Variable structural styles and tectonic evolution of an ancient backstop boundary: the Pieniny Klippen Belt of the Western Carpathians

  • Dušan PlašienkaEmail author
  • Jana Bučová
  • Viera Šimonová
Original Paper


The Pieniny Klippen Belt (PKB) and adjoining zones form a narrow, but lengthy belt that separates the Cretaceous nappe stack of the Central (Austroalpine) and the Cenozoic accretionary wedge of the External Western Carpathians (Flysch Belt). The PKB shares units and structures of both, in addition to the distinctive Oravic units, derived from a continental fragment in the Middle Penninic position. In map view, the northward-convex PKB consists of two branches—the western one striking roughly SW–NE and the eastern one oriented in the NW–SE direction. The western branch experienced a continuous NW–SE convergence and forward accretion of units derived from the foreland plate during the Late Cretaceous up to Oligocene. The developing accretionary wedge was supported by the backstop of the Central Carpathians. In contrast, the eastern branch originated by separation of PKB units and their dextral translation along the NE margin of the Central Carpathian block in the Late Eocene. During the Miocene reorganization of plate movements in the Carpathian area, the situation reversed. The eastern, formerly dextral transform margin was converted to the frontal backstop of the eastern part of the accretionary wedge. In contrast, the western, previously orthogonally convergent branch was affected by along-strike sinistral movements. Despite these considerable kinematic changes, the PKB remained fixed to both backstop edges and records deformation structures and associated sediments differentiated into several evolutionary stages.


Western Carpathians Klippen Belt Tectonic evolution Cretaceous Paleogene 



Financial support from the Slovak Research and Development Agency (past project APVV-0212-12 and actual project APVV-17-0170 granted to DP, and project APVV-16-0146 granted to M. Bielik) is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks are due to thorough and constructive reviews by Michal Krobicki and an anonymous reviewer, as well as to editorial remarks by Petr Jeřábek, which substantially improved earlier versions of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1094 kb)


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© Geologische Vereinigung e.V. (GV) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and Palaeontology, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Earth Science Institute, Slovak Academy of SciencesBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.DPP Žilina LtdŽilinaSlovakia
  4. 4.Department of Geography and Geology, Faculty of Natural SciencesMatej Bel UniversityBanská BystricaSlovakia

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