The origin of a complex breccia body within the Upper Cretaceous/Early Eocene succession on Pag Island (Karst Dinarides, Croatia): karstic dissolution and collapse or dilational faulting and collapse origin?

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Dražen Kurtanjek
Damir Bucković
Darko Tibljaš
Blanka Cvetko Tešović

Abstract

A kilometre west of Pag Town on Pag Island, Croatia, within the Upper Cretaceous shallow-water carbonate succession, there is a large breccia body that has an irregular, quasi-circular shape and a subvertical-oblique position in relation to the bedding of the host rock. The breccia clasts and fragments consist almost entirely of the Upper Cretaceous host rock with only sporadic clasts of the Lower Eocene foraminiferal (alveolinid) limestones. In the brecciated body, there are three breccia types. 1) crackle breccia, 2) mosaic breccia, and 3) chaotic breccia. Based on the textural and structural characteristics of these types of breccia such as chaotic appearance and random fabric, very poorly sorted material, angular fragments, the composition reflecting only the host rock lithology, two genetic scenarios or concepts for the origin of Pag Town breccia body were considered, with observations supporting each of them. The first concept involves host rock dissolution resulting in a widened dissolution cavity into which wall and roof rocks progressively collapsed, and the second concept involves the collapse of voids produced by dilational fault displacement. A common prerequisite to both opposing scenarios is the existence of a subsurface cavity or void where the accumulation of rock clasts and fragments occurred. It is assumed that the timing of the cavity formation is related mainly to karstification during the Late Cretaceous-Early Eocene emersion phase or is related to dilational faulting during the Palaeogene Dinarides thrusting event.

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