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Free University Berlin, Paleontological Institute, Malteserstr. 74-100, D-12249 Berlin, Germany;


Division of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, Zvonimirova 8, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia


INA-Industrija Nafte, Naftaplin, Geological Exploration & Development Division, Laboratory Research Dept. Lovinciceva 1,

HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia

(Manuscript received October 22, 1998; accepted in revised form September 28, 1999)


A model for the stratigraphic architecture of the Eocene strata of the Podhale Basin has been developed

(Poland, Western Carpathians). Generally, the sedimentation of the basin was controlled by eustatic sea-level changes,
and fore-arc spreading in a convergent regime related to the infratatric subduction. During the studied stratigraphic
interval the former factor dominated the tectonics. Sedimentation took place during three distinct intervals (composite
sequences), which are correlated with the Upper Lutetian/Lower Bartonian, the Middle/Upper Bartonian and the
Lower/Upper Priabonian stages. The first two were studied in detail, the third was evaluated on the basis of published
data. In the first composite sequence a TST was developed, in the second composite sequence we could distinguish
LST, TST, HST and SMST’s. Surprisingly, a mass-occurrence of heterosteginids occurred during temperate condi-
tions and higher trophic levels in the SMST. In contrast, a lower trophic level and warmer conditions are indicated in
the third composite sequence by Nummulites fabianii. Our sequence-stratigraphic data correlate well with the corre-
sponding implications from a recently published composite oxygen isotope record for the Cenozoic.

Key words: 

Eocene, Central Western Carpathians, Podhale Basin, fore-arc basin, sequence stratigraphy, glacioeustatic

sea-level changes, mid-latitude carbonates, larger foraminifers.


The Podhale Basin is located in the Inner Western Car-
pathians, between the Tatra Mts. in the South and the Pieniny
Klippen Belt zone in the North (South Poland).

The investigated outcrops are located at the southern bor-

der of the Podhale Basin. They are situated between the val-
leys of Dolina Sucha to the East and Dolina Mała Łąka to the
West, south of Zakopane (Fig. 1). From these outcrops 30
sections were studied, using micro- and biofacies analysis as
well as geochemical data analysis. Their thickness ranges be-
tween 5 and 30 m. Four sections out of thirty have been se-
lected for detailed analysis: the Dolina Sucha Kamienołom,
Dolina Sucha, Pod Capkami (a composite section, arranged
from four partial-sections near the closed down quarry Pod
Capkami) and the Dolina Mała Łąka section.

Previous studies of the Eocene sediments (Bartholdy 1990,

1993; Bartholdy & Bellas 1997, 1998a,b,c; Bartholdy et al.
1995, 1998, 1999) and the evaluation of new literature on mi-
cropaleontological investigations on hydrogeological wells
and outcrops of the Podhale Basin given by Olszewska &
Wieczorek (1998) encouraged our working group to develop
an integrated model for the development of the Podhale Ba-
sin during the Upper Lutetian–Upper Priabonian interval, in
terms of lithology, bio- and sequence-stratigraphy and paleo-

Material and methods

For the sedimentological laboratory work and paleonto-

logical investigations, samples of unweathered, representa-
tive rocks were taken. The distance between the samples
was < 0.1 m in average. Microfacies analysis and determi-
nation of larger foraminifers (LF) was based on oriented
thin-sections, 50–70 


m in thickness. Because of the hard-

ness of the limestones, isolated specimens of LF were not
available. Only randomly obtained axial and equatorial sec-
tions from LF specimens were studied. It permits to deter-
mine the orthophragminids only on morphogroup-level,
comp. Ćosović & Drobne (1998). In the genus Nummulites
only the most significant species were determined. Num-
mulititids were identified using the taxonomic criteria indi-
cated in Schaub (1981). Isolated planktonic foraminifers
were defined following Toumarkine & Luterbacher (1985).
For the calcareous nannoplankton determination and zona-
tion the works by Perch-Nielsen (1985) and Martini &
Müller (1986) were considered.

Geological setting

The collision of the Apulian and the North European plat-

form (West-European microplate), the subduction of the Out-

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436                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

er Carpathian crust under the Central Western Carpathians
(North-Pannonian unit) as well as escape of the Central
West-Carpathian segments are regarded as the driving mech-
anisms which controlled the structural development of this
area (comp. Csontos et al. 1992; Soták 1992). The stress-
field consisted of two main compressional systems: a NNW-
SSE stress-field, perpendicular to the main strikes of the
structural belts (Equatorial rift system of the Tethys) and a
NE-SW stress-field, parallel to the main strikes of the struc-
tural belts (Atlantic–Red Sea–East Carpathian-rift system)
(Kozák et al. 1998).

The studied Podhale Basin is regarded as a fore-arc basin,

located at the north-eastern border of the North-Pannonian
unit (Tari et al. 1993). Occurrence of calcalkaline volcanism
around the Balaton-lineament indicates the paleogeographic
situation of a volcanic arc. Backstripping reconstructions for
the Late Eocene time of the Outer Carpathian flysch nappes
suggest that the entire Central-Carpathian area must have
been paleogeographically located several hundreds of kilo-
metres to the southwest of its present position (Csontos et al.
1992). Opening and subsidence rates within this basin were
mainly controlled by collapsed structures due to the effects
of subcrustal tectonic erosion at the base of the Tatric units
(Baráth et al. 1997; Soták & Bebej 1996; Wagreich 1993;
Wagreich & Marschalko 1995). During the Paleogene, the
main structural pattern which controlled the basin was char-

acterized by NW-SE compression and NE-SW trending ex-
tension (Kováč et al. 1994). The Middle Eocene transgres-
sion was generally directed eastward, using marine connec-
tions of the Central Western Carpathians and Buda
Paleogene basins. Deposition began in the Late Lutetian and
ceased in the Late Oligocene up to the Lowermost Miocene
(comp. Bartholdy 1997; Olszewska & Wieczorek 1998;
Soták 1996). Following Olszewska & Wieczorek (1998), the
sedimentation within the basin is generally subdivided into
two depositional systems 1) a shelf to slope system, which
consists of calcareous and siliciclastic sediments of Middle
to Late Eocene age, and 2) a turbiditic sequence (mainly Oli-
gocene), with a distinct coarsening upward trend Zakopane
and Chochołow Formation (incl. Ostrysz Beds in its upper
part). In the present study we distinguish within the Paleo-
gene depositional system three sedimentary cycles in terms
of composite sequences sensu Kerans & Tinker (1997) (Bar-
tholdy 1997; Bartholdy & Bellas 1998a,b,c; Bartholdy et al.
1995, 1999).

Short description and interpretation of selected

profiles: Implications for the sequence stratigraphy

Detailed analysis was undertaken on the selected four sec-

tions of the 30 outcrops, recorded between the valleys of Do-

Fig. 1. 

Geographical and geological location of the Podhale Basin and the studied sections, south of Zakopane.

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Fig. 2. 

Composite Pod Capkami section.

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438                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

lina Sucha and Dolina Mała Łąka. The different composition
in terms of lithology and fossil-content justified their selec-
tion. The sections are defined as follow:

1) Composite Pod Capkami Section (PC) (Figs. 2, 9):

It integrates data from four outcrops. A general subdivi-

sion into four units is possible: The base (1


 unit) consists of

coarse-grained, marine conglomerate, with clasts up to 1m in
diameter and marks the transgressive surface (TS) and a type
1 sequence boundary (SB1). These sediments transgressively
overlie Triassic dolomites of the Subtatric nappes (thickness
0.5 to 2 m). Above the conglomerates a transgressive unit


 unit) follows: it consists of a thick rudstones succession

(ca. 18 to 20 m), intercalated in basinal areas with fine-
grained conglomerates. These deepening-upward accumula-
tions contain an association of larger foraminifers showing
distinct changes in their shape, structure and morphology
(flattening of tests and thinning of wall-lamellas). The suc-
cession starts with sediments, rich in Nummulites brongniar-

 [this species is indicative for shoreface, above the low-tide

(Bartholdy et al. 1995; Kulka 1985)], then sediments occur
where  Nummulites puschi [protected longshore through,
(Bartholdy et al. 1995; Kulka 1985)] and Nummulites perfo-

 [associated in the typical bank facies (Arni 1965; Bar-

tholdy et al. 1995; Kulka 1985)] are predominant. The upper-
most part is characterized by Nummulites dufrenoyi,
Discocyclina pratti

 and Discocyclina sella. This transgres-

sive sequence is bounded on the top by the 3


 unit of the sec-

tion, a glauconitic wackestone (0.3 m), which is regarded as
a condensed horizon (maximum flooding surface). It con-
tains glauconite of the same maturity-stage, which is indica-
tive for autochthonous conditions (comp. Amorosi 1995,
1997). Above units 1–3 is a succession of globigerinids bear-
ing marls and allodapic limestones ca. 6 m thick (4



Erosional surfaces, well oriented bio- and lithoclasts and an
assemblage of fossils from different depth-zones (echino-
derms, red algae, heterosteginids, nummulites, agglutinated
and planktonic foraminifers) as well as thin intercalations of
marls which are dominated by planktonic foraminifers sup-
port our interpretation, that these are bioclastic turbidites.
The contact between this fourth unit and units 1–3 is not ex-
posed. Its thickness is calculated from outcrop data as being
approximately 5 m. It may well be that it includes sediments
deposited in the time of a falling sea-level (another SB2 un-

2) and 3) Dolina Sucha Kamienołom (DSK) and Dolina

Sucha Sections (DS) (Figs. 3, 9):

The section in the DSK Section starts with a thick (5 m) con-

glomeratic bed (1


unit). Overlain by a 3 m measuring package



 unit), consisting of graded rudstones, dolomitic and calcare-

ous sandstones and fine-grained conglomerates. The 3



(0.5 m in thickness) is characterized by leaves and wood re-
mains (comp. Głazek & Zastawniak 1998) and a sharp intra-
stratal change of bioturbation. These markers are considered to
be indications of change between anoxic and oxic conditions
with corresponding lower and higher nutrient content.

Geochemical analysis of the total organic carbon (TOC) and to-
tal sulphur (TS) content in the sediments supports these investi-
gations (comp. Bartholdy et al. 1998; Leventhal 1983). The sed-
iments were deposited during a relative low stand in terms of the
sea-level. The uppermost 5 m of the DSK section (4


 unit), rep-

resents a transgressive system, consisting of pack- and rud-
stones with a high percentage of red algae at the top.

The DS Section is a continuation of the DSK section. It be-

gins with 0.9 m of red algae rudstones from the premen-
tioned transgressive system (1


 unit). These are overlain by 3

m of packstones with bioclasts of LF, Nummulites and Ortho-
phragminae, and a high percentage of planktonic foramini-
fers (2


 unit). Such sediments may represent a relatively

high stand in sea-level. The last 4 m of the section (3



consist of a Heterostegina-echinoderms rudstone, which ex-
hibits a shallowing-upward tendency, and a relatively slow
fall in sea-level (Shelf Margins Systems Tract).

4) Dolina Mała Łąka Section (DML) (Figs. 4, 9):

This section can be subdivided into four major parts: The



 unit of the section (4 m) consists of fine-grained conglom-

erates and wackestones with glauconite (less than 5 %) of
variable maturity (parautochthonous/allochthonous glauc-
onit; comp. Amorosi 1995, 1997) and smaller benthonic for-
aminifers (sediments of a relatively lowstand in sea-level).
The 2


 unit represents the flooding of the shelf area. This

flooding caused a “turn on” of the carbonate factory. The
sediment consists of parallel bedded red algae packstones
and bindstones (3.5 m). A rapid transgression is regarded as
a “shut down” the carbonate factory, resulting in a “drowning
unconformity”; the top of the 2


 unit is bounded by a hard-

ground (0.1 m), which is regarded as the mfs. The hard-
ground at the base of this unit and its fine-grained composi-
tion and the reduced thickness point to a starvation in the
sedimentation. The 3


 unit is represented by a 0.9 m rud-

stone, rich in planktonic foraminifers and red algae which
developed during times of a relative highstand in sea-level.
In contrast, bioclastic limestones with intercalated coarse
bioclastic layers are indicative for the 4


 unit of the section

(ca. 8 m). It is represented by red algae rich rudstones, with
Orthophragminae, Nummulites (smaller species), planktonic
foraminifers and intercalations of thin, centimetric bedded
sandstones. This succession was developed during a relative-
ly slow fall in sea-level. At the base we observed a 0.5 m
thick bed of dolomitic sandstones (redeposited rocks, not in-
situ dolomitization). It is regarded as a characteristic marker
for the SB2 sequence boundary in a marine shelf position.

Sequence stratigraphy and depositional-systems


Geotectonic setting and sequence stratigraphy

The Podhale Basin is a fore-arc basin in type. Usually, in

fore-arc basins, the regional tectonism is the main factor in
controlling the stratigraphic architecture. In most cases it is
evident that folding, faulting, tilting and tectonic subsidence

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Fig. 3. 

Dolina Sucha Kamienołom and Dolina Sucha section.

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440                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

Fig. 4. 

Dolina Mała Łąka Section.

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and/or uplift are the major sedimentary controls. Correlations
with the Global Cycle Chart seem forced and unconvincing.
Moreover, biostratigraphic evidence for the correlations is
extremely limited (Miall 1997). The stage of knowledge of
the basinal architecture and its relationship to relevant sub-
duction parameters in fore-arc basins is limited. The conver-
gence rate at the trench, the dip of the subducted slab and the
velocity of the arc massif to the rollback of the subducted
slab are considered to be the mainly factors in the basin de-
velopment (Busby & Ingersoll 1995).

The north-eastward escape movement of the Pannonian

units during the Paleogene was accompanied by trench-fault
deformation of the Central Carpathians and the closure of the
Outer Carpathians with subsequent shortening (Csontos et al.
1992). The controlling mechanism of deformation in the Out-
er Carpathians and extension in the Inner Carpathians with
the subsequent opening of sedimentary basins (e.g. Podhale
Basin) is considered to be characterized by a slower rate of
motion of the arc massif relative to the rollback of the sub-
duction slab, possibly combined with the growth of the sedi-
ment load of the fore-arc basin and collapsed structures due
to effects of the infratatric subduction (comp. Baráth et al.
1997; Miall 1997; Soták & Bebej 1996; Wagreich 1993).
During the deposition of the studied sediments no major tec-
tonic events occurred. The Prepyrennean phase of folding
took place between the base of the calcareous nannofossil
NP 13 Zone and the middle part of the NP 14 (Early/Middle
Eocene boundary) Zone sensu Martini & Müller (1986). The
next folding phase, namely the Ilyrian, began gradually from
west to east at the lowermost part of the calcareous nanno-
fossil NP 18 Zone (Middle/Late Eocene boundary) following
Köhler & Salaj (1997). Therefore, it is evident that sea-level
fluctuations played the dominant role in the depositional fa-
cies architecture of the Podhale Basin, over the regional tec-
tonic control, at least for the studied Upper Lutetian to Upper
Priabonian time-span (Bartholdy & Bellas 1997).

Sedimentation in this interval of time took place during three

distinct cycles (composite sequences), which are correlated with
the Upper Lutetian/Lower Bartonian, the Middle/Upper Barto-
nian and the Early Priabonian stages respectively (Figs. 5, 9).
The first two composite sequences were studied in detail and
their ages determined by larger- and planktonic foraminifers and
calcareous nannofossils integrated biostratigraphy, while, the
third one was evaluated on the base of synthesizing previous lit-
erature and our unpublished data (Bieda 1963; Roniewicz 1969;
Kulka 1985; Olszewska & Wieczorek 1998).

During the first composite sequence (cs 1), initially a Trans-

gressive Systems Tract (TST) was developed. It is well repre-
sented in the first part of the studied PC composite section
(Fig. 9). This TST was characterized by the “turn on” of the
carbonate factory (Bartholdy 1997; Bartholdy & Bellas
1998a,b) and a typical deepening-upward association of the
LF-communities (comp. Drobne & Ćosović 1998; Hallock
1979, 1985; Hallock et al. 1991; Hohenegger 1995, 1996; Hot-
tinger 1983, 1984, 1996, 1997; Kecskeméti 1989; Loucks et
al. 1998a,b; Pignatti 1991, 1998). The record is bounded on
the top by a condensed section consisting of glauconitic Marls
which represent the mfs (top of the first part of the PC section,
Fig. 9) (Bartholdy 1997; Bartholdy & Bellas 1998a,b,c).

At the base of the second composite sequence (cs 2) a Low-

stand Systems Tract (LST) was recognized. It shows a succes-
sion of fine-grained conglomerates, sandstones, calcareous in-
tercalations and glauconitic wackestones (lower part of the
DSK/DML section, Fig. 9). The TST developed on the top of
it is characterized by another “turn on” of the carbonate facto-
ry (like the first depositional cycle), which was caused by
flooding of the shallow shelf areas. It is represented by pack-
and rudstones, rich in red algae (upper part of the DSK and
lower part of the DS section, Fig. 9). A hardground (“drown-
ing unconformity”) in the DML section (comp. with the re-
marks, given in the description of the DML section) marks
both, the mfs and the boundary to the Highstand Systems Tract
(HST). The HST sediments consist of relatively thin layers of
packstones rich in planktonic foraminifers (lower part of the
DS and middle part of the DML section, Fig. 9). During the
time of a relatively slow fall of the sea-level and when the sea-
level does not drop below the edge of the shelf, SB2 type un-
conformities are developed. Times of maximum rate of the
sea-level fall are represented by sequence boundaries (Miall
1997). Such markers of the SB2 boundary were recorded
along the studied sections. They are represented by intercala-
tions of dolomitic sandstones or a distinct shift by the clastical
influx within the basin derived from the land-area (middle part
of the DS and DML section, Fig. 9). Moreover, during time in-
tervals of relatively slow fall in sea-level Shelf Margin Sys-
tems Tracts (SMST) were developed as well (comp. also Miall
1997). Mass-occurrence of heterosteginids and echinoderms
were recorded in these SMST’s (upper part of the DS, DML
and PC section, Fig. 9).

Considering the younger calcareous sediments, field and

published data point to the existence of a third composite se-
quence. A transgressive and a highstand phase could be rec-
ognized. The TS should be correlable with the occurrence of
Nummulites fabianii

 during the “turn on” of the carbonate

factory, while the marls with globigerinids could very well
represent the HST (Fig. 5).

With the Ilyrian phase the third sedimentation cycle ends.

After a stratigraphic gap the deposition of the Szaflary-For-
mation (Priabonian to Early Rupelian and the Zakopane-
(Rupelian to Early Chattian) and Chochołow-Formations
(Chattian) followed in the Podhale Basin (comp. Bartholdy
et al. 1995; Olszewska & Wieczorek 1998). Köhler & Salaj
(1997) noted that the beginning of the Ilyrian phase did not
take place in an equal time-interval, but it gets younger east-
wards NP 18–NP 21 calcareous nannofossil zones sensu
Martini 1971 (planktonic foraminiferal zones P 15–P 17).
This diachronism fits well in the stratigraphic data given for
the Globigerina Marls from the Priabonian by Olszewska &
Wieczorek (1998) (P 15–P 16 zones) (Figs. 5, 9). Soták
(1998) described a turbididite fan system on the Central Car-
pathian Paleogene with fault controlled lowstand deposition
of the Šambron Beds (Eastern Slovakia) in the Upper Eocene
(39–36 Ma) as an equivalent for the Szaflary Formation. Be-
cause of the data given above we exclude major tectonic
events as the controlling factors for the basin depositional ar-
chitecture. Eustatic sea-level changes are evidently recorded.
On the basis of a newly constructed composite oxygen iso-
tope record, changes in the volume of the polar ice-sheets

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442                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

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Fig. 5. 

Legend for outcrop descriptions and correlation of the plank-

ton zones sensu Berggren et al. (1995) and Martini & Müller (1986),
larger foraminifers shallow benthic zones sensu Serra-Kiel et al.
(1998), lithostratigraphic units and main stages of Podhale Paleo-
gene sedimentation sensu Olszewska & Wieczorek (1998) and the
three composite sequences of the Podhale Paleogene, presented in
the present work.

due to growth and/or melting were in response to the rise and
fall of sea level. A correlation between eustatic curves de-
rived from sequence stratigraphic studies indicates that gla-
cial eustasy has been the main factor in the regulation of the
global eustatic changes in the sea-level since the Middle
Eocene (Abreu & Anderson 1998). Correlations among data
for sequence boundaries of Hardenbol et al. (in press), data
of the above oxygen-isotope record, and those concerning
development of the Podhale Basin during the Lutetian to Pri-
abonian are possible, and underline the dominance of eustat-
ic sea-level changes over regional-tectonic events in the
studied area. Specifically in the time interval Upper Lutetian
to Lower Priabonian, the sequence stratigraphic cycles of
Hardenbol et al. (in press) are generally correlated with the
recorded three depositional cycles in the Podhale Basin (Fig.
8). Moreover, the glacioeustatic events EBi1 and EPi1 of
Abreu & Anderson (1998) are also correlable with the pro-
posed regressional phases in the studied area.


The foraminiferal assemblages and calcareous nannofossils

identified in the studied sediments enable dating from the Up-
per Lutetian to the Priabonian. In this paper we correlate stag-
es and nannoplankton zonations (NP sensu Martini & Müller
1986) with shallow benthic zonation (SBZ sensu Serra-Kiel et
al. 1998) (Fig. 5).

The cs 1, containing the rich LF fauna in the investigated

sections, belongs to the SBZ 17 shallow benthic zone. From
the top of this section we were able to isolate calcareous nan-
nofossils, whose age estimations range from the Middle to Up-
per part of the NP 16 Zone (cna1, Fig. 9).

From the base of the cs 2 (marls in the PC Profile) another

association of calcareous nannofossils could be identified,
which was biostratigraphically placed between the Lower and
Middle part of NP 17 Zone (cna2, Fig. 9). Isolated planktonic
foraminifers indicate the P 12 Zone sensu Berggren et al.
(1995). The following sediments of the SMST of the cs 2 belong
to the SBZ 18 zone. From a marly layer from the PC composite
section within the allodapic limestones an association of calcar-
eous nannofossils was also isolated (cna3, Fig. 9), which indi-
cate the Middle to Upper part of the NP 17 Zone.

The LF association from the cs 3 with N. fabianii indicate

the SBZ 19 Zone. This shallow benthic zone is partly correl-
able to the NP 18 and the NP 19/20 zones. Olszewska & Wiec-
zorek (1998) described under the term “Globigerina Marls”
marly sediments from the supposed sea-level highstand
(“hemipelagic stage”) intercalated in or overlying their “Num-
mulitic strata”, and they placed them into the P 15 to P 16
planktonic foraminiferal zones sensu Berggren et al. (1995).

Correlation of shallow benthic zones (SBZ) sensu Serra-

Kiel et al. (1998), biostratigraphic data, given from Berggren
et al. (1995) and our previous data suggest uncertainities be-
tween correlations of the Carpathian realm and the Tethys
realm, situated western of the studied area.

Paleogeography and Paleoenvironment

As previously noted, the collision of Apulia and Europa in-

duced an escape movement of the Central Western Car-
pathians to the North-Eastward direction. Therefore a paleo-
geographical location several hundred kilometers to the
south-west in relation to its present position is discussed for
the studied area of the Inner Carpathians. The Pieniny Klippen
Belt is considered to be the northern border of the studied area.
Palinspastic reconstructions there resulted in transport rates of
some 200–250 km from the Early Miocene and 400 km from
the Oligocene (Oszczypko & Slaczka 1985; Csontos et al.

In the cs 1, the rich and diverse fauna of large Nummulites

and orthophragminids is a reference to an optimum in climate
and a low nutrient level (Hottinger 1996). It is correlable with
our bio- and sequence-stratigraphical data and data published
by Oberhänsli (1996) for an optimum in climate in the Lower
Bartonian (SBZ 17). In the cs 2, by contrast to the warm opti-
mum, a relative cooling event in the upper Bartonian is report-
ed by the previous author, and was also recorded in the studied
sections: It can be correlated with rich LF accumulations of

, rare small globular Nummulites and Ortho-

phragminae (representatives of D. augustae and Orbitoclypeus

 morphogroup). The occurrence of red algae, bryozo-

ans and echinoderms inform us about the trophic level (me-
sotrophication to eutrophication), at least at local level (Bar-
tholdy & Bellas 1997). Furthermore, the occurrence of the
former organisms and the lack of corals, green algae and com-
ponents like grapestones and ooids indicate temperate condi-
tions as well (comp. Betzler et al. 1997; Braga et al1996;
Hollaus & Hottinger 1997). Considering the recently pub-
lished oxygen-isotope curve in the upper SBZ 17 Zone, our
data correlate well with the EBi1 shift to cooler temperatures
(comp. Abreu & Anderson 1998).

For the first composite sequence (cs 1, Upper Lutetian to

Lower Bartonian) our model (Fig. 6) suggests long term, more
or less stable environmental conditions. It is characterized by
gradual development of the successions (background dominat-
ed: dominated by long-term stable processes and environmen-
tal changes). Five parts may be distinguished there: 1) a shore
face area with clastic sediments, 2) back bank facies in a long-
shore trough with a characteristic association of Larger Fora-
minifera (LF), 3) longshore bar, which under these stable envi-
ronmental conditions is constructed by a monospecific
Nummulitic association (bank facies), 4) shallow to deep ner-
itic succession of distinct LF communities with a depth depen-
dence in morphoshape (fore bank facies) and 5) deep water de-
posits of the slope to bathyal with glauconite, calcareous
nannofossils (cna1) and globigerinids in it.

A small scale, rapid change in microfacies types marks

the second composite sequence of our model (cs 2, Middle/
Upper Bartonian) (Fig. 7). The following subdivisions have


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444                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

been distinguished: 1) a back- and foreshore setting with
clastic sedimentation, 2) longshore trough setting with part-
ly restricted, oligotrophic conditions, land-plant remains, in
deeper parts a mass-occurrence of crustose red algae, 3) a
longshore bar, consisting of bioclastic material, 4) a shal-
low neritic area with a biogenetic stabilized bottom and

 sp. and 5) deep neritic to bathyal parts of the

basin with calcareous turbidites and the globigerinid bear-
ing marls with calcareous nannofossil associations (cna2 &
cna3). Unstable environmental conditions are supposed for
this second cycle by the model (event dominated: dominat-
ed by short-term processes and environmental changes),
with a distinct decrease in the diversity of the recognized
LF communities.

Fig. 6. 

Two dimensional model of the southern Podhale Basin (Middle Lutetian/Lower Bartonian), showing general depositional systems,

distribution of selected fossils and lithology. Data were integrated from Arni (1965), Bartholdy et al. (1995), Bartholdy & Bellas (1998c),
Hohenegger (1994, 1995), Hottinger (1983, 1988, 1996), Kulka (1985) and Loucks et al. (1998a,b).

Fig. 7. 

Two dimensional model of the southern Podhale Basin (Middle/Upper Bartonian) showing general depositional systems, distribu-

tion of selected fossils and lithology. Data were integrated from Arni (1965), Bartholdy et al. (1995), Bartholdy & Bellas (1998c), Ho-
henegger (1994, 1995), Hottinger (1983, 1988, 1996), Kulka (1985) and Loucks et al. (1998a,b).

background image



1) During the Middle to early Upper Eocene Epoch the

stratigraphic architecture of the fore-arc Podhale Basin in S.
Poland was mainly controlled by a mechanism of gla-
cioeustatic sea-level changes.

2) The basin sedimentation took place in three deposition-

al cycles: 1 — Upper Lutetian to Lower Bartonian, 2 —
Middle to Upper Bartonian and 3 — Lower/Upper Priabon-

3) Distinct changes of the rich LF communities in space

and time incorporated enormous information about the first
composite sequence

. They resulted from gradual changes in

climate, paleogeographical rearrangement and subsequent
species evolution (mainly background dominated processes).
This cycle’s TST is characterized by low nutrients and warm
climate. Data on changes in the shape of species with in-
creasing depth are also evident.

4) A regression produced a stratigraphic unconformity on

the basin margins (postulated SB2). In the investigated area
it included the middle part of the Bartonian stage. Consider-
ing the oxygen-isotope record it correlates well with the
EBi1 glacioeustatic event.

5) For the Middle to Upper Bartonian the sedimentation

model is represented by a second composite sequence where
temperate and unstable environmental conditions predomi-
nated (event dominated). It is characterized by the occur-

rence of heterosteginids, red algae, echinoderm and bryozo-
ans limestones. The record of the former LF’s during a fall-
ing stage in sea-level is highly notable (upper SBZ 18 Zone,
Upper Bartonian).

6) Consequently, a new stratigraphic unconformity (SB2)

is produced. It incorporated the Bartonian/Priabonian bound-
ary. Considering the oxygen-isotope record it correlates well
with the EPi1 event.

7) In the Lower Priabonian, a third composite sequence de-

veloped, starting with a new transgression. LF accumulations
especially of N. fabianii point to the last optimal environ-
mental conditions, before the next important tectonic phase
(Ilyrian) initiated higher rates in the subsidence of the basin
and tectonic activities, which favourite accumulation of thick
successions of the Podhale Flysch deposits.


This work received financial support

from the Steuerkanzlei Andrea Bartholdy, Oranienburg. We
are grateful for critical remarks and improvements of the text
to Profs. Drs. H. Luterbacher, R.T.J. Moody, C.H. Betzler
and J. Serra-Kiel. Dr. E. Köhler (Bratislava) and Dr. B.W.
Olszewska (Kraków) also deserve special thanks for helpful
discussions. The manuscript greatly benefited from reviews
by Drs. J. Janočko, J. Soták and J. Wieczorek. We are indebt-
ed to Prof. Dr. R.T.J. Moody and M. Möhler for smoothing of
the English text. We thank the Free University Berlin, Insti-
tute of Palaeontology for the technical support.

Fig. 8. 

Correlation of the time scale from Berggren et al. (1995), sequence boundaries of Hardenbol et al. (in press), smoothed composite



O record, the eustatic curves of Haq et al. (1987) and Mitchum et al. (1994) and the glacial history (solid bars in the column indicate

strong evidence for ice-sheet existence, dashed lines indicated early phases of ice-sheet development; EAIS = East Antarctica Ice-Sheet,
WAIS = West Antarctica Ice-Sheet), redrawn from Abreu & Anderson (1998) and the composite sequences of the present study.

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446                                                                                         BARTHOLDY et al.

Fig. 9. 

Sequence-stratigraphic correlation of the studied sections.

background image


The paper is a contribution to IGCP Project 393 “Neritic
events at the Middle-Upper Eocene boundary”.


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