Geologica Carpathica (Aug 2014)

Cretaceous—Quaternary tectonic evolution of the Tatra Mts (Western Carpathians): constraints from structural, sedimentary, geomorphological, and fission track data

  • Králiková Silvia,
  • Vojtko Rastislav,
  • Sliva Ubomír,
  • Minár Jozef,
  • Fügenschuh Bernhard,
  • Kováč Michal,
  • Hók Jozef

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 65, no. 4
pp. 307 – 326


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The Tatra Mts area, located in the northernmost part of Central Western Carpathians on the border between Slovakia and Poland, underwent a complex Alpine tectonic evolution. This study integrates structural, sedimentary, and geomorphological data combined with fission track data from the Variscan granite rocks to discuss the Cretaceous to Quaternary tectonic and landscape evolution of the Tatra Mts. The presented data can be correlated with five principal tectonic stages (TS), including neotectonics. TS-1 (~95-80 Ma) is related to mid-Cretaceous nappe stacking when the Tatric Unit was overlain by Mesozoic sequences of the Fatric and Hronic Nappes. After nappe stacking the Tatric crystalline basement was exhumed (and cooled) in response to the Late Cretaceous/Paleogene orogenic collapse followed by orogen-parallel extension. This is supported by 70 to 60 Ma old zircon fission track ages. Extensional tectonics were replaced by transpression to transtension during the Late Paleocene to Eocene (TS-2; ~80-45 Ma). TS-3 (~45-20 Ma) is documented by thick Oligocene-lowermost Miocene sediments of the Central Carpathian Paleogene Basin which kept the underlying Tatric crystalline basement at elevated temperatures (ca. > 120 °C and < 200 °C). The TS-4 (~20-7 Ma) is linked to slow Miocene exhumation rate of the Tatric crystalline basement, as it is indicated by apatite fission track data of 9-12 Ma. The final shaping of the Tatra Mts has been linked to accelerated tectonic activity since the Pliocene (TS-5; ~7-0 Ma).