15th Emile Argand Conference on Alpine Geological Studies
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Jurassic pelagic succession of NW Croatia – a key to better understanding tectonic setting of the Southern Alps – Dinarides transition zone

Matija Vukovski, Duje Kukoč, Tonći Grgasovic, Ladislav Fuček, and Damir Slovenec
Matija Vukovski et al.
  • Croatian Geological Survey, Department of Geology, Zagreb, Croatia

Ivanščica Mt. is an inselberg in the transitional area where S-verging Southern Alpine structures overprint NNW-verging Dinaric structures (van Gelder et al. 2015, and references therein). It is composed of Triassic to Cretaceous shallow to deep-marine sedimentary succession of the Adriatic continental passive margin (Šimunić et al. 1976), overthrust by ophiolitic mélange (Babić et al. 2002). Early Cretaceous siliciclastic flysch-type deposits continuously overlaying pelagic limestones clearly indicates distal position of these successions on the continental margin. However, so far complete Jurassic succession on Mt. Ivanščica was never found, causing different interpretations of its Mesozoic history. Babić (1974) assumed the existence of Jurassic pelagic succession on top of the Late Triassic shallow-water carbonates, describing up to few meters of Early to Middle Jurassic condensed pelagic limestone overlain by Late Jurassic radiolarian cherts and pelagic limestones. Contrary, Šimunić et al. (1976) assumed shallow-marine conditions throughout the Early Jurassic followed by emersion until latest Jurassic. Our study revealed for the first time complete shallow-water to pelagic Jurassic succession on Mt. Ivanščica.

Southern slopes of Ivanščica Mt. are mostly built of ophiolitic mélange, except for prominent hills built of the Late Triassic Dachstein limestone, which were so far interpreted as klippes (Šimunić et al. 1976), or olistoliths (Babić & Zupanič 1978). Our new data indicate continuous succession on top of Dachstein limestones composed of shallow-marine carbonates, represented by intraclastic-peloidal packstones to grainstones, gradually transitioning to wackestones with pelagic influence. The onset of pelagic sedimentation took place around the end of the Early Jurassic when thin bedded marls, shales, marly limestones with intercalated fine-grained calciturbidites were deposited. Higher in the succession Callovian to possibly early Tithonian radiolarian cherts are overlaid by calcarenites, late Tithonian to Early Cretaceous pelagic limestones and Early Cretaceous flysch-type deposits.

Discovery of the Jurassic pelagic sediments allows for a new interpretation of structural relations on the Ivanščica Mt. In our opinion occurrence of Dachstein limestone, previously interpreted as klippes or olistoliths represent an imbricate fan. Because the Southern Alps thrust front in this area was interpreted according to these mapped klippes and nappe contact, our findings may also have an impact on the redefining of the easternmost Southern Alps thrust front.


Babić, Lj. (1974). Jurassic−Cretaceous sequence of Mt. Ivanščica (North Croatia). Bull. Sci. Cons. Acad. Yugoslav. (A), 19/7−8, 180−181. Zagreb.

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van Gelder, I., Matenco, L., Willingshofer, E., Tomljenović, B., & Andriessen, P.,  Ducea, M., Beniest, A. & Gruić, A. (2015). The tectonic evolution of a critical segment of the Dinarides-Alps connection: Kinematic and geochronological inferences from the Medvednica Mountains, NE Croatia. Tectonics. 34. n/a-n/a. 10.1002/2015TC003937.

How to cite: Vukovski, M., Kukoč, D., Grgasovic, T., Fuček, L., and Slovenec, D.: Jurassic pelagic succession of NW Croatia – a key to better understanding tectonic setting of the Southern Alps – Dinarides transition zone, 15th Emile Argand Conference on Alpine Geological Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 12–14 Sep 2022, alpshop2022-23,, 2022.