Tertiary — palinspasti-
cally reconstructed to two time intervals (Figs. 8 and 9, 

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, 2016, 67, 4, 347–370

Table 1) — was characterized by the variable arrangement of 
sedimentation zones of the frontal nappes, which appeared as 
early as in the early Miocene (Fig. 8), and by the increasing 
magnitude of subduction of the platform slope, which was 
accompanied by growth of the accretionary prism with 
increasing thickness of the deformed Miocene molasse. The 
convergent subduction direction of the basement blocks 
induced a conformable direction of the tectonic transport of 
the deformed sedimentary cover — namely toward the SW in 
the palaeogeographic projection — however, as a result of 
thrust propagation (detached from basement), moving in the 
opposite direction shown by the vergence of thrusts and 
folds. The magnitude of the movements is scaled by values 
of the horizontal component of subducting segments of the 
basement; shortening of the segments was increasing with 
their vertical rotation that triggered gravitational 

9. Potential inaccuracies in images of the palinspastic 

framework of the precompressional configuration of the sub-
basins in Figures 8 and 9  (apart from those mentioned in 
chapter “Reconstruction criteria for the palinspastic frame-
)  can be attributed to dating of the tectonic  deformation 
stages in view of the diachronism of folding and  thrus ting 
movements and the time of initiation of backthrust faul ting in 
internal zones of synclinoria.

10.  Application of the traditional (opposite) procedure of 

palinspastic reconstruction (Kay 1945) — locating the basins 
of the Outer Carpathians in the area of the Pannonian mantle 
diapir (e.g., Unrug 1979) — requires an unacceptable distor-
tion of their geometry because of the oroclinal nature of the 
fold and thrust arc (Khain et al. 1977; Kruglov et al. 1985) 
documented by detailed analysis of the palinspastic projec-
tion (Ku mierek 1988). The opposite kinematic model for the 
formation of the accretionary wedge, deformed at the front of 
the ALCAPA terrane and moving to the N or NE (e.g., 
Nem ok et al. 2006) implies the controversial original loca-
tion of the Carpathian sedimentary basins.

11. Application of the cross-section balancing technique 

for imaging the tectonic evolution of the fold and thrust belt 
during the Late Tertiary is complicated by the syntectonic 
character of deposition of the youngest sediments, associated 
with processes of their deposition and synkinematic erosion, 
which requires quantification of anisopachous primary thick-
nesses through reconstruction of the magnitude of erosion 
(Ku mierek et al. 1995; Ku mierek 2010, fig. 6). This 
 problem has often been neglected, and this has had an impact 
on the reliability of the presented models (e.g., Nem ok et al. 
2006). Cross-sections balanced without balancing of the 
highly variable thicknesses of synorogenic sediments 
 revealing a diachronous pattern of lithofacies boundaries 
should not be a basis for drawing the tectogenetic conclu-
sions, in particular based on a kinematic model of only single 
traverse (e.g., G ga a et al. 2012).

12.  The above problem can be overcome through applica-

tion of the palinspastic method, which allows precise ima-
ging of the precompressional configuration of sedimentation 

areas and magnitudes of reduction of their original widths, 
under the following conditions:
•  exact interpretation of the tectonics of folds and thrusts of 

isochronous boundaries in a few cross sections perpen-
dicular to strikes of the folds;

•  application of an appropriate reference line of the palaeo-

geographic model and a proper direction of “unfolding”, 
and compensation of the horizontal component of ampli-
tudes in planes of discontinuous dislocations formed after 
sedimentation of marker stratigraphic horizons.
13.  Marked influence on modification of the tectonic style 

and stratigraphic inventory of nappes was exerted by trans-
verse zones of deep-seated strike-slip faults, which were dis-
tinguished in Figures 8 and 9 from an undoubtedly more 
extensive set of transverse faults (Ku mierek 2010) because 
they manifested themselves by changes in strikes of marginal 
flysch and molasse subbasins. 

14.  Discriminating between ductile deformations and brit-

tle deformations, exposed by G ga a et al. (2012), is of sig-
nificance when analysing the disharmonious setting of local 
structures. In the regional context, however, the tectonic style 
disharmony is more dependent on location of sediments sub-
jected to deformation, and on pinching out of thick series of 
synorogenic deposits in zones of basement depression, in 
sections of which compressional structures are often asso-
ciated by gravitational deformations with disharmonious 
 tectonics  (Ku mierek 1979), improperly located in the recent 
geological map of the Outer Carpathians (Jankowski et 


al. 2004).

15.  The kinematic model of the orogenesis (Fig. 10), con-

strained by the horizontal and vertical components of tec-
tonic movements, depicts the variable rates and directions in 
successive stages of the evolution, with its initial phase in the 
early Oligocene (Fig. 10A). Zones of disruption and “subsur-
face wedging” (Roure et al. 1990) of tectonic blocks of the 
platform slope were characterized by a greater intensity of 
deformation, and the decline of the shortening was accompa-
nied by the isostatic uplift. The convergent direction of 
movement in relation to the oroclinal geometry of the subba-
sins also induced strike-parallel shortening (Fig. 10B).

16.  The differentiation of the geological structure of the 

Western and Eastern Outer Carpathians — reflected by the 
different arrangement of the nappes and Miocene parautoch-
thonous covers (Fig. 9) — was influenced by rotation of sub-
ducting lithospheric blocks resulting from the convergent 
displacement (with collateral transpressional? interfingering; 
Ku mierek 1990) and by the magnitude of the subduction 
and the basement relief. As distinct from the uplifted 
Ma opolska Block beneath the Western Outer Carpathians, 
the western part of the Eastern Outer Carpathians is superim-
posed on the Transcarpathian Depression in the basement, 
which separated the Western Carpathian and Transylvanian 
mantle diapirs (Naumenko 1984). The influence of the 
advanced subduction of the basement in that part of the Outer 
Carpathians is manifested by the occurrence of Neogene vol-
canics in the hinterland, accompanied by a detached and 

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, 2016, 67, 4, 347–370

sunken lithospheric slab (Kone n  et al. 2002). The differen-
tiation of the evolution from NW to SE of the central-outer 
belt of the Outer Carpathians during the Late Tertiary 


(34–12 Ma) is reflected by the large variation of measured 
parameters (Table 1):
•  the total width of sedimentation zones: 95.6–206.0 km
•  the magnitude of shortening: 37.2–110.8 km
•  the percentage of shortening: 39.9–54.9 %
•  the magnitude of basement displacement: 68.6–131.5 km
•  the average shortening rate: 3.11–5.98 km/m.y. (with the 

maximum value in the late Oligocene–early Miocene, 
probably exceeding 10 km/m.y. in the traverse VII).
The parameters above are different from the ones deter-

mined by balancing of one traverse with a different sub-
surface interpretation and conceptual kinematic model 
 (Behrmann et al. 2000; G ga a et al. 2012). The recon structed 
width of the sedimentation zone and the magnitude of 


the basement displacements in the plane of that traverse 
(Table 1, traverse V) are relatively smaller than the values 
given by Roure et al. (1993) based on a hypothesis of a maxi-
mum dimension of the subthrust basement (Roure et al. 1994, 
fig. 11).

When comparing the above parameters we should keep in 

mind that the data in Table 1 and images in Figs. 8 and 9 are 
scaling only the subhorizontal component of tectonic dis-
placement, unlike balanced cross-sections which sum up the 
values of both components of the displacement. 

The significant differences in the structure of the frontal 

zone of the Western and Eastern Outer Carpathians, which 
have evoked different criteria for their classification by 
 Polish and Ukrainian geologists, do not undermine the homo-
geneous model of the orogenesis for the whole NE segment 
of the Outer Carpathians.

Acknowledgements: The paper was prepared within the 
framework of the research project ShaleCarp in the program 
Blue Gas II,  nanced by the National Centre for Research 
and Development (BG2/ShaleCarp/14). The regional geo-
logical traverses, illustrating the subsurface geological struc-
ture of the transfrontier zone of the Polish and Ukrainian 
Outer Carpathians, which are not included in the presented 
paper (except for their modi ed fragments) but nevertheless 
were used for reconstruction of the palinspastic models, were 
prepared within the framework of the Polish-Ukrainian 
research projects no. PB/PUPW/6/2005 and no. 646/N from 
Ukraine/2010/0,  nanced by the Ministry of Science and 
Higher Education of the Republic of Poland. Their construc-
tion was possible thanks to the  nal reports of wells and 
archival seismic sections being made available by the Polish 
Oil and Gas Company S.A. and Polish Geological Institute 
— National Research Institute. The seismic sections were 
reprocessed by the AGH-UST research team under the super-
vision of Dr Tomasz Ma kowski. We gratefully acknowledge 
Prof. Walery Omalczenko and Dr Krystyna Zayats for con-
sultation on the interpretation of the cross-sections through 
the Ukrainian Carpathians. We are grateful to MSc Julian 

Krach for the English translation as well as Prof. Szczepan 
Por bski and PhD Mark G. Rowan for thorough editorial 
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