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Abstract

The Miocene evolution of the Carpathian-Pannonian system appears to have been controlled by events within the adjacent Alpine mountain belts. Early Miocene initiation of northward to eastward thrusting in the outer Carpathians is best ascribed to the eastward escape of the Pannonian continental lithospheric fragments) away from the zone of collision in the Eastern Alps. The subsequent “back arc” extension in the Pannonian basin system in middle-late Miocene time was coeval with the late stages of thrusting in the adjacent Carpathian belt. Net east-west extension within the basin system can be related both to the arrangement of continental lithospheric fragment boundaries outside of the Pannonian area, which prohibited continued convergence of the Pannonian fragment with Europe, and to the continued subduction and shortening beneath the East Carpathians at the same time.

Basin extension was heterogeneous and diachro-nous throughout the Pannonian basin system. Variations in basin development were intimately related to contemporaneous thrust belt activity in the Carpathian Mountains. Extension occurred along a conjugate system of strike-slip faults that connected areas of coeval extension to one another and to coeval areas of shortening within the Carpathian thrust belt, thus providing a mechanical link between basin extension and thrusting. The style of extension at depth was controlled by the geometry of the thrust belt at depth and the distance from the thrust front.

The style of sedimentation within each basin was also influenced by the proximity of each basin to the thrust front. Basins located near the thrust belt contain thick synextensional fault-bounded sedimentary rocks overlain by thin postextensional sediments. The normal faults reach nearly to the surface. Basins located far from the thrust belt contain thin sequences of synextensional fault-bounded sedimentary rock sequences overlain by thick sequences of postextensional, unfaulted, flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These differences can be explained by differences in the thermal subsidence rate of the basement after extension and by the proximity of each basin to the sediment sources in the Carpathians.

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