Abstract

The Pannonian Basin is an intraorogenic extensional region floored by a complex system of Alpine orogenic terranes and oceanic suture zones. Its formation dates back to the beginning of the Miocene, and initial fluvial-lacustrine deposits pass into shallow to open marine strata, including a large amount of calc-alkaline volcanic materials erupted during the culmination of the synrift phase. The onset of the postrift phase occurred during the Late Miocene, when the basin became isolated and a large Pannonian lake developed. Early lacustrine marls are overlain by turbiditic sandstones and silts related to a progradational shelf slope and a delta plain sequence passing upward into alluvial plain deposits and eolian sands. A remarkable nonconformity at the top of lacustrine strata associated with a significant (4–7 my) time gap at large parts of the basin documents a neotectonic phase of activity, manifested by regional strike-slip faulting and kilometer-scale differential vertical movements, with erosion and redeposition. Subsidence and burial history modeling indicate that Middle and Late Miocene, fairly organic-rich marine and lacustrine (respectively) shales entered into the oil-generation window at about the beginning of the Pliocene in depocenters deeper than 2.5–3 km, and even reached the wet to dry gas-generation zone at depths exceeding 4–4.5 km. Migration out of these kitchens has been going on since the latest Miocene toward basement highs, where anticlines and flower structures offered adequate trapping conditions for hydrocarbons. We argue that compaction of thick sedimentary piles, in addition to neotectonic structures, has also been important in trap formation within the Pannonian Basin.

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