Faryad, S. W. (2002): Branisko & Čierna Hora Mts - version 1. In: Dunkl, I., Balintoni, I., Frisch, W., Hoxha, L., Janák, M., Koroknai, B., Milovanovic, D., Pamić, J., Székely, B. and Vrabec, M. (Eds.): Metamorphic Map and Database of Carpatho-Balkan-Dinaride Area. http://www.met-map.uni-goettingen.de


Branisko & Čierna Hora Mts. (BCH)

Version 1

compiled: S. W. Faryad (2002)


Age of Protolith, Geochemistry
Lithology, Mineralogy, Metamorphic Grade
Structural Evolution


The Branisko and Čierna Hora Mts., represent the most eastern part of the Veporic unit in the Western Carpathians. They are exposed beneath the Intra-Carpathian Tertiary sequences and comprise three structural levels: Variscan basement rocks, late Palaeozoic/ Mesozoic cover formations and the Choč nappe with late Palaeozoic/ Mesozoic lithologies.

Geographic Position
The Branisko Čierna Hora Mts. are situated in the eastern part of Slovakia, northeast from the Gemericum. The basement rocks in the Čierná Hora Mts. are exposed in several windows that form a NW-SE trending belt of 40 x10 km. The Branisko Mts. represent a small tectonic window (10 x 6 km) of basement rocks with late Paleozoic cover formations that is exposed north from the Čierna Hora Mts.

Geological map of Branisko and Čierna Hora Mts.: 1:50 000 (Polak et al., 1996), 1:500,000 (Lexa et al., 2000).

The Branisko Mts. is crossed by 6 km long high way tunel. The presence of Čierna Hora basement rocks under the Gemericum was confirmed by some borehole e.g. the V-10 borehole that reached the Čierna Hora basement rocks in depth of ca 700 m (Grecula, 1977).

Boundaries and Structural Position
The Čierna Hora Mts. are separated in the south from the Gemericum by the Margecany tectonic zone. In NE, the basement rocks are covered by late Paleozoic and Mesozoic formations. The eastern Boundary of the Čierna Hora Mts. is defined by the Hornad fault. The Branisko Mts. are a N –S post - Paleogene horst limited by steeply dipping faults. Pre – Tertiary sequences – inclusively basement units of the horst structure have predominantly E –W orientation. In the SE, they have tectonic contact with the Čierna Hora Mts.

According to structural position, degree of metamorphism and lithologies, the Branisko and Čierna Hora Mts are formed from bottom to top by:

- Basement rocks

- Late Paleozoic cover sequences

- Late Paleozoic/Mesozoic Choc nappe.

Three local lithostructural complexes are distinguished within the Čierna Hora Mts.basement rocks (Jacko, 1985):

- the Lodina complex consisted of mylonitized gneisses and micaschists with intercalations of amphibolites

- the Miklušovce complex comprising strongly foliated migmatites with small amounts of aplite-granite bodies

- the Bujanová complex, represented by gneisses, migmatites, amphibolites, which are penetrated by slab-like granitoid intrusives.

Based on Variscan structure of the Central Western Carpathians (Bezak, 1994), the first complexe belongs to the Middle lithostructural level and the later two to the Upper lithostructural level.

The Branisko Mts. have been traditionally correlated to the Tatric Unit ((Rösing 1947; Andrusov 1958; Kamenický in Fusán et al. 1963; Maheľ 1986). Recent works (Vozárová & Vozár, 1986, 1988; Polák et al., 1996), however correlate them based on their lithology, degree of metamorphism and character of igneous rocks with the Veporic Unit. Following Jacko et al. (1996), the Bujanová Complex is comparable with the Branisko Mts.

Age of Protolith, Geochemistry

Basement rocks have mostly pelitic lithology with layers of basaltic rocks. Geochemically, the metabasites have tholeiitic composition. They rarely contain small bodies (up to 2 m in size) of serpentinized pyridotite. Palynological study of basement gneiss from the Branisko Mts indicated Devonian age (Čorna and Kamenický 1976). K/Ar age of 346 ± 5 Ma was obtained for granitiod rocks (Kantor, unpublished).

Lithology, Mineralogy, Metamorphic Grade

Gneisses, amphibolites, migmatites and granodiorites represent the basement rocks. Migmatites are mostly present in the Branisko Mts. and in the Bujanová complex. The gneisses consist of quartz and feldspars, biotite (XMG= 0.55-0.58), garnet and rarely sillimanite. Kyanite and cordierite (XMg = 0.68) can be found in the Branisko Mts. Garnet is rich in Fe and Mg (Alm66-75 Prp16-27 Grs2-4 Sps2-6) with weak decrease of Mg and XMg towards the rim (Vozárová 1993, Vozárová and Faryad, 1997). Anorthite contents in plagioclase range between An27-32 in Ky-Sill- bearing gneisses and An37-41 in garnet- biotite gneisses. Similar mineral assemblages can be found also in migmatites, however the neosome consists of quartz, plagioclase and K-feldspar.

The common minerals in amphibolites are magnesiohornblende, plagioclase (An40-45) and rarely garnet and quartz. The presence and amounts of epidote depends on degree of mylonitization. Garnet- pyroxene-bearing metabasites from the Branisko Mts. were described by (Meres et al., 2000, Faryad and Ivan, in preparation). They contain Ca- and Mg rich garnet (Grs20-32, Py18-20), diopside and plagioclase (An10-40). Ultramafic rocks associated with metabasites are strongly serpentinized. Garnet from metabasites in the Čierna Hora Mts has relatively low Mg content (Alm52-67, Grs23-31,Py4-7,Sps2-15).

Temperatures of 650-750 °C were obtained for the Branisko Mts. using granet-biotite (Kleemann and Reinhardt, 1994) and garnet-cordierite thermometry (Perchuk and Lavrent’eva, 1983) for gneisses (Vozarova, 1993). GASP barometry yield pressure of 6.3-8.7 kbar. Higher pressure of 10 kbar was obtained for garnet-bearing amphibolite (Faryad, 1996). P-T conditions of 750 °C and 13-14 kbar were estimated using various exchange thermometries and equilibrium reactions for garnet-pyroxene-bearing metabasites (Faryad et al., 2001).

Garnet-amphibole thermometry (Graham and Powell, 1984) used for the Čierna Hora yielded average temperature of 572 °C for the Lodina and 618 °C for the Bujanová Complexes (Korikovsky et al., 1989; Jacko et al., 1990, Faryad and Jacko 2001). Pressures calculated by garnet-amphibole-plagioclase-quartz barometry (Kohn and Spear, 1990) range from 7.1 to 10.6 (average 9.7 kbar at 600 °C). Temperature 608-674 oC at 10.4-13.4 kbar yielded equilibrium reactions calculated using TWEEQ program (Berman, 1996).

Alpine Metamorphism

Alpine metamorphic overprint in the Čierna Hora basement unit is considered by metamorphic mineral assemblages in the Permian/Mesozoic sequences. Temperature of 250 oC for sedimentary sequences of the Choč nappe was calculated by illite crystallinity in pelitic rocks (Korikovskij et al., 1992). Frayad and Jacko (in press) reported the presence pumpellyite with prehnite, epidote, chlorite and albite in metagabbro of the Choč nappe. P-T conditions estimated using Thermo-Calc (Holland and Powell, 1996) for this assemblage are 230-280 °C and 3 kbar. Alpine metamorphism was not investigated in the Branisko Mts. Based on mineral assemblages in granite (replacement of plagioclase and biotite to white mica, epidote and chlorite), it was lower then that in the Čierna Hora Mts.



rock type



Range (n)


Ar-Ar white mica




334,5± 3 mil r.


K-Ar biotite






1- Maluski et al., 1993; 2-Kantor et al (1984)

Structural Evolution

The Branisko Mts. strike generally E-W, reflecting a progressive trend of Alpine compression and a dissection into segments by NW-SE and NNE-SSW faults (Jacko, 1985). The older Variscan deformation represented by isoclinal folds occurred in amphibolite facies conditions.

Expressive NW – SE folding with antiform cores of basement complexes, characterize the Čierna Hora Mts. Variscan structures occurred similar to that in Branisko Mts. in amphibolite facies conditions and resulted in folding (fold axis ESE-WNW and 15-40° to ESE) and schistosity of E-W direction, dipping 40-75° to south (Jacko et al., 1995). The Cretaceous nappe tectonic resulted in imbrication and formation of NW-SE striking and SW dipping shear zones (Jacko, 1979). The most important Margecany shear zone of this direction separates the Čierna Hora Mts. from the Gemericum unit. Both the Branisko and the Čierna Hora Mts. are crossed by post – Paleogene NE-SW and N –S faults.


The Branisko and Čierna Hora Mts. comprise three structural levels: the Variscan basement rocks, the late Palaeozoic/ Mesozoic cover formations and the late Palaeozoic/Mesozoic outliers of the Choč nappe. Basemant rocks of the Branisko Mts generally indicate amphibolite facies assemblages, however relics of high-pressure amphibolite facies conditions (700 °C and 10-13 kbar) are also present. Based on their lithology, the basement rocks and its Permian cover sequences comparable with northern part of the Veporic Unit. The basement rocks are paragneisses amphibolite, migmatite and granitoids and indicate very low-grade Alpine overprint.

The Čierna Hora Mts. is considered as the most eastern morphostructural elevation of the Veporic unit. They are characterized by an expressive NW – SE fold structure with antiforms of basement rocks. Basement rocks consist of paragneisses with layers and lenses of amphibolites, migmatites and granitoids. Peak P-T conditions for Variscan metamorphism estimated are 610 ± 20 oC at 9 ± 1 kbar. Alpine metamorphic overprint occurred in very low-grade conditions. Metamorphic minerals in the metadiorite of the late Palaeozoic/Mesozoic Choc nappe are pumpellyite, epidote, chlorite and albite, which indicate P–T conditions of 280 25 oC and 3 kbar.


Andrusov, D. 1958. Geológia Československých Kapát I, II. SAV Bratislava, 304 p.

Berman RG (1996) TWEEQU (version 202), Thermobarometry with estimation of equilibration state http://www.gis.nrcan.gc.ca/twq.html

Bezák V., 1994: Proposal of the new dividing of the West Carpathian crystalline based on the Hercynian tectonic building reconstruction. Miner. Slovaca, 26, 1-6

Faryad, S.W. (1996): Petrology of amphibolites and gneisses from the Branisko crystalline complex. Mineralia slovaca, 28, 265-272.

Faryad and Jacko: Revised metamorphic conditions from the Čierna hora Mts. Veporic unit, Western Carpathians (Slovakia). Slovak Geol. Magazin (in press)

Faryad and Ivan, High-pressure garnet amphibolites in the Western Carpathian basement from Branisko and Nizke Tatry, Slovakia (in preparation)

Faryad, S.W., Hoinkes, G. and Ivan P. 2001. Relics of early Variscan high-pressure metamorphism in the Eastern Alp and Western Carpathians. Western Carpathians and European Hercynides (June 2-4, Osrblie, Slovakia), Konferencie-Sympozia-Seminare, Slovak Geological Survey, 12-13.

Fusán, O. 1963. Vysvetlivky k prehľandej geologickej mape ČSSR 1:200.000 (ed. Fusán) . MS GÚDŠ, 215 p.

Graham CM, Powell R (1984) A garnet-hornblende geothermometer, calibration, testing and application to the Pelona Schist, Southern California, J Met Geol 2: 13-31

Grecula, P. 1977. Geológia, tektonika a metalogenéza východnej časti SGR. ZS-SGR-Východ a Dopľnok, č. 1, MS GP 390 p

Holland TJB (1996) HB-PLAG: A program to calculate temperatures from hornblende and plagioclase compositions. http://www.esc.cam.ac.uk/astaff/holland/hbplag.html

Jacko,S., 1979 : Geologický profil pásmom Čiernej hory.In Geol. profily Západných Karpát M.Maheľ (Ed.). Geol. Ústav D.Štúra, Bratislava, 185-193.

Jacko,S., 1985: Litostratigrafické jednotky kryštalinika Čiernej hory. Geol. Práce, Správy 82, Geol. Ústav D.Štúra, Bratislava, 127-133.

Jacko,S.,1998. Tectonometamorphic evolution of the Branisko and Čierna hora Mts., Slovok Geol.,Mag., Bratislava, 137 – 142.

Jacko,S., Korikovskij,S.P., Boronichin,V.A., 1990: Rovnovážne asociácie rúl a amfibolitov komplexu Bujanovej /Čierna Hora 3, Mineralia slov., 22/ Bratislava, 231 – 239.

Jacko, S., Sasvári, T., Zacharov, M., Schmidt, R. & Vozár, J., 1996: Contrasting styles of Alpine deformations at the Eastern part of the Veporicum and Gemericum units. Western Carpathians. Slov. Geol. Mag., 2, 96, 151-164.

Jacko, S., Sasvári, T., Zacharov, M. and Putiš, M. 1995. Variscan pre-granitoid fold paragenesis of the Western Carpathians. Kristallinikum (Prague), 22, 55-71.

Kantor, J. Repčok, I, Ďurkovičová, J, Eliáš, K. and Weigerová, V, 1984. Time evolution od selected area from Western Carpathians, based on radiometric datting. (unpulished data, manuscript, Archiv Geol. Survey, Bratslava)

Kleemann, J. & Reinhardt, J., 1994: Garnet-biotite thermometry revisited: The effect of Al(VI) and Ti in biotite. European Journal of Mineralogy 6, 925-941.

Kohn M J, Spear F S (1990) Two new geobarometers for garnet amphibolites, with applications to southeastern Vermont. Am Mineral 75: 89-96.

Korikovskij,S.P., Jacko,S. & Boronichin,V.A., 1989: Alpine anchimetamorphism of Upper Carboniferous sandstones from the sedimentary mantle of the Čierna Hora Mts. Crystalline Complex /Western Carpathians/. Geol. Zbor. Geol.carpath. 40, 5, Bratislava, 579-598

Korikovskij,S.P., Jacko,S. & Boronichin,V.A., 1990: Faciálne podmienky varískej prográdnej metamorfózy v lodinskom komplexe kryštalinika Čiernej hory. Mineralia slov., 22, 3, Bratislava, 225-230.

Korikovskij,S.P., Jacko,S., Boronichin,A.A. & Šucha,V., 1992: Ilitte-paragonite layer intergrowths from the Gemericum nappe in the SE part of the Čierna Hora Mts. Veporicum /Western Carpathians/ Geol. Journ., Geol.carpath., 43,1, Bratislava, 49-55.

Lexa, J., Bzák, V., Elečko, M., Mello, J., Polák, M., Potfaj, M. and Vozár, J., 2000. Geological map of the Western Carpathians and adjacent areas: Scale 1:500 000. Geol. Survey of Slovak Republic, Bratislava.

Maheľ, M., 1986: Geological structure of the Czechoslovak Carpathians. Paleoalpine units.

Veda, Bratislava, 496 pp.

Maluski H, Rajlich P, Matte Ph (1993) 40Ar/39Ar dating of the Inner Carpathian Variscan Basement and Alpine mylonitic overprinting. Tectonophysics 223:313-337

Méres, Š., Ivan, P. and Hovorka, D. 2000. Garnet-pyroxene metabasite and antigorite serpentinites- evidence of leptino-amphibolite complex in the Branisko Mts. (Tatric unit, central estern Carpathians). Mineralia Slovaca, 32, 479-486.

Perchuk LL, Lavrent’eva IV (1983) Experimental investigation of exchange equilibria in the system cordierite-garnet-biotite. In: Saxena, S.K.(ed.): Kinetics and equilibrium mineral reactions. Adv Phys Geochem 3: 199-239.

Polák,M., Jacko,S., Vozárová,A., Vozár,J., Gross,P., Harčár,J., Sasvári,T., Zacharov,M., Baláž,B., Liščák,P., Malík,P., Zakovič,M., Karoli,S. & Kaličiak,M., 1997: Vysvetlivky ku geologickej mape Braniska a Čiernej hory, 1:50 000. Vydavateľstvo D.Štúra, Bratislava, 1-201.

Rösing, F., 1947: Die geologische Verhältnisse des Branisko-Gebirges und Čierna hora (Karpaten). Zeitschrift Deutch. Geol. Gesselsch., 99, 8-39.

Vozárová, A., 1993: Pressure-temperature conditions of metamorphism in the northern part of the Branisko crystalline complex. Geol. Carpath., 44, 219-232.

Vozárova, A. and Faryad, S.W. (1997): Petrology of Branisko crystalline rock complex. Monografia. In: Geological evolution of the Western Carpathians. P.Grecula, D.Hovorka and M.Putiš (eds.). Mineralia Slovaca-Monograph, Bratislava, 343-350.

Vozárová & Vozár, 1986. Correlation of tectonic units in the Branisko Mts. based on the knowledge of crystalline complex and upper Paleozoic rocks. Unpublished report of Geol. Inst. F. Štúr, Bratislava 26 p.

Vozárová A, Vozár J (1988) Late Paleozoic in the Western Carpathians. Dionýz Štúr Goel Inst. Bratislavá, 234 p.



Descriptions of the neighbouring Units:

Gemericum (GEM)


Show the "Pin-board" of this Unit.

Send letter to the Responsible Compiler with suggestions.

Submit "Pin-board Article" about this Unit

Download this Description in Rich Text Format (34 kb)

Met-Map Home