LOWER CRETACEOUS OF TERNBERG NAPPE: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY 227
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 55, 3, BRATISLAVA, JUNE 2004
LOWER CRETACEOUS SECTION OF THE TERNBERG NAPPE
(NORTHERN CALCAREOUS ALPS, UPPER AUSTRIA):
FACIES-CHANGES, BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY
and DANIELA REHÁKOVÁ
Department of Paleontology, Vienna University, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria; email@example.com
Department of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University, Mlynská dolina G 1, 842 15 Bratislava,
Slovak Republic; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Manuscript received August 26, 2002; accepted in revised form October 2, 2003)
Abstract: Lithological, sedimentological and paleoecological studies of the Lower Cretaceous (KB1-A section, Ternberg
Nappe, Northern Calcareous Alps, Upper Austria) uncovered rich spectra of Early Berriasian to Late Valanginian macro-
and microfaunal elements in addition to microfloral members. The evaluation of the thin sections indicates a change
from a calpionellid facies to an echinoid facies within the Steinmühl Formation whereas the Schrambach Formation
consists of mudstones with rare microfossils. Several compositional changes in calcareous dinoflagellate and calpionellid
assemblages (bio-events) are detected at the Austrian KB1-A section. They correspond to eustatic sea-level fluctuations
observed in Lower Cretaceous sections of the Western Carpathians and correlate with the Nozdrovice Breccia (Nozdrovice
Event) at the end of the Late Berriasian (Calpionellopsis Zone) and with the Oravice Turbidite Event at the Early
Valanginian (Calpionellites Zone). The surface of the topmost bed of the Steinmühl Formation (latest Early Valanginian)
is characterized by an accumulation of pygopids, partly eroded ammonoids with crinoidal epifaunas, and belemnites
with Acrothoracica burrows. Additionally, a probably small biostratigraphic gap in the calpionellid subzonation be-
tween the Steinmühl- and the Schrambach Formations show a sedimentation stop (omission) during the pygopid accu-
Key words: Early Cretaceous, Austria, Ternberg Nappe, paleoenvironment, sea-level fluctuations, microfossils,
As noted by many authors (Vaíèek & Michalík 1999; Stamp-
fli & Mosar 1999), the area investigated (Ternberg Nappe,
Northern Calcareous Alps) was situated on the eastern border
of the Alpine-Carpathian block during the Early Cretaceous.
This was located between the Penninic Ocean (Alpine Tethys)
in the North and the Vardar Ocean (Meliata Ocean) in the
Lower Cretaceous pelagic sediments are well known to form
a major element of the northernmost tectonic units of the North-
ern Calcareous Alps (e.g. Ternberg, Reichraming, Frankenfels,
and Lunz Nappes). In the Ternberg Nappe of the Northern Cal-
careous Alps, Lower Cretaceous cephalopod-bearing deposits
are recorded in four different facies, the Steinmühl, the Schram-
bach, the Tannheim and the Losenstein Formations.
A general overview of the Austrian Lower Cretaceous sedi-
ments (Northern Calcareous Alps) and its ammonoid fauna
was given by Immel (1987). The most recent publications
(Faupl et al. 1994; Reháková et al. 1996; Vaíèek et al. 1999)
deal with the microfacial analysis and biostratigraphy of the
Lower Cretaceous synclines in the Reichraming, Frankenfels
and Lunz Nappes. The Lower Cretaceous of the Lunz Nappe
was investigated, and the Kaltenleutgeben section described
by Richarz (1905) and Schwinghammer (1975).
During the last decade, a rich fauna of cephalopds was col-
lected from Lower Cretaceous sediments from the Reichra-
ming Nappe, situated to the south of the presented section
(Vaíèek & Faupl 1996; Vaíèek & Faupl 1998, 1999;
Vaíèek et al. 1999).
Publications dealing with different fossil-groups (e.g. am-
monoids, belemnites, Rhynchoteuthis, Pygope, Acrothoracica,
calpionellids) of the presented section and the sourounding
area were done by Lukeneder (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001,
2002), Lukeneder & Harzhauser (2002) and Lukeneder &
Locality and geological setting
The investigated Lower Cretaceous section KB1-A (Klaus-
riegler-Bach 1; Fig. 1) is situated near the Enns River, approx-
imately 1 km southwest, in the Ternberg Nappe (N
47°5432, E 14°2110). This region is part of the northern-
most Northern Calcareous Alps. The Losenstein Syncline is
situated in the southernmost part of the Ternberg Nappe (Fig.
1). This syncline is the last syncline to the north filled by
Lower Cretaceous sediments. The investigated fossiliferous
section is located on the left, nearly vertical (dipping 040/
85), step-like wall of the gorge, exposed on a length of 10 m
and a height of 5 m.
At the area around Ternberg, the Lower Cretaceous se-
quence is presented by two different formations from bottom
to top (Fig. 2):
228 LUKENEDER and REHÁKOVÁ
Steinmühl Formation (approx. 15 m): Early Berriasian to
late Early Valanginian in age, its lower part consisting of red
(Ammonitico rosso type) and its upper part of grey (Maiol-
ica type) condensed pelagic limestones with a few am-
monoids, but abundant calpionellids and calcareous di-
noflagellates enabling precise biostratigraphic correlations.
The brachiopod Pygope cattuloi is abundant in the topmost
bed (Lukeneder 2002).
Schrambach Formation (approx. 150 m): Late Valanginian
to Late Barremian in age, consisting of pale grey, even bedded
limestones intercalated with grey to black calcareous marl-
stones (laminated black shales), and marls. The beds are in-
tensively bioturbated, and the trace fossils Zoophycos, Chon-
drites and Planolites occur throughout (Lukeneder 2001).
The wavy boundary between the Steinmühl and the
Schrambach Formation is marked by a primary hardground
characterized by fragmented, encrusted, and partly eroded am-
monoids and several bored cephalopods (e.g. belemnites;
The evolution of marine biota on the southern European
shelf was influenced by continuing disintegration of carbonate
platforms during the Early Cretaceous. Their pelagic influence
also became more pronounced in former reef and shallow ar-
eas. The morphological highs (elevations) in the pelagic envi-
ronments were characterized by condensed sedimentation of
the Ammonitico rosso facies (Cecca et al. 1993, 1994).
Only elevated, firmer parts of the bottom were typically in-
habited by benthic micro-organisms at that time. Reorganiza-
tion of the Mediterranean Tethys paleogeography correlated
with a change in current patterns resulted in a new Berriasian-
Valanginian bloom in plankton development (Vaíèek et al.
1983; Michalík & Vaíèek 1989). Nannoconid biomicrites
prevailed both in the hemipelagic and pelagic environments
over the extensive sea floor, formerly (during the Late Juras-
sic) characterized by diversified sedimentation. Pelagic ma-
rine environments were characterized by a uniformly soft un-
consolidated muddy bottom. Nannoconids persisted in
dominance during the Valanginian and Hauterivian, while the
calpionellid share in the microplankton association decreased
Material and methods
The lithological composition and biofacies were analysed in
thin sections from level 15m to 31 (50 samples; see Figs. 2
and 3). Washed residues were obtained from limestones and
marls by dissolution using formic acid and acetic acid, and lat-
er washing with desogen and sieves of 500 µm to 63 µm
mesh. In some cases, ultrasonic treatment was necessary to
clean aggregated or encrusted specimens.
The total sulphur content (wt. %) of samples from the KB1-A
section was analysed using X-ray fluorescence and wet meth-
ods. Calcium carbonate content (CaCO
) was determined us-
ing the carbonate bomb technique. Total carbon content was
determined using a LECO WR-12 analyser. Total organic car-
Fig. 1. Position of the section investigated, KB1-A along a stream outcrop. Inset map shows the geological setting and the geographical posi-
tion of the study area. Indicating (on left margin) the synclines of the area: 1 Losenstein Syncline, 2 Schneeberg Syncline, 3 An-
zenbach Syncline, 4 Ebenforst Syncline. (Black Early Cretaceous sediments; dotted line boundary between Ternberg and Reichra-
LOWER CRETACEOUS OF TERNBERG NAPPE: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY 229
Fig. 2. Stratigraphic distribution of calpionellids and calcareous dinoflagellates and their correlation with the ammonoid zonation of the
230 LUKENEDER and REHÁKOVÁ
bon (TOC) content was calculated as the difference between
total carbon and carbonate carbon, assuming that all carbonate
is pure calcite. All the chemical analyses were carried out in
the laboratory of the Institute of Forest Ecology at the Univer-
sity of Vienna.
The material (Figs. 2, 45) originates from the Upper Aus-
trian Lower Cretaceous section KB1-A.
Conventions: NHMW Museum of Natural History Vienna.
DPV Department of Paleontology Vienna. The authors follow
the classification of the Cretaceous Ammonoidea by Wright et
al. (1996). All specimens are stored at the Museum of Natural
Ammonoids represent almost the totality of the macrofauna
(94 %). The ammonoids are poorly preserved and appear as
steinkerns without shell.
The ammonoid fauna from the Berriasian (red limestone) of
the Steinmühl Formation comprises in most cases material
from rock samples because of the very steep terrain. 46 am-
monoid specimens were observed.
The Lower Valanginian macrofauna consists of ammonoids
and comprises lytoceratids and phylloceratids, which are ac-
companied by brachiopods (e.g. pygopids). 21 ammonoids
from the Early Valanginian (uppermost meter of the Stein-
mühl Formation) were collected.
The very abundant but generally poorly preserved Late Val-
anginian assemblages consist of 9 genera: Phylloceras, Lyto-
ceras, Leptotetragonites, Protetragonites, Olcostephanus,
Neocomites, Neohoploceras, Rodighieroites, Bochianites.
About 250 ammonoids (mainly Olcostephanus guebhardi)
between 10 and 102 mm in diameter were collected and inves-
The calcium carbonate contents (CaCO
lated from total inorganic carbon) vary from 54 to 88 % with-
in the Schrambach Formation (bed 2 to 37) and from 88 to
96 % within the Steinmühl Formation (beds 15m to 1) (Fig.
3). As expected, the carbonate content decreased from the
lowermost Schrambach Formation upwards. Samples for
geochemical analysis were taken at the important facies
changes. The weight % TOC values vary between 0.2 and
7.3 % within the Schrambach Formation and between 0.1 %
and 10.2 % within the Steinmühl Formation. The total sulphur
content shows a positive correlation to the TOC values. The
Fig. 3. Geochemical parameters from the KB1-A section; carbonate (CaCO
) versus TOC (total organic carbon) and S (sulphur).
LOWER CRETACEOUS OF TERNBERG NAPPE: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY 231
Fig. 4. Typical Leiostraca (e.g. Lytoceratina and Phylloceratina) and Trychyostraca (e.g. Ammonitina and Ancyloceratina) from the Stein-
mühl Formation (Early BerriasianEarly Valanginian) and the Schrambach Formation (Late Valanginian). White arrows indicate last suture-
line. 1 Lytoceras sp., Steimühl Formation, Ammonitico rosso type, 2002z0043/0005. 2 Phylloceras sp., Steinmühl Formation, Am-
monitico rosso type, 2002z0043/0001. 3 Perisphinctid (indet.), Steinmühl Formation, Ammonitico rosso type, 2002z0043/0007. 4
Phylloceras sp., Steinmühl Formation, Maiolica type, bed 1, 2002z0043/0002. 5 Lytoceras sp., Steinmühl Formation, Maiolica type,
bed 1, 2002z0043/0006. 6 Phylloceras thetys (dOrbigny), Schrambach Formation, bed 4, 2002z0043/0003. 7 Lytoceras sp., Schram-
bach Formation, bed 7, 2002z0043/0004. 8 Neocomites (Neocomites) teschenensis (Uhlig), Schrambach Formation, bed 16, 2002z0043/
0008. 9 Olcostephanus guebhardi (Kilian) morph. type querolensis Bulot, Schrambach Formation, bed 10, 2002z0043/0009. 10 Lep-
totetragonites honnoratianus (dOrbigny), Schrambach Formation, bed 4, 2002z0043/0010. Scale bar: figures 12, 4, 7 = 4 cm; figures 3, 5,
9, 10 = 2 cm; figure 6 = 1 cm.
232 LUKENEDER and REHÁKOVÁ
Fig. 5. Microfacies of the Steinmühl Formation (Early BerriasianEarly Valanginian) and the Schrambach Formation (Late Valanginian).
1 Calpionellid wackestone to packstone, Calpionella alpina Lorenz is dominated in calpionellid association of the ferasini Subzone (lat-
est Early Berriasian). Sample No. 15, 2002z0043/0011. 2 Remaniella duranddelgai Pop in calpionellid wackestone of the ferasini Sub-
zone. Sample No. 15, 2002z0043/0012. 3 Remaniella borzai Pop, Calpionella alpina Lorenz, Calpionella elliptica Cadisch and
Schizosphaerella minutissima (Colom) in calpionellid wackestone of the elliptica Subzone (latest Middle Berriasian). Sample No. 9,
2002z0043/0013. 4 Tintinnopsella longa (Colom) and Calpionella elliptica Cadisch (right corner) in the calpionellid mudstone from the
topmost part of the elliptica Subzone of the Calpionella Zone. Sample 5A, 2002z0043/0014. 5 Calpionellid association of the Late Berri-
asian Calpionellopsis Zone (the index species Calpionellopsis simplex (Colom) is out of the picture). Sample 4, 2002z0043/0015. 6 Bio-
clastic packstone rich in echinoderms, bivalves, benthic lenticulinids, ostracods. Planktonic foraminifers and calpionellids of the Early Val-
anginian Calpionellites Zone is less abundant. Sample 3, 2002z0043/0016. 7 Tintinnopsella carpathica (Murgeanu et Filipescu) in
bioclastic limestone. Sample 3, 2002z0043/0017. 8 Nannoconid mudstone of the Tintinnopsella Zone (Late Valanginian) with sporadic
small fragments of crinoids, aptychi and ostracods. Sample 13, 2002z0043/0018.
LOWER CRETACEOUS OF TERNBERG NAPPE: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY 233
maximum amount of 1.5 mg/g sulphur corresponds to a marl
bed (bed 30) within the Schrambach Formation, whereas the
sulphur values within the Steinmühl Formation vary between
0.1 and 1.0 mg/g sulphur.
Microfossils and microfacial analysis
The evaluation of the thin sections indicates a change from
a calpionellid facies (15m to 2H, calpionellid wackestones) to
an echinoid facies (1.5H to 3, bioclactic wackestones). The
Schrambach Formation (samples 7 to 35) consists of mud-
stones with rare microfossils (e.g. echinids and foraminifers).
The data concerning microfossil fauna of the investigated out-
crop was also published by Lukeneder (1997, 2000). For sam-
ple numbers see Fig. 2.
Calpionellid wackestones (samples 15; 12.3; 12) contain
the fragments of echinoderms, ostracods, aptychi, foramini-
fers (Lenticulina sp., Spirillina sp.) and also calpionellids
dominated by spherical forms of Calpionella alpina Lorenz
over Tintinnopsella carpathica (Murgeanu et Filipescu), Re-
maniella ferasini (Catalano), Remaniella duranddelgai Pop,
Remaniella catalanoi Pop. The rock is locally rich in stylo-
lites. Stylolite solution zones are filled by iron minerals.
Overlying interval (samples from 9.2; 9A; 9B; 6.5; 5A; 5B)
consists of calpionellid, radiolarian-calpionellid wackestones
rarely also biopelloidal or pelloidal wackestone containing
calpionellids: Remaniella colomi (Colom), Remaniella du-
randdelgai Pop, Remaniella borzai Pop, Remaniella cadis-
chiana Pop, Remaniella filipescui Pop, Tintinnopsella car-
pathica (Murgeanu et Filipescu), Tintinnopsella longa
(Colom), Tintinnopsella subacuta (Colom), Calpionella alpi-
na Lorenz, Calpionella elliptica Cadisch, calcareous di-
noflagellates: Schizosphaerella minutissima (Colom), Cadosi-
na semiradiata fusca (Wanner), Cadosina semiradiata
semiradiata Wanner, and also rhynchoteuthid fragment,
crinoids, ostracods, aptychi, and Lenticulina sp. Locally, ma-
trix contains lenses and nests enriched in biodetritus (biotur-
bation or slight transport).
The calpionellid wackestone of sample 4 shows Calpionel-
lopsis simplex (Colom), Tintinnopsella carpathica (Murgeanu
et Filipescu), Remaniella cadischiana Pop, Remaniella du-
randdelgai Pop, Remaniella filipescui Pop, Calpionella alpi-
na Lorenz and Calpionella elliptica Cadisch.
The overlying intervals (samples + 1H; 1.5H + 5; + 1.5H)
also contain Calpionellopsis oblonga (Cadisch), index marker
of the Calpionellopsis Zone, the oblonga Subzone. Calpionel-
lid and pelloidal bioclastic wackestones comprise calcified
radiolarians, ostracods, echinoderms, cephalopod shells, fora-
miniferal fragments (Lenticulina sp., Dentalina sp., Patellina
sp., Glomospirella sp.), calpionellids Remaniella cadis-
chiana Pop, Remaniella filipescui Pop, Calpionellopsis ob-
longa (Cadisch), Tintinnopsella carpathica (Murgeanu et Fil-
ipescu), Tintinnopsella longa (Colom), Calpionella alpina
Lorenz, Calpionella minuta Houa, Lorenziella hungarica
Knauer. The matrix is rich in pyrite. Pelloidal bioclastic wack-
estone bears the marks of geopetal sediment infillings. Geo-
petal filled bivalve shale also contains calcite pseudomorphs
after gypsum or anhydrite, plus rare glauconite. The interval
studied can be correlated with the Nozdrovice Event sensu
Reháková (2000b). Its age is early Late and Late Berriasian.
Strata H green A; + H green B; 3; are represent by
bioclastic limestones (grainstones) with huge amounts of
crinoid, bivalve, brachiopod, aptychi fragments, benthic fora-
minifers (Lenticulina sp., Dentalina sp., Textularia sp., Oph-
talmidium sp., Gaudryina sp.), planktonic foraminifers (Fa-
gulekhensis (Gorbachik et Poroshina)), fragments of calcare-
ous algae Pseudocymopolia jurassica (Dragastan), rare
sections of Praecalpionellites murgeanui Pop, Calpionellites
darderi (Colom), Calpionellites major (Colom), Calpionel-
lites cf. coronata, Tintinnopsella longa (Colom), common
Calpionellopsis oblonga (Cadisch), Tintinnopsella carpathica
(Murgeanu et Filipescu), Calpionella minuta Houa, Cadosi-
na minuta Borza. Organic fragments are often penetrated by
pyrite, rare grains of spinel were identified in matrix.
There are several investigations proving erosion of strati-
graphicaly older strata. The matrix inside brachiopod shells
contains calpionellids of the oblonga, darderi and major Sub-
zones of the standard Calpionellopsis and Calpionellites
Zones. This interval resembles the Early Valanginian Oravice
Turbidite Event (Reháková 2000b).
Predominantly marly limestone strata of the Schrambach
Formation (sample 735) consist of locally bioturbated echino-
derm wackestone to mudstone containing crinoids, bryozoans,
globochaetes, ostracods, juvenile aptychi, fragments of rhyn-
cholites, algae fragments, calcareous dinoflagellates: Cadosi-
na semiradiata semiradiata Wanner, Cadosina semiradiata
fusca Wanner, Colomisphaera vogleri (Borza), Stomio-
sphaera wanneri Borza, Stomiosphaera echinata Nowak,
Carpistomiosphaera valanginiana Borza, foraminiferal frag-
ments Reophax sp., Dentalina sp., Ophtalmidium sp., Am-
mobaculites sp., Bolivinopsis sp., Lenticulina (Lenticulina)
espitalei Dieni et Massari, Lenticulina sp., Spirillina italica
Dieni et Massari, Spirillina sp., Patellina sp.; hardly deter-
mined calpionellid sections dominated by Tintinnopsella car-
pathica (Murgeanu et Filipescu). In several layers, bio-frag-
ments decrease in abundance, mudstone intervals are rich in
nannoplankton. Thin siliclastics layers/or lenses occur in the
section; sporadically also grains of spinels, glauconite and au-
thigenic pyrite are visible in the matrix. Locally, matrix is
penetrated by multiple fractures (filled by spary calcite).
The Lower Cretaceous KB1-A section shows percentages
of pelagic Lytoceratina and Phylloceratina (= Leiostraca;
smooth-shelled ammonoids) reaching approximally 35 % in
the lower Ammonitico rosso type limestone part of the
Steinmühl Formation, and up to 80 % in the upper Maiolica
type part, whereas they reach an average of 510 %, respec-
tively, in the overlying Schrambach Formation.
The ammonoid fauna from the red limestone of the Stein-
mühl Formation comprises in most cases material from rock
samples because of the very steep terrain. The bad preserva-
tion of the ammonoids hinders identification to species level.
The following ammonoids were observed: Phylloceras sp.,
Lytoceras sp., ?Oppelia sp., and numerous perisphinctids. In
most of the phylloceratids and lytoceratids, body chambers
are missing. They reach a maximum size of about 30 centime-
ters (in lytoceratids and phylloceratids; see Fig. 4). Several
234 LUKENEDER and REHÁKOVÁ
specimens of Lamellaptychus and pygopids complete the
The overlying Maiolica complex comprises a diverse
macrofauna with ammonoids, belemnites, echinoids, and bra-
chiopods. The uppermost meter of the Steinmühl Formation is
of decimeter bedded grey Maiolica-like limestone and con-
tains the following ammonoids (see Fig. 4): Phylloceras sp.,
Lytoceras sp., and Leptotetragonites sp. The maximum size of
the cephalopods reaches approx. 10 centimeters. The speci-
mens often show encrustation (e.g. crinoids) and borings (e.g.
Acrothoracica; Lukeneder 1999). In few cases only body
chambers are preserved. Lukeneder (2002) reported a charac-
teristic faunal element of this uppermost layer on a compara-
ble small square of about 30 cm
, formed by the abundant
double-valved brachiopod Pygope catulloi Pictet (7 speci-
The lowermost 3 m of the Schrambach Formation yielded
an extraordinarily rich and diverse invertebrate fauna consist-
ing mainly of ammonoids, aptychi and belemnites. The am-
monoids are often badly preserved, occurring as crushed inter-
nal moulds affected by bioturbation. Sexual dimorphism is
observed in Olcostephanus (Lukeneder 2004). Many of the
investigated specimens show fragmentation. Juvenile stages
and the ventral area can be observed in just a few specimens.
No suture lines are visible on the steinkerns. The abundant
cephalopods are: Phylloceras tethys (dOrbigny), Phylloceras
sp., Lytoceras subfimbriatum (dOrbigny), Lytoceras sp., Lep-
totetragonites honnoratianus (dOrbigny), Protetragonites
quadrisulcatus (dOrbigny), Olcostephanus (Olcostephanus)
guebhardi (Kilian) morph. type querolensis Bulot, Neo-
comites (Neocomites) teschenensis (Uhlig), Neocomites (Neo-
comites) cf. neocomiensis (dOrbigny), Neocomites (Teschen-
ites) cf. neocomiensiformis (Uhlig), Bochianites neocomiensis
(dOrbigny), Neohoploceras sp., Rodighieroites sp., Pseudo-
belus bipartitus (Blainville), Lamellaptychus cf. retroflexus
(Trauth), Lamellaptychus cf. symphysocostatus (Trauth).
Additionally, ophiurids, echinoids, phyllocrinids, bryozo-
ans, brachiopods (Pygope catulloi Pictet), ostracods, ser-
pulids, and bivalves (inoceramids) occur. The fauna was de-
scribed by Lukeneder & Harzhauser (2002). Moreover, rare
vertebrate remains such as unidentified fish debris, scales,
teeth and 1 shark tooth of Sphenodus sp. are recorded.
Amongst the trace fossils, Chondrites and Zoophycos are the
The stratigraphy of the sequence studied was supported by
the scale of calpionellid and calcareous dinoflagellate distri-
bution (Reháková & Michalík 1997; Reháková 2000a) as well
as by the ammonoid zonation scale proposed by Hoedemaek-
er & Rawson (2000). Calpionellids and calcareous dinoflagel-
lates indicate Early Berriasian to Late Berriasian age (based
on the standard Calpionella and Calpionellopsis Zones) of the
lower part of the Steinmühl Formation (Lukeneder 2000)
(Figs. 2 and 3).
Within the upper part of the Steinmühl Formation well pre-
served calpionellids (mainly the association of the standard
Calpionellites Zone) and dinoflagellates enabled a detailed
stratigraphical correlation, and therefore this part is dated as
Early Valanginian. A small biostratigraphic gap in the calpi-
onellid subzonation between the Steinmühl- and the Schram-
bach Formations show a condensation (omission) after the ac-
cumulation of the topmost bed of the Maiolica type
The lowermost part of the Schrambach Formation contains
ammonoids of the verrucosum Zone, the lowermost of three
known Late Valanginian ammonoid zones (duration 3.5 Ma,
after Gradstein et al. 1999). This part was dated by Lukeneder
(1999, 2001) as Late Valanginian (stratigraphy according to
Hoedemaeker & Rawson 2000). New data allow an even bet-
ter biostratigraphic resolution. The diverse cephalopod fauna
clearly indicates the verrucosum Zone in the early Late Val-
anginian. The association indicates the pronecostatum Sub-
zone and/or the peregrinus Subzone. The biostratigraphically
indicative cephalopods are described in Lukeneder (2001) and
Lukeneder & Harzhauser (2002). The calpionellids give evi-
dence to the Late Valanginian age (Tintinnopsella Zone).
Interpretation of paleoenvironmental conditions
According to Caracuel et al. (1997), the deposition of nodu-
lar-marly (lower energy), nodular-calcareous and pseudono-
dular-calcareous-massive (higher energy) Ammonitico-rosso
facies was controlled by a combination of productivity and
hydrodynamics, related to fluctuations in relative sea level
(see also Cecca 1992; Cecca et al. 1993, 1994; Krobicki
1993). It is assumed that the Steinmühl Formation was depos-
ited on a distal pelagic-swell system or epioceanic plateau.
The overlying Schrambach Formation marks a change in pe-
lagic sedimentation above the more energetic and probably
somewhat shallower red limestone facies.
Pure calpionellid wackestone passes to pelloidal bioclastic
(e.g. crinoids, foraminifers, ostracods, juvenile ammonoids,
bivalves, calpionellids) limestone. Wackestone of Calpionel-
lopsis Zone (oblonga Subzone) situated at the base of the
Maiolica-like limestone, bears irregular fenestrae and geo-
petal filled bivalve shell with calcite pseudomorphs (replacing
?anhydrite). The matrix contains also glauconite (not very fre-
quent). Features mentioned reflect erosional and current activ-
ities and may be linked with the sea-level falling. Reháková
(2000b) correlated a distinct breccia accumulation, known as
the Nozdrovice Breccia (Borza et al. 1980), with a significant
rapid third-order sea-level fall (= type 1 sequence boundary
B7) (Haq et al. 1988) at the end of the Late Berriasian Calpi-
onellopsis Zone and called it the Nozdrovice Event.
The accumulation of abundant brachiopod shells (dominat-
ed by Pygope cattuloi; Lukeneder 2000) observed in the light
grey bioclastic limestones at the topmost part of the Steinmühl
Formation, just below the boundary to the Schrambach For-
mation, may reflect a further Early Valanginian phase of sea
The sudden appearance of siliclastic inputs in Lower Val-
anginian basinal deposits Reháková (2000b) correlated with a
rapid third-order sea-level fall (= type 1 sequence boundary
Va4) and called it the Oravice Event. The latter author stat-
ed that this abrupt change in environmental conditions wiped
LOWER CRETACEOUS OF TERNBERG NAPPE: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND PALEOECOLOGY 235
out the calpionellids almost throughout the Tethyan region
According to Kázmér (1990, 1993, 1998) the pygopid
forms of catulloi/diphya pair are more successful in deep-wa-
ter bathyal environment. Predominantly packstones to grain-
stones are rich in crinoids, common bivalves, aptychi, and
brachiopod fragments. The macrofauna of the Maiolica-like
limestone (sample number 1.5H to 3) is dominated by brachi-
opods (n = 7, with shell preservation), by sculpture-moulds of
rare ammonoids (n = 21) and belemnites (with Acrothoracica
burrows; Lukeneder 1999). Benthic settlement of the maiolica
sea bottom was not prevented by a soft bottom, but instead, by
a stratified water column above it (Hay 2002). Therefore, oxy-
genated waters could reach the surface of the bottom after
(partial) removal of a warm hypersaline water layer sinking
from shelves into deep water level.
The matrix inside of the brachiopod shells contains calpi-
onellids of standard Calpionellopsis and Calpionellites Zones
(oblonga, darderi and major Subzones), which hints at a pre-
sumed reflection of either condensation or erosion (?coevent
of Oravice Event sensu Reháková 2000b). The rich microfau-
na consisting of numerous elements of ophiurids, echinoids
and crinoids is unexpectedly well-preserved. Furthermore, a
large number of ostracods contributes to the autochthonous
fauna, while radiolarians and planktonic favusellid foramini-
fers (suggest open marine conditions). Partly eroded ammo-
nites with encrusting crinoids on their outer shell surface indi-
cate quiet depositional conditions and low sedimentation rates
(Lukeneder 2001). This favoured the building of a firm- to
hardground, which allowed the pygopids and other epifaunal
elements to settle on the sea-floor (Lukeneder 2002).
The macrofauna of the lowermost Schrambach Formation
(Olcostephanus-Level, approx. 3 m) is predominated by
sculpture-moulds of cephalopods, rare belemnites and scat-
tered echinoderms. For a detailed interpretation of the
Schrambach Formation see Lukeneder (2001) and Lukeneder
& Harzhauser (2002). Due to new investigations the latter au-
thors interpreted the fauna of the Late Valanginian section as
a mixed assemblage, comprising transported elements from
the shallower shelf and autochthonous benthic and parautoch-
thonous pelagic elements from the open sea (Lukeneder 2004;
Lukeneder & Harzhauser 2002, 2003).
Thin sections and microfossil material from the KB1 se-
quence clearly show that the different lithologies around the
marked lithological change from the Early Berriasian to the
Late Valanginian are consequences of changes in the pale-
oceanography: they reflect sea-level fluctuations during the
Berriasian and Valanginian ages (Fig. 6).
As noted by Reháková (2000b), calpionellids and calcare-
ous dinoflagellates are apparently sensitive to a whole com-
plex of environmental changes such as climate perturbations,
sea-level fluctuations and nutrient distribution. Changes of
environmental conditions are clearly reflected in relative
abundances of species, in wall structure and thickness, as well
as in species diversity (Reháková 2000b).
A series of diversification and extinction events recorded by
calpionellids and calcareous dinoflagellates reflect the major
environmental changes. Mass abundances of these microfos-
sils were closely connected to elevated zones and shallow in-
trashelf basins opened to nutrient-bringing currents. If the
changes in abundance and diversity of the latter microfossil
groups are compared with eustatic fluctuations (Haq et al.
1988), then it seems likely that these bio-events were con-
trolled by such pulses. While transgressions were favourable
for the development of planktonic organisms, their acmes
were controlled by sea-level highstands. On the other hand,
Fig. 6. Comparison of regional events described from the Western Carpathians (after Reháková 2000b) with the section of KB1-A
(eustatic curves, microfacies, phylloceratid/lytoceratid share and sedimentation rate).
236 LUKENEDER and REHÁKOVÁ
during regressions, several distinct diversity-reduction events
were recorded within the microplanktonic groups studied (Re-
háková 2000b). Additionally, it has to be noted, that the abun-
dance can also be controlled by the sedimentation rate and the
dilution of carbonate mud exported from platforms, as it was
evoked for nannofossils (Mattioli & Pittet 2002).
Reháková (2001) also showed that the oblique-wall-type
calcareous dinoflagellates dominated during transgressive and
highstand intervals, whereas tangential or radial-wall-type
calcareous dinoflagellates were dominant during regressions;
the latter in addition suffered several distinct reductions in di-
versity. According to the author mentioned above, these eco-
logical calcidinocyst events, caused by the blooming of a sin-
gle species (predominance of forms with an oblique wall
structure), might be related to intervals with warm climate.
Several compositional changes in dinoflagellate and calpio-
nellid assemblages (bio-events), which are explained by
eustatic sea-level fluctuations in the Western Carpathians
(Early Cretaceous; Late Berriasian and Early Valanginian),
can be observed in the Austrian KB1-A (Northern Calcareous
The two events, the Nozdrovice Event (Nozdrovice Brec-
cia) at the end of the Late Berriasian Calpionellopsis Zone ex-
plained by a regressive phase and the Oravice Event (Early
Valanginian), also explained by a rapid sea-level lowering.
Both phases manifested in the Nozdrovice and Oravice
Events, at the approximate end of the Late Berriasian and the
end of the Early Valanginian, are evident in the KB1 section.
The first one situated at the base of the Maiolica-like lime-
stone is represented by pelloidal bioclastic wackestones of
Calpionellopsis Zone (oblonga Subzone) bearing marks of
geopetal infillings, pseudomorphs after ?anhydrite and also
containing glauconite spreading in matrix. Its occurrence co-
incides with the Nozdrovice Event.
The second one, at the top of the Maiolica-like, consisting
of light grey bioclastic limestones at the topmost Steinmühl
Formation, contains abundant Pygope catulloi (Fig. 6). This
interval is not a transition, but in fact an independent step and
is most probably joined with a distinct Early Valanginian sea-
level fall (Oravice Event). The last one was followed by a
huge sea level rise, manifested in the Late Valanginian (verru-
cosum Zone) succession of the lowermost Schrambach For-
mation; it is formed by light grey spotted limestones with
marly intercalations, which are very fossiliferous in micro-
The evaluation of the thin section indicates a change from
the calpionellid facies (lower part of the Ammonitico rosso
type limestone), to an echinoid facies (upper part of the Stein-
mühl Formation) up to nannoconic facies (the Schrambach
Formation) with rare echinids and foraminifers.
The beds with abundant brachiopod Pygope catulloi (Py-
gope-Bed) reflect a phase of rapid sea-level fall. The Pygope
accumulation, partly eroded ammonoids with crinoidal epi-
faunas, belemnites with Acrothoracica burrows, as well as the
probably small biostratigraphic gap in the calpionellid subzo-
nation between the Steinmühl and Schrambach Formations
show a sedimentation stop (omission) during the pygopid ac-
cumulation. This favoured the building of a firm- to hard-
ground, which allowed the pygopids and other epifaunal ele-
ments to settle on the sea-floor. The associated calpionellid
fauna indicates an Early Valanginian (Calpionellites Zone;
major Subzone) age of the Pygope catulloi-bearing bed. Thus,
the occurrence of abundant pygopids and the additional analy-
sis of the micro- and macrofauna support the interpretation of
a hardground paleoenvironment on a swell of the outer shelf.
Acknowledgments: Thanks are due to the Austrian Science
Fund (FWF) for financial support (Project P13641-Geo and
P16100-N06) as well as the Slovak Grant Agency VEGA
(Project 2/2074/22). Sincere thanks are extended to Herbert
Summesberger (Vienna) and Leopold Krystyn (Vienna) for
their valuable and constructive comments on the manuscript.
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Hoedemaeker (Leiden), Stephane Reboulet (Lyon), and
Zdenìk Vaíèek (Ostrava), for their thoughtful and valuable
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