REEF-MICROENCRUSTERS OF THE OUTER WESTERN CARPATHIANS (POLAND) 449
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 55, 6, BRATISLAVA, DECEMBER 2004
REEF-MICROENCRUSTERS ASSOCIATION LITHOCODIUM
AGGREGATUMBACINELLA IRREGULARIS FROM THE CIESZYN
LIMESTONE (TITHONIANBERRIASIAN) OF THE
OUTER WESTERN CARPATHIANS (POLAND)
JACEK MATYSZKIEWICZ and TADEUSZ S£OMKA
Faculty of Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Protection, AGH University of Science and Technology, al. Mickiewicza 30,
30-059 Kraków, Poland; email@example.com
(Manuscript received April 11, 2003; accepted in revised form December 16, 2003)
Abstract: Debris-flow sediments belonging to the Upper Cieszyn Limestone (Berriasian) are exposed near ¯ywiec
(Polish part of the Outer Western Carpathians). The debris-flow sediments include clasts of bioclastic limestones
(boundstones) derived from both microbial-sponge mud mounds and coral-algal reefs. The microencruster assemblage
Lithocodium aggregatumBacinella irregularis has been found in clasts from coral-algal reefs. This assemblage un-
equivocally proves the presence of shallowing-upward reefal sequences on the Silesian Ridge. The development of the
coral-algal reefs was probably a consequence of intense aggradational growth of microbolite-sponge mud mounds,
accompanied by intense uplift movements of the neo-Cimmerian phase.
Key words: Outer Western Carpathians, Cieszyn Limestone, coral-algal reef, microbial-sponge facies, Lithocodium
aggregatum, Bacinella irregularis.
The Cieszyn Beds, present in the western part of the Polish
Outer Western Carpathians, are divided into the Lower
Cieszyn Shales, Lower Cieszyn Limestone, Upper Cieszyn
Shales and Upper Cieszyn Limestone (Peszat 1967; Eliá
1970; Malik 1986; S³omka 1986a,b, 2001). They are Kim-
meridgianValanginian in age. Exotic clasts of the Cieszyn
Beds have been deposited in the Silesian Basin, probably of
pull-apart origin, bounded in the north by the Inwa³d Eleva-
tion and in the south by the Silesian Elevation (cf. Peszat
1967; S³omka 1986a; Matyszkiewicz & S³omka 1994; Olsze-
wska & Wieczorek 2001). Both elevations were probably
broad ridges. Initially, in Kimmeridgian and Early Tithonian
time, clastic material came to the basin mainly from the Ba-
ka-Inwa³d Ridge. In the Late Tithonian, the importance of the
Silesian Ridge began to increase in importance as the source
area (Matyszkiewicz & S³omka 1994).
The Upper Cieszyn Limestone (Berriasian) in the area near
¯ywiec (Fig. 1) is represented by debris flows (Ksi¹¿kiewicz
1958; S³omka 1986b, 2001). The debris-flow deposits ex-
posed in the bed of the Lenianka stream at Lena (Fig. 2) in-
clude clasts derived from erosion of microbial-sponge mud
mounds and from coral-algal reefs. The latter have been found
to include an association of microencrusters Lithocodium ag-
gregatumBacinella irregularis, accompanied by a typical
shallow-water assemblage of algae Solenopora sp., Cayeuxia
sp. and microproblematicum Koskinobullina socialis Cherchi
et Schroeder, 1979.
The taxonomic affinity of Lithocodium aggregatum Elliott,
1956 is unclear. Schmid & Leinfelder (1996) include it in the
encrusting foraminifers of the family Loftusiaceae. According
to Moussavian (in Koch et al. 2002), these forms are akin to
boring sponges. The assemblage with Lithocodium aggrega-
tum also includes abundant Bacinella irregularis Radoièiæ,
1959, attributed to cyanobacteria (Schäfer & Senowbari-Dary-
an 1983; Schmid 1996), or regarded as one organism with Li-
thocodium (Segonzac & Marin 1972; Koch et al. 2002).
The assemblage LithocodiumBacinella in fossil sediments
unequivocally identifies a shallow-water, reefal or lagoonal
environment of normal salinity and moderate or elevated wa-
ter energy (Schmid & Leinfelder 1996; Dupraz & Strasser
1999, 2002). The assemblage LithocodiumBacinella is some-
times accompanied by the boring foraminifer Troglotella in-
crustans Wernli et Fookes, 1992 (Schmid 1996; Schmid &
Leinfelder 1996; Ko³odziej 1997; Dupraz & Strasser 1999;
Matyszkiewicz & Krajewski 2003), which proves a phase of
bioerosion of the carbonate buildups. Neuweiler & Reitner
(1992) regarding Lithocodium and Bacinella as synonyms
relate the mass occurrence of Lithocodium aggregatum to
eutrophication of the environment or increase in seawater al-
kalinity. Dupraz & Strasser (2002) propose the opposite inter-
pretation of the LithocodiumBacinella association, which
seems to prefer nutrient limited (oligotrophic) environments.
This interpretation is not only based on microencruster associ-
ation, but also on coral and other macrofauna species, bioero-
sion and sedimentation evidence. The presence of the mi-
croencruster assemblage LithocodiumBacinella is especially
important in those sediments for which bathymetric interpreta-
tion is problematic (cf. Neuweiler & Reitner 1992; Matyszk-
iewicz & Krajewski 2003).
The LithocodiumBacinella association has been repeatedly
described from Upper Jurassic platform deposits of the north-
ern Tethys margin (Dragastan 1985; Leinfelder 1986; Golon-
450 MATYSZKIEWICZ AND S£OMKA
ka 1970; cf. Barthel et al. 1971; Leinfelder et al. 1993, 1994;
Schmid & Leinfelder 1995, 1996; Herrmann 1996; Schmid
1996; Hoffmann et al. 1997; Helm & Schülke 1998, 1999;
Dupraz & Strasser 1999, 2002; Krajewski 2001; Matysz-
kiewicz & Krajewski 2003) and from the North Atlantic
shelves (cf. Hüssner 1985; Leinfelder 1992; Leinfelder et al.
1993; Ourribane et al. 2000), where it is commonly encoun-
tered in coral-algal facies (Leinfelder et al. 1993; Dupraz &
Strasser 1999, 2002; Ourribane et al. 2000). Recently, the
same assemblage has been also found in deposits of the Upper
Jurassic microbial megafacies of the northern Tethys margin
(Matyszkiewicz & Krajewski 2003).
Fig. 1. Location of studied area (rectangled) with positions of tramberk and Bachowice (black arrows).
A shallow-water assemblage of reefal organisms from exot-
ic limestones of the Silesian Unit of the Western Carpathians
was mentioned by Miík (1979), Eliáová (1981), Eliá &
Eliáová (1984), Hoffmann (1992), Ko³odziej (1997), Soták &
Miík (1997) and Olszewska & Wieczorek (2001). The Li-
thocodiumBacinella association has been not hitherto report-
ed from the Cieszyn Limestone exotics, though the presence
of shallow-water, high-energy sedimentary environments has
been proven (Matyszkiewicz & S³omka 1994). Olszewska &
Wieczorek (2001) have described exotics with the Lithocodi-
umBacinella assemblage in the so called Inwa³d lime-
stones. The Inwa³d Elevation, which formed the northern
REEF-MICROENCRUSTERS OF THE OUTER WESTERN CARPATHIANS (POLAND) 451
Fig. 2. Lithostratigraphic profile of the Cieszyn Beds in the
¯ywiec area and position of the Silesian pull-apart (?) Basin near
the transition between the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages. Arrow in-
dicates the position of the debris flow described in the text.
margin of the Silesian Basin, was proposed as the source of
these exotics (Fig. 2).
Material and methods
The investigated exotic blocks in debris flow sediments
have been found in one locality, in the bed of the Lenianka
stream at Lena (Fig. 2). The debris flow layers vary in thick-
ness from 30 to 100 cm. They include locally clasts of bioclas-
tic limestones up to 0.5 m in size. About 40 samples have been
taken in the layers.
The main method of the study was microfacies analysis,
supplemented by mesoscopic observations of polished sec-
tions. In large samples, more than one thin section have been
made to better control the variability. The microfacies analysis
was performed on 46 thin sections of standard size.
Limestone exotics from the Lenianka stream section are
rudstones with limestone intraclasts up to 1.5 cm in diameter
embedded in blocky calcite cement (Fig. 3A). Also embedded
in the cement are rare quartz grains up to 1 mm in diameter
and echinoderm plates with syntaxial overgrowths. Two major
facies types are present in intraclasts within one exotic block:
the microbial-sponge facies and the coral-algal facies
The microbial-sponge facies is represented by intraclasts of
microbolitic-sponge boundstones, wackestones and pack-
stones, embedded in blocky calcite cement. The shapes of
some microclasts are highly irregular, with numerous process-
es and indentations (Fig. 3A).
Calcified skeletons of siliceous hexactinellid sponges
(Fig. 4D,F), polychaetes Terebella lapilloides (Fig. 4D) and
unidentified benthic foraminifers are clearly discernible in mi-
crobolitic-sponge boundstones. Voids up to 1.5 mm in diame-
ter, filled with dolomitic vadose crystal silt and cemented with
Fe oxides are present at the grain boundaries (Fig. 4F). Some
intraclasts consist of layered thrombolite (cf. Aitken 1967;
Kennard & James 1986; Schmid 1996; Shapiro 2000), gradu-
ally passing to wackestone.
Wackestone intraclasts probably represent fragments of the
sediment between the microbolite-sponge associations, which
formed the rigid framework of the buildups. The wackestones
include abundant dispersed fine (up to 0.2 mm in diameter)
autigenic quartz grains and borings filled with dolomitic va-
dose crystal silt (Fig. 4E). Crystals of dedolomite calcite
bound by Fe oxides are also locally present. The dolomite and
dedolomite calcite crystals do not exceed 0.1 mm in diameter
(Fig. 4E). Preserved boring organisms include the sponge Aka
sp. (Fig. 4B; cf. Reitner & Keupp 1991). Irregular patches of
epigenetic pyrite are also present locally.
Packstone intraclasts are a subordinate facies variety of the
microbial-sponge facies. Its components include calcified spi-
cules of siliceous sponges, small oncoids, indetermined benth-
ic foraminifers and sporadic calcispheres.
The coral-algal facies is represented by regularly shaped
rounded intraclasts of coral-algal framestone (Fig. 3A). The
main components are massive recrystallized scleractinian cor-
als (Fig. 3B,C), accompanied by red algae Solenopora sp.
(Fig. 4C), microproblematicum Koskinobullina socialis
(Fig. 4A; cf. Cherchi & Schroeder 1979, 1985), Cayeuxia sp.
and Bacinella irregularis (Figs. 3B, 4A,C) belonging to the
Cyanophyceae and the microencruster assemblage Lithocodi-
umBacinella (Fig. 3C).
Massive skeletons of scleractinian corals with strongly
obliterated internal structure are commonly encrusted by mi-
croencruster assemblages. Lithocodium encrusts mainly outer
surfaces of corallites (Fig. 3C) while Bacinella fills spaces be-
tween the septa and growth voids within the reef framework
452 MATYSZKIEWICZ AND S£OMKA
Fig. 3. Microfacies of exotic blocks from the Lenianka stream section at Lena. A Rudstone with intraclasts of microbial-sponge (M) and
coral-algal (CA) facies in blocky sparite calcite cement. Irregular shapes of some intraclasts are due to aggradational neomorphism. Scale
bar is 5 mm long. B Bacinella irregularis Radoièiæ, 1959, fills voids in a scleractinian coral. Coral-algal facies. Scale bar is 0.8 mm long.
C Lithocodium aggregatum assemblage (upper right corner)Bacinella irregularis. Bacinella partly fills voids between the septa in a
scleractinian coral. Coral-algal facies. Scale bar is 0.8 mm long.
REEF-MICROENCRUSTERS OF THE OUTER WESTERN CARPATHIANS (POLAND) 453
(Fig. 3B,C; cf. Ourribane et al. 2000). Lithocodium aggrega-
tum includes sporadic bubble-like structures, which may rep-
resent the commensalic foraminifers Troglotella incrustans
(superfamily Hormosinacea). Juvenile forms of these foramin-
ifers bored into the carbonate substrate and were commensal
with Lithocodium aggregatum (Schmid & Leinfelder 1996;
Dupraz & Strasser 1999). A part of the growth voids are set-
tled by microproblematicum Koskinobullina socialis (Fig. 4A)
and the cyanobacteria Cayeuxia sp. The coral-algal facies intra-
clasts also include large, up to ca. 1 cm in diameter, fragments
of Solenopora sp., whose outer surfaces are encrusted by the
Bacinella irregularis (Fig. 4C).
Discussion and conclusions
The concurrence in one exotic block of intraclasts of the mi-
crobial-sponge and coral-algal facies (Fig. 3A) indicates the
presence of both typical microbolite-sponge buildups and cor-
al-algal ones on the Silesian Ridge (cf. Matyszkiewicz &
S³omka 1994). The lithology of the microbolite-sponge build-
ups is similar to their equivalents in platform sediments of the
microbial megafacies (cf. Gwinner 1971; Matyszkiewicz
1997) of the Oxfordian-Kimmeridgian transition, known from
the southern part of the Silesian-Kraków Monocline (cf.
Matyszkiewicz 1997, 1999, 2001; Krajewski 2001; Matysz-
kiewicz & Krajewski 2003). This monocline is adjacent to the
Carpathian Foredeep from the north (Fig. 1) and in Late Juras-
sic time it was part of the northern stable shelf of the Tethys.
The age of the sediments from which the intraclasts were de-
rived is difficult to establish because of the lack of index fos-
sils. The presence of the microbial megafacies suggests that
the clasts are not older than Late Jurassic and represent a high-
er, KimmeridgianTithonian part of the Jurassic or earliest
Cretaceous (cf. Darga & Schlagintweit 1991; Moshammer &
Schlagintweit 1999; Schlagintweit & Ebli 1999; Schlagint-
weit & Gawlik 2003).
Coral-algal reefs similar to those described from the exotic
blocks in the ¯ywiec area do not occur in the nearby foreland
of the Carpathians. However, quite numerous occurrences of
debris of coral-algal limestones are known from the Upper Ju-
rassic deposits in the southern part of the Silesian-Kraków
Monocline (Matyszkiewicz 1993, 1997; Krajewski 2001;
Matyszkiewicz & Krajewski 2003). Typical coral-algal reefs
have been reported by Olszewska (2001) from boreholes
reaching the basement of the Outer Carpathian flysch nappes.
The exotic blocks from the Lenianka stream section clearly
differ from those found at Bachowice (Ksi¹¿kiewicz 1956),
which were laid down in a basin situated north of the Inwa³d
Elevation (Fig. 2; cf. Olszewska & Wieczorek 2001).
According to Matyszkiewicz & S³omka (1994), two belts of
carbonate buildups were present on the Silesian Ridge: a
deeper belt of microbolite-sponge buildups and a shallower
one, represented by coral-algal reefs. The new findings of ex-
otics and results of microfacies studies on the Upper Jurassic
deposits in the southern part of the Kraków-Wieluñ Upland
(Matyszkiewicz 1997; Krajewski 2001; Matyszkiewicz &
Krajewski 2003) provide foundations for a new, alternative
model of carbonate buildup distribution on the Silesian Eleva-
tion. This model accepts the presence of only one belt of the
buildups, which underwent transformation from microbolite-
sponge mud mounds to coral-algal reefs. Numerous examples
of continuous transition from microbolite-sponge buildups to
classical coral reefs have been described in literature (Steiger
& Jansa 1984; Leinfelder et al. 1993; Leinfelder & Keupp
1995; Herrmann 1996; Ourribane et al. 2000; Schmid et al.
2001) and attributed to rapid aggradational growth not com-
pensated by subsidence.
The rise of the microbolite-sponge buildups to the wave
base depth, certainly within the euphotic zone, should be ac-
companied by a marked change in biocenoses, so that the next
step in the ecological succession would be spectacular re-
placement of the microbolite-sponge buildups by coral-algal
reefs (cf. Leinfelder 1993; Leinfelder & Keupp 1995; Lein-
felder & Schmid 2000; Schmid et al. 2001). The intense water
movement caused appearance of numerous encrusting organ-
isms. The appearance of the Lithocodium aggregatumBa-
cinella irregularis assemblage is an unequivocal indication of
shallow oligotrophic environment (Dupraz & Strasser 2002).
These could grow in shallow-water, highly energetic olig-
otrophic conditions due to their ability to penetrate the sub-
Before the settlement of the coral-algal biocenoses, a phase
of bioerosion occurred at the tops of the microbolite-sponge
carbonate buildups (cf. Matyszkiewicz & Krajewski 2003),
documented by numerous borings preserved in exotic blocks.
Intense bioerosion combined with mechanical erosion above
the wave base contributed to the destruction of the higher
parts of the carbonate buildups. The presence of the Aka sp.
sponges (Fig. 4B), adapted to boring exclusively in carbonate
substrates, indicates that bioerosion occurred after the replace-
ment of silica by calcite in the siliceous sponge skeletons, that
is after early diagenesis (cf. Reitner & Keupp 1991; Matysz-
The microbial-sponge carbonate buildups were probably
briefly emerged after the phase of intense bioerosion and be-
fore their colonization by coral-algal biocenoses. This is indi-
cated by the presence of vadose crystal silt (cf. Aissaoui &
Purser 1983) composed of dolomite and dedolomite calcite
crystals, which fills borings only in the intraclasts of the mi-
The presence of the dolomite crystals in the vadose silt is
probably related to erosion of early diagenetic dolomites of
unclear origin. It is possible that the dolomitization was taking
place in the zone of mixing of fresh and saline waters (cf.
Matyszkiewicz & S³omka 1994), or that it was caused by sed-
iment interaction with migrating pore waters rich in magne-
sium. The migration could be due to differential compaction
of carbonate buildups and the sediments filling the bottom
lows between the buildups (cf. Reinhold 1998; Matysz-
The dedolomite calcite in the vadose crystal silt originated
probably during short subaerial exposure of the higher parts
of the carbonate buildups (Meder 1987; cf. Matyszkiewicz
1989; Matyszkiewicz & S³omka 1994). The emergence was
probably caused by intense uplift within the Silesian Eleva-
tion during the neo-Cimmerian phase (Rakús 1996; Krobicki
& S³omka 1999).
454 MATYSZKIEWICZ AND S£OMKA
Fig. 4. Microfacies of exotic blocks from the Lenianka stream section at Lena. Scale bar is 0.5 mm long. A Growth void in coral-al-
gal reef, filled by the microproblematicum Koskinobullina socialis Cherchi et Schroeder, 1979. The microbolite lamina on the wall of the
growth void is a microbolite crust. Borings that reach the void (arrows) are filled by Bacinella irregularis Radoièiæ, 1959. Coral-algal fa-
cies. B Aka sp. An excavating sponge within a calcified siliceous sponge. Microbial-sponge facies. C Red algae Solenopora sp.
with encrusting Bacinella irregularis Radoièiæ, 1959 (at bottom). Coral-algal facies. D Intraclast of microbolitic-sponge boundstone.
Preserved fragments of the calcified skeleton of a hexactinellid sponge are visible. Terebella lapilloides in the upper left corner. Microbi-
al-sponge facies. E Boring filled with dolomitic vadose crystal silt (in central part). The crystals of dolomite and dedolomite calcite
are present in cement composed of Fe oxides. Microbial-sponge facies. F Dolomitized vadose crystal silt fills fine borings in a calci-
fied skeleton of a hexactinellid siliceous sponge. Microbial-sponge facies.
REEF-MICROENCRUSTERS OF THE OUTER WESTERN CARPATHIANS (POLAND) 455
The growth of the coral-algal reefs did not occur before the
brief exposure. Organic growth clearly predominated over
bioerosion in the reefs, as is proven by the presence of only a
few boring foraminifers Troglotella incrustans (cf. Schmid &
Leinfelder 1996; Ko³odziej 1997; Dupraz & Strasser 1999).
The presence of numerous processes and indentations in the
clasts of the microbial megafacies is the result of intense late
diagenetic aggradational neomorphism during burial, result-
ing in transformation of the micritic matrix into blocky calcite
cement. The intense aggradational neomorphism is also indi-
cated by the presence of echinoderm debris encrusted with
syntaxial cement. This debris forms the only bioclasts present
in the blocky calcite cement, preserved due to their relatively
high resistivity to recrystallization and neomorphism (cf. Hu-
ber 1987; Logan & Semeniuk 1976).
Acknowledgments: The authors express their sincere thanks
to Professor B. Olszewska, Dr J. Golonka, Dr K. Król and Dr
M. Krajewski for discussion and valuable comments, to B.
Go³êbiowska M.Sc. and Ing. S. Konopacki for making the
photographs, and to Mrs M. Kumierek for making the draw-
ings. We are indebted to the reviewers Dr C. Dupraz and Dr
D. Schmid for their very thorough and helpful reviews. The
work was funded by the State Committee for Scientific Re-
search Grant No. 6P04D03221.
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