Late Alpine tectonics and Neotectonics
International Conference - May 2001
Tectonics of the Pirin horst
The Pirin horst is one of the
most spectacular geological structures in Bulgaria. It is a neotectonic
(Neogene - Quaternary) block structure that has inherited elements of Precambrian,
Palaeozoic, late Mesozoic and Palaeogene structures (Fig. 1).
In the pre-Late Cretaceous
structure, most of the Pirin Mountain and the Slavyanka and Kroupnik Mountains
formed a distinct Pirin Unit. It is characterized with the following features:
- wide occurrence of Precambrian amphibolite-facies metamorphics, correlatable with the Rhodopian Supergroup (Fig. 2);
- complicated polydeformational (see PHOTOGALLERY) synmetamorphic and pre-granitic fold structure (Fig. 3);
- intrusion of the Palaeozoic Spanchevo granite pluton that underwent later superimposed deformations (schistosity, lineations) ans was deformed by the Belyovo conical synform;
- thrusting of the Ograzhden over the Pirin unit in Mid Cretaceous times along the Strimon thrust;
- intrusion of the Late Cretaceous Dautov (North Pirin) and Bezbog granite plutons; the North Pirin pluton intruded also the allochthon of the Ograzhden unit;
- prolonged uplift of the Pirin Mts., erosion, denudation and karstification in earliest Palaeogene times.
The Palaeozoic granitoids belong to the group of the Southbulgarian granitoids determined as Carboniferous in the Sredna-gora block. In the Pirin unit, they are represented by the Spanchevo, Kroupnik and Dobrinishte plutons. Often, they are affected by a superimposed schistosity, displaced by the Mid Cretaceous thrusting, and are later intruded by Alpine granite bodies.
Fig. 3. Schematic bloc-diagramme for the pre-granitic structure of the northern parts of the Pirin unit (Zagorchev, 1994, 1995)
The Strimon thrust (Ograzhden, vs. Serbo-Macedonian
unit over Pirin-Pangaion unit) has been first described by Kockel and Walther
in 1965. It is covered with depositional contact by the sediments of the
Neogene Sandanski graben. North of the latter, the Mid-Cretaceous Alikochov
and Breznitsa thrusts are the prolongations of the Strimon thrust. They
have a NE vergency, cross-cut the granitoids of the Kroupnik pluton, and
are cross-cut by the granitoids of the Late Cretaceous Daoutov (Kresna)
pluton. An offspring of the latter (the small Breznitsa pluton) is entirely
intruded into the Ograzhdenian Supergroup of the allochthon.
At the end of Cretaceous times, the Pirin unit was characterized by extremely thickened continental crust. Increased heat flow generated through anatexis acid magmas of two generations: the Late Cretaceous and the Palaeogene (Late Eocene - Early Oligocene) ones. In the southern parts of the Pirin unit, active faulting in Palaeocene? - Middle Eocene times resulted in the formation of more than 1500 m thick coarse (breccia, calcarenites, limestone, sandstone) sedimentary rocks (Paril Formation). They are intruded by the Palaeogene Teshovo granite pluton. The Teshovo, Central-Pirin, Goleshevo and Lehovo
granite plutons (Bulgaria) and Vrondou pliton (Greece) are the deep correlates of the volcanic massifs situated within and coeval to the Priabonian - Lower Oligocene sedimentary formations along the Mesta valley.
Problems of the neotectonic structure are described in the webpage Neogene low-angle normal faults in the Sandanski graben.
Harkovska, A. 1983. Spatial and temporal relations between volcanic activity and sedimentation in the stratified Palaeogene from the central parts of the Mesta graben (SW Bulgaria). - Geologica Balcanica, 13, 2; 3-30.
Zagorcev, I. 1994. Structure and tectonic evolution of the Pirin-Pangaion Structural Zone (Rhodope Massif, southern Bulgaria and northern Greece). - Geological Journal, 29; 241-268.
Zagorchev, I. 1995. Pre-Paleogene Alpine tectonics in Southwestern Bulgaria. - Geologica Balcanica, 25, 5-6; 91-112.
Zagorchev, I. 1995. Pirin. Geological Guidebook. Academic Publishing House _Marin Drinov_, Sofia; 70 pp.
Zagorchev, I. 1998. Pre-Priabonian Palaeogene formations in Southwestern Bulgaria and Northern Greece: stratigraphy and tectonic implications. - Geological Magazine, 135, 1, 101-119.
Zagorchev, I. 1998. Rhodope controversies. - Episodes, 21, 3; 159-168.
Zagorchev, I., Moorbath, S., Lilov, P.1987. Radiogeochronological data on the Alpine magmatism in the western parts of the Rhodope massif. - Geologica Balcanica, 17, 2; 59-71 (in Russian).