STRATIGRAPHY AND CORRELATION OF THE GRUND FORMATION 207
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 55, 2, BRATISLAVA, APRIL 2004
STRATIGRAPHY AND CORRELATION OF THE GRUND FORMATION
IN THE MOLASSE BASIN, NORTHEASTERN AUSTRIA
(MIDDLE MIOCENE, LOWER BADENIAN)
, MATHIAS HARZHAUSER
, JOHANN HOHENEGGER
, OLEG MANDIC
, REINHARD ROETZEL
, FRED RÖGL
, ROBERT SCHOLGER
, KARL STINGL
, LILIAN VÁBENICKÁ
, IRENE ZORN
and MARTIN ZUSCHIN
Department of Paleontology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Wien, Austria; email@example.com;
Museum of Natural History Vienna, Burgring 7, A-1014 Wien, Austria; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Geological Survey of Austria, Rasumofskygasse 23, A-1030 Wien, Austria; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Institute of Geophysics, Montanuniversität Leoben, Peter Tunner Strasse 27, A-8700 Leoben; firstname.lastname@example.org
Universitè Fribourg, Suisse; email@example.com
Czech Geological Survey, Klárov 131/3, P.B. 85, 118 21 Praha, Czech Republic; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Manuscript received June 5, 2003; accepted in revised form December 16, 2003)
Abstract: Mollusc bearing Neogene strata were collectively designated as Grund Beds in the 19
century. The differ-
ent lithostratigraphic formations of these Grund Beds were studied in the Austrian Molasse Basin north of the Danube
(Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep). Biostratigraphic methods and paleomagnetic measurements revealed that the entire
Karpatian Laa Formation spans nannoplankton Zone NN4. It is transgressive on the Lower Miocene, Ottnangian marine
sequences. The upper part of the Laa Formation correlates with the first occurrence of Globigerinoides bisphericus and
is correlated in the type locality with the reverse Chron C5Cr and the normal chron C5Cn.2n. A distinct unconformity
separates the Karpatian and Badenian sequences. The first Badenian transgression of the Molasse Basin resulted in a
clastic sequence which, for the time being, has no lithostratigraphic designation. The lower part belongs to nannoplank-
ton Zone NN4, with the first occurrence of Praeorbulina glomerosa glomerosa (Middle Miocene, Zone M5). The upper
part of this basal clastic sequence belongs to nannoplankton Zone NN5. A coarse conglomerate, overlying a further
unconformity, is interpreted as the transgression horizon of the fine clastic, more than 250 m thick Grund Formation. It
spans nannoplankton Zone NN5 and contains Praeorbulina glomerosa circularis. Higher up in the sections, this species
occurs together with Orbulina suturalis (plankton Zone M6). Ostracods and molluscs from the Grund Formation is
distinctly different from the Karpatian, and indicate an unambiguously Badenian age. The normal paleomagnetic polar-
ity measured in the type locality of the Grund Formation is interpreted as Chron C5Bn.2n. The Gaindorf Formation is
coeval with the Grund Formation, developed along the western coast of the Molasse Basin. The more eastern develop-
ment of the Mailberg Formation stratigraphically corresponds to the upper part of the Grund Formation with the co-
occurrence of Po. glomerosa circularis and O. suturalis. In the Mailberg Formation a reverse magnetization is inter-
preted as correlating with Chron C5Bn.r.
Key words: Miocene, Karpatian, Badenian, Austria, Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, Grund Formation, stratigraphy.
The Austrian part of the Molasse Basin or Alpine-Carpathian
Foredeep north of the Danube (Fig. 1) belongs to the Central
Paratethys, with a corresponding regional stratigraphic stage
system. Marine sedimentation started in the Egerian (Upper
Oligocene to Lower Miocene). Fossiliferous Eggenburgian
(Lower Miocene) shallow-water sediments are widely spread
on top of the Bohemian Massif. At the surface, basin sedi-
ments are exposed as the Ottnangian Zellerndorf Formation,
the shallow-water Rzehakia Beds, and the transgressive
Karpatian Laa Formation. The overlying transgressive Bade-
nian (Middle Miocene) sediments represent several forma-
tions. Only restricted areas are covered by Sarmatian (Middle
Miocene) and Lower Pannonian (Upper Miocene) deposits.
The fluvial gravels of the Pannonian Hollabrunn-Mistelbach
Formation are of regional extent (comp. Roetzel et al. 1999).
Recent debates about the stratigraphic position and range
of the Grund Formation (e.g. vábenická & Ètyroká 1998;
Cicha 1999a) gave rise to intensified research. This investi-
gation was facilitated by excavations of the Institute of Pale-
ontology of the University of Vienna at the type locality of
Grund in 1998 and 1999 (Roetzel et al. 1999; Roetzel & Per-
vesler 2004). The Grund excavations have been studied in de-
tail for sedimentology, trace fossils, and molluscan assem-
blages. In the deep drill site Roggendorf-1, the base of the
Grund Formation and the transgression of the Badenian on
Karpatian sediments were observed (Æoriæ & Rögl 2004). Ad-
ditionally, the discovery of vertebrate remains in the localities
of Grund and Mühlbach enabled the correlation of marine and
terrestrial biota (Daxner-Höck 2003). New stratigraphic re-
sults have been achieved by studying calcareous nannoplank-
ton, foraminifers, molluscs, and by paleomagnetic measure-
208 ÆORIÆ et al.
The problem of the Grund Beds
The Grund Beds or Grunder Schichten (Rolle 1859) have
been of great paleontological interest since the 19
At that time, excavations for new wine cellars in the village of
Grund exposed a very rich molluscan fauna, dominated by
large specimens (e.g. Hoernes M. 18511856; Hoernes M. &
Reuss 18621870; Hoernes R. & Auinger 18791882; Sieber
1949; Schultz 2001). These faunas were used by Mayer
(= Mayer-Eymar 1868) for a subdivison of his Helvetian
Stage. Originally, Mayer (1858) included in the Helvetian the
marine Molasse from the region of Berne (Switzerland) to
Upper Bavaria. Later, in 1865, Mayer subdivided the
Helvetian into the Couches de Vienne and the Couche de
Steinabrunn. Both regions are in the Vienna Basin and the de-
posits belong to the Middle Miocene (Badenian). To add to the
confusion, Mayer-Eymar (1868) published a three-fold subdi-
vision of the Helvetian: I. Couches de Grund, II. Couches de
Serravalle, III. Couches de St. Gall. Due to the inclusion of
such different stratigraphic levels, Rutsch (1958) solved the
Helvetian problem by defining a stratotype at the Imihubel
near Berne, belonging to the Lower Miocene Belperg Beds.
Later, Rutsch (1971) cemented the erroneous intermingling
by using the occurrence of Megacardita jouanneti at the Hel-
vetian stratotype as a biomarker. This species is absent not
only in the Eggenburgian (Early Burdigalian) beds of Lower
Austria, but also in the Burdigalian stratotype in SW France.
This appeared to be a biostratigraphically significant record
because this large-sized bivalve species is a characteristic fos-
sil in beds exposed throughout southern and central Europe,
formerly erroneously correlated with the Helvetian (e.g.
Turin Mountains in NW Italy, Salles in SW France, Grund in
Lower Austria) and Tortonian (e.g. Gainfarn in Lower Aus-
tria) stages. However, the presence of Megacardita jouanneti
at the stratotype in the Swiss Molasse was rejected by Pfister &
Wegmüller (19942001). They re-investigated in detail the
Swiss marine Miocene bivalve assemblages and found no evi-
dence for that species. Moreover, they pointed out that the
Megacardita jouanneti specimen of Rutsch (1928) represents
an erroneous identification of their Megacardita guenterti n.
sp., and correlates morphologically better with Megacardita
zelebori (Hoernes) from the Eggenburgian of Lower Austria.
Nevertheless, Megacardita jouanneti appears already in the
Burdigalian (e.g. Baldissero in Northern Italy) and is a poor
candidate for biostratigraphy at the Early/Middle Miocene
Rutsch & Salaj (1974), attempted to correlate the Helvetian
and the Karpatian. In this poorly documented paper the authors
also included the Rzehakia Beds (Upper Ottnangian) into the
Lower Karpatian and correlated these beds with the Helvetian
because of the occurrence of Uvigerina bononiensis com-
pressa and U. bononiensis primiformis. The species Pappi-
na compressa was described by Cushman (1925) from the
Badenian of the Vienna Basin and is synonymous with P.
parkeri (Karrer). It belongs to the bononiensis group, but is not
found in the Karpatian. Otherwise, P. primiformis occurs al-
ready in the Lower Eggenburgian of the Loibersdorf strato-
type. The occurrence at Imihubel, the stratotype of the Hel-
vetian, does not give a stratigraphic correlation tie-point. The
determination of one specimen of Globigerinoides bisphericus
from the Imihubel section may be questioned because it is not
figured and no later record could be found.
Another stratigraphic subdivision for the Austrian Neogene
was given by Th. Fuchs (1873) and consisted of the 1. Medi-
terranstufe for the sediments around Horn and Eggenburg
(Lower Miocene, Eggenburgian), and the 2. Mediterranstufe
for the Badener Tegel, marine sands and Leithakalk in the
Vienna Basin. At that time the term Vienna Basin also includ-
ed the Molasse Basin (Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep) north of
the Danube (Ausseralpines Wiener Becken). Based on these
subdivisions, different sedimentological sequences were long
included in the Grund Beds. Even in 1951, Schaffer & Grill
correlated the Grund Beds with the Oncophora Beds as a
Fig. 1. Geological sketch of the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep in
northeastern Austria and southern Moravia (acc. Rögl & Spezzaferri
2003). Location map of important outcrops and type localities men-
tioned in the text: 1 Gaindorf, 2 Buchberg near Mailberg, 3
deep drilling Roggendorf-1, 4 exploration well NÖ-06 Gneixen-
dorf, 5 exploration well NÖ-07 Diendorf near Hadersdorf am
Kamp, 6 Mühlbach, 7 Kautendorf near Staatz, 8 Pouzdøany.
STRATIGRAPHY AND CORRELATION OF THE GRUND FORMATION 209
more marine Upper Helvetian equivalent, and also included
the deposits of the Korneuburg Basin in the Grund Beds. A
distinction between a lower (Helvetian) part and an upper part
(Tortonian at that time) on the basis of molluscs was specu-
lated, but not yet possible (Kautsky 1928; Sieber 1937, 1949).
Otherwise, on the basis of orbulinas and cancellate globigeri-
nas, Vaíèek (1946) already subdivided the younger marine
sediments of the Carpathian Foredeep into a Helvetian and
Tortonian part. Similarly, later studies subdivided the Grund
Beds using foraminifers (Weinhandl 1957; Grill 1958).
For the lower part of the Grund Beds a new formation name,
the Laaer Schichten, was introduced (Kapounek et al. 1960)
and correlated with the new stage Karpatian of Cicha & Tejkal
(1959). The Laa Formation transgresses discordantly over the
Ottnangian Zellerndorf Formation. For the Karpatian deposits
of the Korneuburg Basin, the term Korneuburger Schichten
was introduced (Grill 1968). Recent investigations of ostracod
and molluscan faunas from the Korneuburg Basin (Ètyroký
2002; Harzhauser 2002; Zorn 1998) demonstrated the position
of the former Lower Grund Beds within the Karpatian. Simi-
larly, research at the type locality of the Laa Formation, Laa an
der Thaya, with so-called Grund Beds on top, made a correla-
tion possible with the Karpatian (Late Burdigalian), Globige-
rinoides bisphericus level and nannoplankton Zone NN4
(Cicha 1997; Martini & Müller 1975; Rögl 1969; Rögl et al.
1997). The former Upper Grund Beds have been separated
into the Grund Formation and the Gaindorf Formation (Cicha
1999b; Roetzel et al. 1999).
New biostratigraphic results on the Karpatian and
In recent years a new biostratigraphic and paleoecological
subdivision of the Karpatian and Badenian successions in the
Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, with reference to the Grund For-
mation, was proposed (Cicha 1999a, 2001; vábenická & Èty-
roká 1998, 1999). This subdivision is based on calcareous
nannoplankton and foraminifers, both benthic and planktonic.
Those authors placed the lower part of the Grund Formation in
the Karpatian. Generally, the subdivision of assemblages cor-
responds to our results on the paleoecological development of
the Karpatian and Badenian in the Alpine-Carpathian Fore-
deep (Molasse Basin in Austria) and to the distribution of im-
portant species. The main difference pertains to the strati-
graphic interpretation, which contrasts to the results by the
newly recorded Praeorbulina in the Grund type locality (Rögl
et al. 2002; Spezzaferri 2004).
Strong differences in foraminiferal assemblages between the
horizons of the former Grunder Schichten support the strati-
graphic subdivision into the Laa and Korneuburg Formations
(Karpatian), and the Grund, Gaindorf and Mailberg Forma-
tions (Lower Badenian). This is reflected not only in the in-
creasing richness of the fauna but also in the species diversity
in individual samples. In the basin facies of the Laa Forma-
tion, the highest diversity is 46 benthic and 19 planktonic spe-
cies per sample. In the shallow environment of the Kor-
neuburg Formation, a maximum of 25 benthic and 6 plankton-
ic species were recorded in a single sample. The diversity in
the lowermost Badenian clastic sequences is still rather low,
between 20 to 40 benthic and 6 to 16 planktonic species. In
the Grund and Gaindorf Formations the species number in-
creases from 20 to >170 benthic and from 12 to >30 plankton-
ic forms. A similar high diversity 174 benthic and 16
planktonic species was observed in marly layers of coralli-
nacean limestones of the Mailberg Formation and also in the
marly basin facies in the eastern part of the Molasse Basin
(Kautendorf near Staatz).
No new results are available for dating the Karpatian. The
planktonic assemblages of the Laa Formation are dominated
by small globigerinas without stratigraphic significance. Only
single specimens of Globigerinoides bisphericus have been
recorded (Rögl 1969). In some counterflash drillings of OMV
at the eastern border of the Molasse Basin and on top of the
Waschberg Unit, the probably Upper Karpatian contains rich-
er planktonic assemblages with G. bisphericus and first
globorotalias (Rögl et al. 2002). Such assemblages are also re-
ported from the Pouzdøany Unit at Kolby Hill (Southern
Moravia) in claystones of the Laa Formation (Stráník &
The lowermost Badenian transgressive sediments were re-
corded in deep drillings only, and are characterized by a basal
unconformity, partly on top of the Karpatian Laa Formation.
As documented in Roggendorf-1, 105 m of conglomerates and
sandstones underlie the fine-clastic Grund Formation; they
contain a scarce foraminiferal assemblage without stratigraph-
ic significance (Æoriæ & Rögl 2004). Marly intercalations in
the basal conglomerate of prospection well NÖ-07 (Diendorf
near Hadersdorf), at 260.4281.2 m, contain a scarce fauna
with species such as Globigerinoides quadrilobatus, Globo-
quadrina cf. altispira, and Globorotalia bykovae. The next
horizon of grey silty and sandy marls (240.0260.4 m) shows
a distinct faunal increase, additionally with Paragloborotalia
mayeri, P. pseudocontinuosa, and uvigerinids, Pappina primi-
formis and Uvigerina macrocarinata. Only in the level 237.0
237.1 m do the first Praeorbulina glomerosa circularis appear
together with Orbulina suturalis, which correlates to higher
parts of the Grund Formation. In the shallower prospection
well NÖ-06 (Gneixendorf) the first microfauna appears on top
of a clastic sequence, which transgressed on crystalline rocks
of the Bohemian Massif at 126.8 m. The first fossiliferous
sample (104.7104.8 m) has a rich assemblage with Praeor-
bulina glomerosa glomerosa, Globigerinoides quadrilobatus,
G. trilobus, Globigerina spp., Globoquadrina cf. altispira,
Paragloborotalia cf. mayeri, Globorotalia bykovae (Rögl &
Of stratigraphic importance for dating the Grund Formation
is the appearance of P. glomerosa circularis together with
Uvigerina macrocarinata in the type locality Grund (Rögl &
Spezzaferri 2002; Spezzaferri 2004). The last appearance of
Uvigerina graciliformis (the index species for the begin of the
Karpatian) and of Pappina breviformis and P. primiformis is
found in the higher part of the Grund Formation, at the co-oc-
currence level of Praeorbulina glomerosa circularis and Or-
bulina suturalis (comp. vábenická & Ètyroká 1999). The
210 ÆORIÆ et al.
planktonic assemblage of the higher Grund Formation (e.g.
Kalladorf, Maria Roggendorf, Obergrabern) is characterized
by intergrading forms of Praeorbulina and Orbulina sutura-
lis, together with species such as Globigerinoides apertasu-
turalis, G. bisphericus, Paragloborotalia acrostoma, P.
mayeri, Globorotalia bykovae, and G. transsylvanica. Marly
intercalations in the corallinacean limestone of the Mailberg
Formation have a similar assemblage with Praeorbulina
glomerosa circularis, Orbulina suturalis, and Uvigerina mac-
rocarinata. The benthic assemblages in the deeper-water fa-
cies (Kautendorf) contain species such as Lenticulina echina-
ta, Planularia auris, P. cassis, P. dentata, Vaginulina
legumen, and uvigerinas: Uvigerina macrocarinata, U. pyg-
moides, U. uniseriata, and first U. grilli.
Karpatian: Spezzaferri & Æoriæ (2001) studied the bios-
tratigraphy and paleoecology of Laa Formation sediments
from Hole BL 503 drilled outside the Wienerberger brickyard
at Laa, based on foraminifers and calcareous nannoplankton.
They contain: Helicosphaera ampliaperta, H. carteri, Sphe-
nolithus heteromorphus, Coccolithus pelagicus, C. miope-
lagicus, Calcidiscus leptoporus, Cyclicargolithus floridanus,
and are dated as nannoplankton Zone NN4 (comp. Martini &
Müller 1975). The described nannofossil assemblages are
generally identical to the interval 360612 m in Roggendorf-1
(Æoriæ & Rögl 2004).
The Badenian transgression is documented in different
drill sites in the Austrian Molasse Basin. In Roggendorf-1 a
clastic sequence (255360 m) underlying the Grund Forma-
tion contains rather well-developed nannoplankton assem-
blages. Within this section the boundary between nanno-
plankton Zones NN4 and NN5 was based on the extinction of
H. ampliaperta at 320 m. The lower part (NN4) is character-
ized by Coccolithus pelagicus, C. floridanus, Coronocyclus
nitescens, H. scissura, Syracosphaera pulchra. The upper
part of this clastic level (NN5) contains: Helicosphaera wal-
trans, H. vedderi, H. walbersdorfensis, and higher percent-
ages of Reticulofenestra minuta. The deeper part of prospec-
tion well NÖ-07 (Diendorf near Hadersdorf) is attributed to
nannoplankton Zone NN4 based on the co-occurrence of
Sphenolithus heteromorphus and Helicosphaera ampliaper-
ta in the samples 256.6256.7 m and 264267 m. The sedi-
ments, which are dominated by C. pelagicus, also contain:
Helicosphaera carteri, H. mediterranea, R. minuta, Spheno-
lithus moriformis, Syracosphaera pulchra, and Thora-
cosphaera spp. In well NÖ-06 (Gneixendorf), NN4 was also
recorded in the lower part of the Badenian. The sample
100.2100.3 m contains scarce H. ampliaperta and H. scis-
sura; Sphenolithus heteromorphus is absent. Zone NN5 was
also recorded in both sections. Samples from marly sedi-
ments at 237.0237.1 m of NÖ-07 contain the following
species: C. pelagicus, Coronocyclus nitescens, Geminilithel-
la rotula, Helicosphaera carteri, H. vedderi, H. walbersdor-
fensis, Reticulofenestra minuta, Sphenolithus heteromor-
phus, Umbilicosphaera jafarii. Only a few specimens of
Helicosphaera waltrans have been recorded. In well NÖ-06,
the sample 9597 m yields a nannoplankton assemblage
with Helicosphaera vedderi and H. walbersdorfensis, typi-
cal for Zone NN5.
The Grund Formation from the deep drilling Roggendorf-1
(2255 m) contains very abundant nannoplankton assemblag-
es, typical for nannoplankton Zone NN5 of Martini (1971),
with the presence of: Sphenolithus heteromorphus, Heli-
cosphaera waltrans, and H. walbersdorfensis. They are char-
acterized by the dominance of Reticulofenestra minuta and
relatively scarce Coccolithus pelagicus. In the type locality of
the Grund Formation at Grund near Hollabrunn, a series of
sections have been studied (Æoriæ & vábenická 2004). Nan-
nofossil assemblages of NN5 are characterized by the follow-
presence of Helicosphaera waltrans (relatively com-
mon), irregular occurrence of H. walbersdorfensis, relative
abundance of H. carteri, absence of Sphenolithus heteromor-
phus, scarce occurrence of reworked H. ampliaperta, rare oc-
currence of discoasters, Umbilicosphaera, Calcidiscus, and
Calcareous nannofossil assemblages from the outcrop
Mühlbach, Gaindorf Formation (Æoriæ 2003) are stratigraphi-
cally similar to the Grund Formation (NN5), characterized by
the presence of: Coccolithus pelagicus, Coronocyclus nite-
scens, Helicosphaera carteri, H. vedderi, H. waltrans, Reticu-
lofenestra minuta, R. haqii, R. pseudoumbilica, Sphenolithus
heteromorphus, S. moriformis, Syracosphaera histrica, S.
pulchra, Thoracosphaera heimii.
Few investigations have been done on ostracods from the
so-called Miocene Grunder Schichten or Grund Beds. Os-
tracods from the Karpatian Laa Formation are documented
from the type locality Laa in the Molasse Basin. Rögl et al.
(1997) mention 20 species. Most of these species are also rep-
resented in the more diverse ostracod fauna of the coeval Kor-
neuburg Formation in the Korneuburg Basin. Zorn (1998) de-
scribed 48 species, which reflect a shallow-water environment
with temporary brackish water influence. The infraneritic fa-
cies of the Laa Formation is only indicated by the occurrence
of Pterygocythereis and Krithe.
The ostracod assemblages of the Badenian Grund and Gain-
dorf Formations (Molasse Basin) show evident differences
compared to the Laa and Korneuburg Formations. The ostra-
cods from the Gaindorf Formation were recently investigated
by Zorn (1999, 2003). Twenty-seven species, which represent
elements of the lower infralittoral to the circalittoral, were dis-
tinguished. The ostracod fauna of the coeval Grund Formation
consists of about 60 species (Zorn 2004). The Hemicytheridae
are much more diverse in the Grund Formation, which is typi-
cal for shallow-water environments. Deep-water elements are
Krithe and Henryhowella.
A high diversity of Ostracoda and especially of the Hemi-
cytheridae is generally characteristic for the Badenian in the
Central Paratethys. The occurrence of most of the Hemi-
cytheridae species is valuable for the identification of the
Badenian, but is very probably not applicable to subdivide the
Badenian (see Brestenská & Jiøíèek 1978; Gross 2002). The
presence of the following species, found in the Grund and
STRATIGRAPHY AND CORRELATION OF THE GRUND FORMATION 211
Gaindorf Formations is restricted to the Badenian: Acantho-
cythereis hystrix, Aurila albicans, A. galeata, A. punctata,
Cytheridea acuminata, Cnestocythere lamellicosta, and Olim-
falunia spinulosa. Also restricted to the Badenian are Aurila
angulata, A. haueri, A. opaca, A. trigonella, Costa reticulata,
Urocythereis kostelensis, Semicytherura galea, Renicytherura
textilis cornuta, and Tenedocythere sulcatopunctata, which
have been found in the Grund Formation only. Acantho-
cythereis hystrix is an index fossil for the Lower Badenian
(Jiøíèek 1983). Aurila albicans and Renicytherura textilis cor-
nuta are scarcely known in the Central Paratethys but also
seem to be restricted to the Early Badenian.
The Karpatian formations in Austria can mainly be separated
from the Badenian formations by the occurrence of Loxoconcha
vaisonna. Furthermore, Callistocythere karpatiensis, Cyamo-
cytheridea gracilis, Heliocythere leobendorfensis, and Cytheru-
ra teiritzbergensis only occur in the Korneuburg Formation.
The species Cytheridea paracuminata, Cyamocytheridea derii,
and Senesia vadaszi first occur in the Karpatian, but the first
two have a stratigraphic range up to the Badenian and the last to
Lower Austria and Styria provide the best evidence for the
late Early Miocene (Karpatian) and early Middle Miocene
(Early Badenian) molluscan assemblages of the marine
shelves of the western Central Paratethys. Clearly, two strati-
graphically quite different faunas contributed to the so-called
Grund Fauna. The late Early Miocene age of the Laa and
Korneuburg Formations and the Middle Miocene status of the
fauna of the Grund and Gaindorf Formations were accepted
by most workers on the basis of increased biostratigraphic
data. Karpatian molluscs derive from the Korneuburg Forma-
tion in the Korneuburg Basin and the Laa Formation in the
Molasse Basin. Recently, the Karpatian molluscan faunas
have been revised by Binder (2002), Ètyroký (2002),
Harzhauser (2002), and Mandic (2004). In total, 230 taxa of
gastropods, bivalves, and scaphopods are documented.
The Grund Formation includes the species-rich faunas from
such historic localities as Grund, Immendorf, Windpassing,
Braunsdorf, and Guntersdorf. The extraordinarily rich co-
quinas consisting of densely packed, often abraded shells de-
rive mainly from proximal and distal tempestitic shelly beds
and reveal a sub-autochthonous character (Zuschin et al.
The separation between the Karpatian and the Early Bade-
nian molluscan faunas in Lower Austria was long hampered
by similarities in the composition of the assemblages due to
coinciding facies and by the low percentage of genuine Kar-
patian species. Among the gastropods, only 9 species (about
7 %), such as Agapilia pachii, Turritella bellardii, and Clava-
tula barbarae, are documented until now solely from the Kar-
patian (Harzhauser 2002). An additional problem is that sev-
eral old-fashioned typical Early Miocene species, such as
Melongena cornuta, Tudicla rusticula, Euthriofusus burdiga-
lensis, and Ficus cingulata display a unique acme in the Cen-
tral Paratethys; this acme lasted from the Karpatian up to the
Early Badenian, before the Middle Badenian decline. In con-
trast, the Badenian gastropod assemblages are usually easily
recognized by their much higher diversity, yielding many spe-
cies unknown from Karpatian strata. Among these, Cerithium
procrenatum, Cerithium bronni, Cassidaria cingulifera,
Cypraecassis cypraeiformis, Bursa nodosa, Charonia apen-
ninica, Charonia nodifera, Murex (Tubicauda) spinicosta,
and Muricopsis cristatum are typical. About 150 gastropod
species of the Karpatian compare with more than 300 species
of the Early Badenian. This Badenian bloom is traceable
within most gastropod families, but is most conspicuous with-
in the cypraeids, turrids, cancellariids, nassariids, or muricids.
A spectacular Middle Miocene bloom is also observed
within the bivalve faunas. Only 140 species are recorded from
the Karpatian deposits, whereas the Lower Badenian is char-
acterized by more than 340 species (cf. Harzhauser et al.
subm.). The so-called Grund Horizon (Grund Formation)
alone contains about 270 species and has stratigraphical
equivalents from eastern Austria through southern Poland to
the Romanian Transylvanian Basin; its species diversity is al-
most two times higher than the Karpatian one. Thereafter, the
species diversity underwent no further major changes during
the Early Badenian, except for a slight drop. Hence, about 240
species have been recorded in the Upper Lagenidae Zone.
Such a bloom within the Grund Horizon is a consequence
of numerous first occurrences in the Central Paratethys.
Hence the Middle Miocene position of the Grund Formation
is well defined by the presence of taxa absent from the Karpa-
tian sediments such as Plicatula (Plicatula) mytilina, Hinnites
cristatus, Pseudolepton bayeri, Lasaeina austriaca, Cardites
partschi, Megacardita jouanneti, Donacilla cornea and
Clausinella vindobonensis. Additionally several taxa such as
Thyasira (Th.) michelottii and Arcopagia (A.) strohmayeri
seem to be restricted to the Lower Lagenidae Zone, whereas
few Lower Miocene elements such as Circomphalus haidin-
geri or Rzehakia dubiosa become extinct in the Paratethys at
the end of the Lower Lagenidae Zone. In contrast the Karpa-
tian assemblage, differing principally by the absence of Bade-
nian taxa and significantly lower diversity, is mainly consti-
tuted by species passing the Early/Middle Miocene boundary.
Among the few exceptions becoming extinct at the end of the
Karpatian is Acanthocardia (A.) michelottiana recorded by
Ètyroký (2002) from the Korneuburg Basin.
New paleomagnetic investigations
In the locality Grund, anisotropy of low-field magnetic sus-
ceptibility documented a primary sedimentary origin of the
magnetic fabric. Most of the specimens did not show a statisti-
cally significant anisotropy, and the remaining samples yield-
ed susceptibility ellipsoids that indicated depositional fabrics:
the maximum susceptibility axes (Kmax) were aligned in the
horizontal plane, while the minimum susceptibility axes
(Kmin) formed a cluster around the pole to the bedding plane.
Magnetic lineation (Kmax/Kint) was typically below 1.01,
with an average lineation of 1.001; the average magnetic foli-
ation (Kint/Kmin) was 1.016. The results suggested the pres-
ence of a weak or moderate paleocurrent (NNWSSE) during
the time of deposition. The paleocurrent probably produced
212 ÆORIÆ et al.
the weak lineation by aligning the long axes of prolate grains
parallel to the direction of flow.
Demagnetization yielded well-defined demagnetization
paths with one or two components of NRM (natural remanent
magnezation) and a good separation of the unblocking coer-
civity spectra. Typically, the samples were fully demagne-
tized at 100 mT alternating-field strengths. Characteristic re-
manent magnetization directions (ChRM) for single samples
were determined by principle component analyses of the mag-
netization components observed during demagnetization. A
well-grouped normal polarity component (Dec = 330°, Inc =
48°), which decayed towards the origin between 10 and
100 mT, could be isolated in 13 samples. This component
could be regarded as the primary characteristic remanence di-
Complementary results from sediments with the same strati-
graphic age in other localities provided means for paleomag-
netic significance tests (fold-test and reversals-test) in order to
prove the primarity of the vector components. For instance,
marls of Badenian age from the locality of Mailberg in the
Molasse Basin yielded a reverse component (Dec = 145°, Inc =
47°), that is antipodal within the statistical confidence limits
to the normal vector direction observed in Grund. A magneto-
stratigraphic section of 10 m thickness in the nearby locality
Laa/Thaya showed a succession of magnetozones with a nor-
mal polarity zone covering the upper part of the section. The
observed rotation values and paleo-inclinations are in accor-
dance with previous paleomagnetic results from Karpatian de-
posits in Teiritzberg (Dec = 340°, Inc = 49°) and
Obergänserndorf (Dec = 336°; Inc = 56°) in the Korneuburg
Basin (Scholger 1998). A detailed description of the paleo-
magnetic results will be presented separately (Scholger 2004).
In addition to the locality Grund, complementary results of
KarpatianBadenian age (Table 1) were obtained from sites in
Kuffern, Mailberg, and Laa/Thaya in the Austrian Molasse
Basin. The normal part of the Laa brickyard section corre-
sponds to the pyritized Virgulinella Horizon, which appears
in the deep drilling Laa Thermal S-1 at a depth of 170240 m.
Other data comprise published results from sites in the Kor-
neuburg Basin (Teiritzberg and Obergänserndorf) and new
sites from the Northern Vienna Basin (Kleinhadersdorf) and
the Southern Vienna Basin (Gainfarn). The easternmost part
of the study area was covered by further sampling sites from
the Hainburger Swell in Deutsch-Altenburg and from the
Mattersburg Embayment in Rohrbach.
Table 1: New magnetostratigraphic results from the Lower and Middle Miocene in Northern Austria.
Eastern Molasse Basin
Eastern Molasse Basin
Eastern Molasse Basin
Laa/Thaya, upper section
Eastern Molasse Basin
Laa/Thaya, lower section
Eastern Molasse Basin
Northern Vienna Basin
Southern Vienna Basin
During research at the Grund type locality and in the Karpa-
tian and Badenian marine formations of the Alpine-Car-
pathian Foredeep, the debate on the stratigraphic position of
the former Grund Beds was re-opened. The combined effort
of different projects yielded new insights into the sedimenta-
tion around the Early/Middle Miocene boundary in this region
All the Karpatian sediments of the Laa Formation were de-
posited within the range of nannoplankton Zone NN4. Fora-
minifers do not give exact stratigraphic correlations. The Up-
per Karpatian can be approximated with the Globigerinoides
bisphericus level, whereas for the regional correlation the first
appearance of Uvigerina graciliformis defines the base of the
Karpatian. The occurrence of Loxoconcha vaisonna in the os-
tracod assemblages is characteristic for the Karpatian, as is
also the case with certain gastropod species such as Agapilia
pachii, Turritella bellardii, and Clavatula barbarae.
The Badenian transgression follows after a gap and is re-
corded from deep wells only. Sediments consist mainly of
clastic deposits attributed to nannoplankton Zone NN4. The
top of NN4 is defined by the last appearance of Heli-
cosphaera ampliaperta. In these wells a continuous sedimen-
tation up into Zone NN5 is documented. The record of Heli-
cosphaera waltrans is most important for the definition of
nannoplankton Zone NN5 and the correlation with the Medi-
terranean Basin. In prospection well NÖ-06, in the Krems em-
bayment, it was possible to document the appearance of the
planktonic foraminifer Praeorbulina glomerosa glomerosa
The fine clastic Grund Formation in Roggendorf-1 fol-
lows with a distinct discordance and is underlain by a coarse
transgressive conglomerate. The Grund Formation in this well
and in the type locality Grund is characterized by a rich nan-
noflora of NN5, with H. waltrans. A similar nannoflora is re-
corded from the Gaindorf Formation at Mühlbach. In the sec-
tions at Grund, very scarce Praeorbulina glomerosa
circularis are present and give a good correlation with the
nannoplankton stratigraphy. In higher parts of the Grund For-
mation, and in the Gaindorf and Mailberg Formations, highly
evolved Po. glomerosa circularis and Orbulina suturalis oc-
cur together. This marks the base of planktonic foraminiferal
Zone M6/Mt6. The benthic marker Uvigerina macrocarinata
appears in the Lower Badenian together with the last occur-
STRATIGRAPHY AND CORRELATION OF THE GRUND FORMATION 213
rence of U. graciliformis. Toward the top of the Grund For-
mation a strong increase in species diversity and warm-water
indicators of calcareous nannofossils and foraminifers can be
Ostracods and molluscs have also been studied from out-
crops in the Grund, Gaindorf, and Mailberg Formations. Here
as well, the strong increase in faunal diversity compared to the
Karpatian Laa and Korneuburg Formations is remarkable. A
number of different Ostracoda are only known from these
Badenian formations, together with the index fossil Acantho-
cythereis hystrix. From the molluscan assemblages, the first
Badenian appearance of species such as Cerithium procrena-
tum and Plicatula (Plicatula) mytilina has to be mentioned.
Paleomagnetic results support the biostratigraphic results.
A reverse and normal sequence was measured in a continuous
section from the Karpatian Laa Formation in the Laa brick-
yard. Compared with the stratigraphic time scale of Berggren
et al. (1995), the lower, reverse part is doubtfully interpreted,
eventually it may correspond to Chron C5Cr, whereas the nor-
mal measurements are correlated to Chron C5Cn.2n (16.327
16.488 Ma). The normal chron also comprises the upper part
of the Karpatian as measured in the Korneuburg Formation
(Scholger 1998). These results compare well with paleomag-
netic measurements in the Carpathian Foredeep, in the deep
drilling Nosislav-3 (Kropáèek & Malkovský 1992). A contin-
uous section showed changes of reverse and normal magneti-
Fig. 2. Integrated stratigraphy of the late Lower and Middle Miocene in the Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep (Austrian Molasse Basin), and new
magnetostratigraphic results. Chronostratigraphy, paleomagnetic polarity, planktonic foraminiferal zonation, and time span of planktonic in-
dex species according to Berggren et al. (1995), nannoplankton zonation according to Martini (1971) and Young (1998); position of Lang-
hian-Serravallian boundary according to Sprovieri et al. (2002).
zation for the Karpatian (66280 m). The interpretation of
chrons (Table 2) is adapted according to Kropáèek & Mal-
kovský (1992) and to the paleomagnetic measurements of the
Ottnangian of the West Styrian Basin (Mauritsch & Scholger
The paleomagnetic measurements of Badenian sections can
be correlated only based on the above-reported biostratigraph-
ic investigations. In the Grund Formation P. glomerosa circu-
laris occurs (locality Grund), followed slightly higher by O.
Table 2: Magnetostratigraphic results from well Nosislav-3, Car-
pathian Foredeep (Kropáèek & Malkovský 1992), correlated with
the Austrian Molasse Basin and the Styrian Basin. (Interpretation of
chrons according to Berggren et al. 1995.)
drill depth Polarity Chron Austrian localities
Laa, upper part
Laa, lower part ?
C5Dn West Styrian Basin
214 ÆORIÆ et al.
suturalis. The magnetic normal therefore corresponds to
Chron C5Bn.2n (15.03415.155 Ma). The reverse measure-
ment in the Mailberg Formation is correlated by the occur-
rence of O. suturalis with Chron C5Bn.r. (comp. Berggren et
There was no continuous sedimentation between the Karpa-
tian and the Lower Badenian Grund Formation in the Alpine-
Carpathian Foredeep. The Grund Formation is, however, sep-
arated from the underlying Laa Formation not only by a
long-lasting gap (more then 1 Ma), but also by a hitherto un-
known first basal Badenian transgression event.
Acknowledgments: These investigations were supported by
the Austrian Science Fund Projects P 13743-BIO, P 13745-
BIO, P 13738-TEC. For information and provision of core ma-
terial we warmly thank the OMV AG and the Austrian Geolog-
ical Survey. Fruitful discussions and information by R. Peschel
and O. Schreiber (OMV AG), I. Cicha (Czech Geol. Survey,
Praha), R. Brzobohatý (Masaryk University Brno), G. Wessely
(Wien), and G. Daxner-Höck (Naturhist. Museum Wien)
helped make this study a success. For improvement of the En-
glish text we warmly thank M. Stachowitsch (Univ. Wien). The
text gained by the valuable comments of the reviews by I.
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