Abstract

Superb sections of Tithonian to Cenomanian carbonates of the Adriatic (Dinaric) platform are exposed on the islands of southern Croatia. A succession approximately 1,800 m thick consists exclusively of shallow-water marine carbonates (limestone, dolomitized limestone, dolomite, and intraformational breccia), formed in a protected and tectonically stable part of the platform interior. Several phases of exposure and incipient drowning are recorded in the platform interior. Four are crucial for understanding the Late Jurassic to mid-Cretaceous evolution of the wider peri-Adriatic area: (1) latest Jurassic–earliest Cretaceous sea-level fall, (2) Aptian drowning, followed by (3) Late Aptian platform exposure, and (4) Late Albian–Early Cenomanian sea-level fall. Deciphering these complex events from the vertical and lateral facies distribution has led to an evaluation of facies dynamics and construction of a relative sea-level curve for the study area. This curve shows that long-term transgression during the Early Tithonian, Hauterivian, Early Aptian, and Early Albian, resulted in generally thicker beds deposited in subtidal environments of lagoons or shoals. Regression was characterized by shallowing-upward peritidal parasequences, with well-developed tidal-flat laminites commonly capped by emersion breccia and/or residual clay sheets (Early Berriasian, Barremian, Late Aptian, Late Albian). The southern part of the Dinarides was tectonically quiet during the Tithonian through Aptian; sea-level oscillations appear to have been the primary control on facies stacking. Some correlation exists between local sea-level fluctuations and the published global eustasy charts for the Tithonian through Aptian. A significant departure is recognized at the Albian–Cenomanian transition, suggesting that it was influenced by tectonics associated with the disintegration of the Adriatic (Dinaric) platform.

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