International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 297–313 | Cite as

Mesozoic evolution of the Tisza Mega-unit

  • János HaasEmail author
  • Csaba Péró
Original Paper


The south-eastern part of the basement of the Pannonian Basin is made up of Variscan crystalline complexes and early Mesozoic formations showing striking affinity with the corresponding formations in the southern margin of the European Plate. This large composite structural unit, which is actually an exotic terrane of European Plate origin, has been named the Tisza Mega-unit. Based upon relevant data of the pre-Tertiary basement of southern Hungary the reconstruction of the position of the Tisza Terrane in the early Alpine evolutionary stages, the process of its separation and break-off from the European Plate, and results of its Eo-Alpine deformations are summarised in the present paper. In the Variscan and early Alpine evolutionary stages the area of the later Tisza Mega-unit was located at the margin of the European Plate. During Variscan orogeny terrane accretion led to intensive deformation and metamorphism in this belt. This was followed by transpressional tectonics and the development of molasse basins in the late and post-Variscan stages, and passive margin evolution after the Neotethys opening in the Middle Triassic. The separation of the Tisza Mega-unit began with incipient continental rifting along the axis of the later Ligurian–Penninic–Vahic oceanic branch in the Late Triassic. The end of terrigenous material deposition in the most external zones, and a coeval change in fossil assemblage, point to the separation of the Tisza Block from the European Plate in the Early Bathonian. Significant rotation of the Tisza Mega-unit and coeval paroxysm of alkaline rift-type basalt volcanism took place in the Early Cretaceous. In the mid-Cretaceous, due to the northward motion of the Adria Block and the related closure of the westernmost Neotethys basin, the extensional regime changed to a compressional one, leading to onset of the nappe stacking and low-grade regional metamorphism within the Tisza microplate. In the foreland of the nappe systems flexural basins came into existence that are characterised by flysch-type sedimentation. In the Early Tertiary the north-eastward motion of the Alcapa and Tisza + Dacia Blocks led to the formation of the present-day heterogeneous basement of the Pannonian Basin.


Pannonian Basin Mesozoic Structural units Geodynamincs Palaeogeographic reconstruction 



This study was supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA Project T037595) The authors thank Professor Stefan Schmid and Sándor Kovács for helpful discussions and comments. We are much obliged to Professor Wolfgang Frisch and Professor Peter Faupl for their careful and constructive reviews. Authors are indebted to Henry Lieberman (Houston, USA) for the lingual corrections.


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© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of SciencesEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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