GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, APRIL 2005, 56, 2, 155167
Palynology of the Eocene-Oligocene transition in the marginal
zone of the Magura Nappe at Folusz (Western Carpathians,
and STANIS£AW LESZCZYÑSKI
Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Senacka 1, 31-002 Kraków, Poland; email@example.com
Institute of Geological Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Oleandry 2a, 30-063 Kraków, Poland
(Manuscript received July 10, 2003; accepted in revised form June 16, 2004)
Abstract: Palynological investigations of the deep-marine Upper EoceneLower Oligocene, mainly turbiditic and
hemipelagic sediments exposed at Folusz (Siary Zone of Magura Nappe, Polish part of the Western Carpathians), re-
vealed a prevalence of land plant remains in the palynofacies. Dinoflagellate cysts are the most frequent among marine
palynomorphs. A Priabonian age is found in the lower part of the Szymbark Shale; a Rupelian age is determined for the
investigated part of the Magura Beds. Dinoflagellate cyst distribution shows no major changes, contrary to an outstand-
ing change recorded in the coeval sediments from other parts of the Polish Carpathians. This implies different
paleoenvironmental conditions in the northern part of the Magura Basin during the latest Eocene and Early Oligocene.
Occurrence of high-latitude dinoflagellate cysts in the lowermost part of the section may be related to a drop of temperature
in the surface waters of the sedimentary basin during the Late Eocene. Dinoflagellate cysts, whose motile stages are thought
to have inhabited near-shore waters, are frequent in turbidites, whereas the hemipelagic/pelagic sediments usually contain
more numerous oceanic specimens. Recycled dinoflagellate cysts occur more frequently in turbidite sediments.
Key words: Carpathians, Eocene-Oligocene transition, Magura Nappe, paleoenvironment, biostratigraphy, flysch deposits,
The Eocene-Oligocene transition in the northern part of the
Magura Nappe (Siary Zone sensu Koszarski et al. 1974) of the
Polish Carpathians is represented by a rock succession differ-
ent from coeval successions of the other parts of the Polish
Outer Carpathians. Except for some localities in the eastern
sector of the Siary Zone, the succession consists mainly of
thick-bedded (0.5 to a few meters) turbidites with variable
sandstone to shale ratio, distinguished as the Magura Beds
(Szajnocha 1895; widziñski 1934). In some places, in the
marginal part of the eastern sector of the Siary Zone, including
the Folusz area (Fig. 1), the Priabonian consists nearly exclu-
sively of fine-grained sediments of turbiditic and hemipelagic
origin, distinguished by Kopciowski (1996) as the Szymbark
Shale and included in the Zembrzyce Shale by Oszczypko-
Clowes (2001). Age-assessments based on foraminifers indi-
cate that the lower boundary of typical Magura Beds (see
Ksi¹¿kiewicz 1974) is here located close to the Eocene-Oli-
gocene boundary (Blaicher & Sikora 1963; Sikora 1970;
Leszczyñski & Malata 2002). At the same time, in the major
part of the inner zones of the Magura Nappe, this succession is
restricted to the Eocene (Oszczypko-Clowes 2001).
In the other parts of the Polish Outer Carpathians, the
Eocene-Oligocene transition is represented by a several meters
thick package of Globigerina-rich marlstones, distinguished
as the Sub-Menilite Globigerina Marl (Koszarski & Wieser
1960). The lower part of the overlying unit, known as the Me-
nilite Beds, is dominated by black, organic-rich fine-grained
sediments. Similar sediments are also known from some areas
in the southernmost part of the Magura Nappe. The package of
marls rich in Globigerina is distinguished there as the Le-
luchów Marl Member, whereas the unit corresponding to the
Menilite Beds is called the Smereczek Shale Member (Birken-
majer & Oszczypko 1989). The so developed Eocene-Oli-
gocene transition displays a major turnover in microfossil as-
semblages. Rich and diversified Late Eocene foraminifers,
calcareous nannoplankton and dinoflagellate cyst assemblages
become significantly impoverished in the earliest Oligocene
(e.g. Olszewska 1984, 1985; Van Couvering et al. 1981; Gedl
1999). Analysis of organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts (hereaf-
ter dinocysts) from these sediments implies that significant pa-
leogeographical and paleoenvironmental changes occurred,
including a drop in sea surface temperature and salinity de-
crease within the photic zone. This paper aims at describing
and interpreting the palynological record of the Eocene-Oli-
gocene transition in one section from the northern part of the
Magura Nappe, outstanding for its distinctive lithological de-
velopment. Interpretation of the results is compared with the
results of palynological studies of coeval sediments character-
ized by a markedly different development.
Section location and stratigraphy
A 114 m thick succession representing the Szymbark Shale
and the lower part of the Magura Beds, exposed in the bed of
K³opotnica Stream in the village of Folusz was selected for the
156 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
present study (Fig. 1). This section is one of the best-exposed
sections of the basal part of the Magura Beds and their immedi-
ate substrate in the frontal part of the Magura Nappe (Fig. 1A).
This section is also best recognized in the sense of litho- and
biostratigraphy (see Sikora 1970; Oszczypko-Clowes 2001;
Leszczyñski & Malata 2002). Moreover, tuffite recorded here
was dated radiometrically (Van Couvering et al. 1981).
The Folusz section is located in the central part of the Polish
Carpathians, at the northern foots of the Magura W¹tkowska
Range in the Beskid Niski Mountains. The section starts at the
upper boundary of the red shale succession (£abowa Shale
Formation sensu Oszczypko 1991) and extends up the stream,
up to the bridge of a local road toward the village of
Fig. 1. Location of the studied section (arrowed): A according to tectonic map of the Polish Carpathians after Ksi¹¿kiewicz (1977); B ac-
cording to geological map after Koszarski & Tokarski (1968). Unit marked OE
in northern outcropping zone includes the Szymbark Shale.
wi¹tkowa (Fig. 1B). The lower part of the section, approxi-
mately 36 meters thick, called by Kopciowski (1996) the
Szymbark Shale, consists basically of alternating thin layers of
light green to dark green, occasionally black and dark brown
muddy to clayey, calcareous to non-calcareous shales (Fig. 2).
The proportion of calcareous and dark coloured shales in-
creases up section. Moreover, several thin siltstone and fine-
grained sandstone beds, and one 4 cm thick layer of bentonitic
tuffite occur in this unit. The position of the tuffite in the sec-
tion (Fig. 2), together with its thickness and colour, suggest
that this is the tuffite mentioned earlier by Sikora (1970). Zir-
cons from this layer were dated by fission-track analysis at
32.8±1.3 Ma (Van Couvering et al. 1981), i.e. close to the
PALYNOLOGY OF THE EOCENE-OLIGOCENE TRANSITION OF THE MAGURA NAPPE 157
Fig. 2. Vertical lithofacies logs and lithostratigraphy of the studied
section at Folusz, and sample locations (cf. Leszczyñski & Malata
Eocene-Oligocene boundary (33.7 Ma according to Berggren
et al. 1995). In the upper part of this unit, Blaicher & Sikora
(1963) found a foraminiferal assemblage corresponding to that
recorded in the Sub-Menilite Globigerina Marl (upper part of
Upper Eocene) of the outer flysch nappes. These authors
called this interval Marls with Globigerina (cf. Sikora
1970). The calcareous nannoplankton Zone NP1920 (Martini
1971) was recognized in the lower part of the Szymbark
Shale, and Zone NP21 in its upper part, ca. 11 m above the
base of the unit in Oszczypko-Clowes (2001), or 17.0 m in
Leszczyñski & Malata (2002).
The overlying 33 m thick succession is built of thin to thick-
bedded fine to very coarse-grained sandstones, chaotic sandy-
mudstones and thick to thin layers of calcareous to non-calcar-
eous mudstones (Fig. 2). This unit is called here the
Zembrzyce Beds, and considered to be the basal part of the
Magura Beds. Calcareous nannoplankton investigations indi-
cate that the entire unit is enclosed within Zone NP21.
Very thick-bedded coarse- to fine-grained sandstones and
granule-conglomerates dominate in the remaining part of the
section (Fig. 2). This part of the section is considered as the
W¹tkowa Sandstone sensu Koszarski (1976). It represents the
higher part of the Magura Beds. The base of calcareous nanno-
plankton Zone NP22 was identified in the top part of the sec-
tion (Oszczypko-Clowes 2001).
Twenty-one samples from surface outcrops in the
K³opotnica Stream were investigated in this study. These sam-
ples were selected from those taken earlier for other sedimen-
tological and stratigraphical investigations (Leszczyñski &
Eleven samples (Fl1Fl25) represent the Szymbark Shale,
seven samples (Fl30Fl37) were taken from the Zembrzyce
Beds, and three (Fl40Fl42) from the W¹tkowa Sandstone
(Fig. 2). All samples except for the Fl30 and Fl35 were taken
from muddy to clayey shales. Their location in the sequence
as well as foraminiferal content and composition suggest
Legend to the Fig. 2.
158 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
hemipelagic and/or turbiditic origin (Table 1;
Leszczyñski & Malata 2002). The samples
Fl30 and Fl35 were taken from a chaotic
sandy-mudstone breccia. This is a sediment
consisting of a sandy calcareous mudstone
(marlstone) matrix with quartz grains as much
as 7 mm in cross-section and chaotically dis-
tributed dark green, brownish and grey, sharp-
edged mudstone chips and larger clasts. These
features indicate deposition by debris flow
The samples were processed following
standard palynological procedure, including
38% hydrochloric acid (HCl) treatment, 40%
hydrofluoric acid (HF) treatment, heavy liq-
+HCl; density 2.0 g/cm
tion, ultrasound for 1015 sec., and sieving at
15 µm on a nylon mesh. The samples were
processed in the Micropaleontological Labo-
ratory of the Institute of Geological Sciences,
Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków. The
quantity of rock processed varied from 20 to
30 g. Two microscope slides were made from
each sample using glycerine jelly as a mount-
ing medium. The rock samples, palynological
residues and slides are stored in the collection
of the Institute of Geological Sciences, Polish
Academy of Sciences, Kraków.
All dinocysts were counted from one of two
slides. The second slide was scanned for addi-
tional dinocyst taxa. Slides were examined
under the transmitted light microscope Carl
Zeiss Axiolab. Microphotographs were taken
with the Sony DSC-S75 camera and Zeiss
Plan-Neofluar 100 ×/1.30 Oil Pol objective.
All samples contain organic particles of a
diameter greater than 15 µm. The majority of
these particles represent land plant remains.
They include cuticle with variously preserved
tissue structures, dark brown equidimensional
particles with slightly transparent edges and
opaque, small-sized, woody particles. Sporo-
morphs (mostly the bisaccate pollen grains)
occur subordinately. Amorphous organic mat-
ter occurs in trace amounts only.
Marine palynomorphs, rarely exceeding 1
2 % of the palynofacies, are represented pri-
marily by dinocysts (Figs. 3, 4). Acritarchs
and foraminiferal linings occur occasionally.
The highest amount of dinocysts, reaching
8 % of the palynofacies, is recorded in sam-
Fig. 3. Range chart of dinocysts from Folusz section. Line widths reflect number of
specimens counted. Continued on the page 159.
PALYNOLOGY OF THE EOCENE-OLIGOCENE TRANSITION OF THE MAGURA NAPPE 159
ples Fl4 and Fl7, representing the Szymbark
Shale. Samples Fl34 and Fl41 (the Zembrzyce
Beds and the W¹tkowa Sandstone respectively)
do not contain dinocysts or contain only a few in-
determinable specimens. Acritarchs occur mainly
in the lower part of the Szymbark Shale (samples
Fl1Fl7), being the most frequent in sample Fl4.
They represent morphotypes of Veryhachium af-
finity. Microforaminifers (mainly trochospiral
and planispiral morphotypes) are very rare within
the whole section except for the sample Fl4
where they are relatively frequent.
The dinocyst distribution shows distinct rela-
tion to the sediment origin (Fig. 5). Samples tak-
en from turbidites and mud-flow deposits (Ta-
ble 1) are either devoid of oceanic dinocysts (e.g.
Impagidinium spp.; see e.g. Dale 1996), or they
occur there as single specimens only. Specimens
of Impagidinium (Fig. 4.3,6,8,13) are much more
frequent in samples representing hemipelagites
(Table 1). In these samples, Impagidinium consti-
tutes up to 30 % of all dinocysts (sample Fl22).
The samples taken from turbidites, in turn, con-
tain high numbers of Homotryblium spp., a genus
related by several authors to inshore, lagoonal
settings (e.g. Brinkhuis 1994).
Dinocyst stratigraphy of the Folusz section
The occurrence of calcareous foraminifers and
nannoplankton in the studied succession mainly
in resedimented deposits (see Leszczyñski &
Malata 2002) hampers a precise interpretation of
stratigraphy based on these fossils. Recycling
also concerns dinocysts as has been shown in
these investigations. However, dinocysts also oc-
cur in background sediments (hemipelagites)
where they appear to be synsedimentary. Re-
working makes particularly tentative the identifi-
cation of biozones or events defined according to
the highest occurrences of fossils, for example the
NP21 and the NP22 Calcareous Nannoplankton
Zones of Martini (1971).
Location of the Eocene-Oligocene boundary in
the investigated section has not been precisely es-
tablished during this study. The Early Oligocene
has been definitely determined for the section di-
vision located above sample Fl24 (the topmost
part of the Szymbark Shale) where Areoligera?
semicirculata (Fig. 4.2) has its lowest occurrence
(Fig. 6). This species is known to have its first ap-
pearance in the earliest Oligocene (e.g. Morgen-
roth 1966; Brinkhuis 1994), Rupelian (Stover &
Hardenbol 1993; Stover et al. 1996) or Chattian
(Powell 1992). This agrees with the age
32.8±1.3 Ma, obtained by Van Couvering et al.
(1981) from radiometric dating of the tuffite
found approximately 7 m below the sample Fl24.
The age of the Magura Beds, overlying the Szym-
160 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
beige and green
Number of foraminiferal specimens calculated for 200 g of dry rock. See Fig. 2 for sample location. Explanation of symbols: + effervescent
reaction with diluted HCl; (+) weak effervescence; lack of effervescence; tr <0.1 %; s several grains; nd not determined.
Table 1: Selected sedimentological and geochemical features of the sampled sediments.
bark Shale, can be estimated on the basis of superposition
only. No typical Oligocene dinocysts like Wetzeliella gochtii,
Areoligera? semicirculata or Chiropteridium lobospinosum
have been found here. The lack of the latter mentioned species
may suggest an age not younger than NP23. Powell (1992)
and Wilpshaar et al. (1996) recorded the lowest occurrence of
Chiropteridium lobospinosum within this zone. This species
was found in the Polish Carpathians in the Lower Oligocene
of the Podhale Flysch (Gedl 2000) and in the Oligocene Kros-
no Beds, whereas it was not found so far in the lowermost Oli-
gocene in the Menilite Beds (P. Gedl unpubl.).
Other dinocyst events, which may point at the Oligocene
age, are rather disputable. One specimen of Wetzeliella gochtii
(Fig. 4.20) has been found in sample Fl20 (Fig. 6). The lowest
occurrence of this species is often accepted as an indicator of
the Lower Oligocene (e.g. Costa & Downie 1976; Gruas-Cav-
agnetto & Barbin 1988), although some authors claimed that
this species appeared in the Late Eocene (Châteauneuf 1980;
El-Beialy 1988). In the Polish Carpathians, specimens of Wet-
zeliella gochtii have been found in higher part of the Sub-Me-
nilite Globigerina Marl at Krosno and Znamirowice (Bujak in
Van Couvering 1981) or its equivalent at Leluchów (Gedl
2004). In the latter case, the lowest occurrence of Wetzeliella
gochtii comes from a sample where Areosphaeridium dikty-
oplokum has its highest occurrence.
The lowest occurrence of Reticulatosphaera actinocoronata
(Fig. 4.15), a species believed to have appeared for the first
time in the Oligocene in the middle latitudes (e.g. Manum et
al. 1989), was recorded in the Priabonian part of the Szymbark
Shale (sample Fl4). On the other hand, Brinkhuis (1994) dem-
onstrated the first appearance of this species in central and
northern Italy in the Late Eocene (basal part of the NP21
Zone). An even younger first appearance, early Late Eocene,
was recorded by Coccioni et al. (2000) in central Italy. This
event was correlated with subChron16n and calcareous nan-
noplankton Zone NP19/20. The lowest occurrence of Reticu-
latosphaera actinocoronata in the Folusz section can also be
correlated with the Zone NP19/20 since this species occurs to-
gether with Areosphaeridium michoudii.
The age of the lower part of the Szymbark Shale (below the
sample Fl7) is Late Eocene (Priabonian). This is shown by the
co-occurrence of dinocyst species Areosphaeridium diktyoplo-
kum (Fig. 4.11), Areosphaeridium michoudii (Fig. 4.10) and
Rhombodinium perforatum (Fig. 4.24) in this interval (Fig. 6).
The last appearance of Areosphaeridium diktyoplokum, which
has the highest consistent occurrence in sample Fl7 (Fig. 6),
was commonly believed to have taken place at the Eocene-
Oligocene boundary (e.g. Biffi & Manum 1988; Stover et al.
1996), although some authors also found it in the Lower Oli-
gocene (e.g. Maier 1959; Benedek 1986). Brinkhuis (1994)
demonstrated the Early Oligocene last appearance of this spe-
cies in Italy (for discussion see also Berggren et al. 1995 and
Brinkhuis & Visscher 1995). Areosphaeridium michoudii has
its highest known occurrence at the top of the NP18 Zone in
the North Sea (Bujak & Mudge 1994). However, distribution
of this species in the flysch Carpathians suggests its highest
occurrence within the NP19-20 Zone (lower part of the Sub-
Menilite Globigerina Marl; P. Gedl unpubl.). The highest con-
sistent occurrence of Areosphaeridium michoudii in the stud-
ied section is recorded in sample Fl12, which is located higher
than the highest consistent occurrence of Areosphaeridium
diktyoplokum (sample Fl7). A Priabonian age of the lower part
of the Szymbark Shale in the Folusz section is also indicated
by the presence of Rhombodinium perforatum. This species
PALYNOLOGY OF THE EOCENE-OLIGOCENE TRANSITION OF THE MAGURA NAPPE 161
Fig. 4. Dinocysts from the studied section. Scale bar (25 µm) refers to all photomicrographs. Slide code and England Finder references are
given. 1 Homotryblium plectilum, Fl35a[H34.1]; 2 Areoligera? semicirculata, Fl33b[E35.2]; 3 Impagidinium brevisulcatum,
Fl7[G47.4]; 4 Nematosphaeropsis labyrinthus, Fl2b[J36.24]; 5 Spiniferites ramosus, Fl33b[W46.2]; 6 Impagidinium velorum,
Fl2a[Q32.2]; 7 Glaphyrocysta semitecta, Fl4a[U36.2]; 8 Impagidinium dispertitum, Fl12a[R48]; 9 Rottnestia borussica,
Fl4a[T32.2]; 10 Areosphaeridium michoudii, Fl2a[S45]; 11 Areosphaeridium diktyoplokum, Fl2b[Q40.4]; 12 Heterelaucacysta po-
rosa, Fl4a[V43.13]; 13 Impagidinium pallidum, Fl4a[X39.1]; 14 Corrudinium incompositum, Fl12a[R39]; 15 Reticulatosphaera
actinocoronata, Fl12a[D47.24]; 16 Gelatia inflata, Fl1[H37.2]; 17 Areoligera undulata, Fl4a[N30.2]; 18 Membranophoridium as-
pinatum, Fl4b[W31.13]; 19 Deflandrea sp., Fl15b[F36]; 20 Wetzeliella gochtii, Fl20b[C42]; 21 Areoligera sentosa, Fl4b[X47.4];
22 Charlesdowniea clathrata, Fl4a[T34.12]; 23 Charlesdowniea coleothrypta, Fl4b[H46.3]; 24 Rhombodinium perforatum,
Fl2b[W35.24]; 25 Dracodinium laszczynskii, Fl1[G44.13].
162 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
has the lowest occurrence at the base of the NP18 Zone, and
ranges to the end of the Eocene (Powell 1992). The age of the
interval between sample Fl12 and Fl24 has not been precisely
documented. It has been assigned as undivided latest Eocene-
earliest Oligocene (Fig. 6).
Interpretation of age based on dinocysts agrees in general
with that based on foraminifers (Malata in Leszczyñski &
Fig. 5. Frequency of selected dinocysts in relation to sediment origin. Shadowed area shows undivided Upper Eocene-Lower Oligocene
interval based on dinocysts.
Malata 2002) and calcareous nannoplankton (Oszczypko-
Clowes 2001; Oszczypko-Clowes in Leszczyñski & Malata
2002) for the lowermost part of the section (Fig. 7). All meth-
ods indicate a Late Eocene age of the basal part of the Szym-
Significant differences appear in the biostratigraphy of the
higher part of the section. Dinocysts indicate a Late Eocene
Fig. 6. Lowest and highest occurrences of selected dinocyst species in studied section and age interpretation.
PALYNOLOGY OF THE EOCENE-OLIGOCENE TRANSITION OF THE MAGURA NAPPE 163
age of the lower part of the Szymbark Shale up to the sample
Fl7 (basal 8 meters of the section). Foraminifers interpreted by
Malata (in Leszczyñski & Malata 2002) indicate a Late
Eocene age up to the sample Fl22. The assemblage from sam-
ples Fl18Fl22 indicates an age close to the Eocene-Oli-
gocene boundary. This means that the lowest occurrence of
Wetzeliella gochtii, found in sample Fl20, is in the uppermost
Eocene. Moreover, this implies that Wetzeliella gochtii in the
Carpathian Flysch Basin appeared for the first time in the lat-
est Eocene. Van Mourik & Brinkhuis (2000) noted a Late
Eocene first appearance of this species from a low-latitude set-
ting in the Atlantic Ocean. These records suggest diachronous
first appearance of Wetzeliella gochtii, starting from low lati-
Calcareous nannoplankton, in turn, was interpreted by Osz-
czypko-Clowes (2001) to indicate the middle Priabonian, cor-
responding to the Zone NP1920, for the ca. 11 m thick, basal
part of the Szymbark Shale (i.e. approximately up to the posi-
tion of our sample Fl12). Upper Priabonian to lower Rupelian,
corresponding to the Zone NP21, was suggested there for the
overlying part of the section, which according to the lithos-
tratigraphy used in this paper, embraces the higher part of the
Szymbark Shale and majority of the Zembrzyce Beds. Inter-
pretations of calcareous nannoplankton by Oszczypko-Clowes
(in Leszczyñski & Malata 2002) suggest a middle Priabonian
age for the Szymbark Shale up to the sample Fl18, found at
least up to ca. 17 m above the lower boundary of the unit.
Dinocysts indicate the Lower Oligocene (Rupelian) in the
section above sample Fl24. The age based on foraminifers
from sample Fl24 was interpreted as undivided Priabonian-
Rupelian. The lowest occurrence of Early Oligocene foramini-
fers was identified first in the sample Fl30 (mud-flow deposits
containing a rich dinocyst assemblage interpreted as recycled
Eocene). This sample is located in the lower part of the Zem-
brzyce Beds. A higher part of the lower Rupelian, correspond-
ing to the Zone NP22, was identified with calcareous nanno-
plankton in the topmost part of the Zembrzyce Beds and in the
remaining part of the section (Oszczypko-Clowes 2001; note:
the position of the NP21 has been erroneously indicated there
in fig. 44). Noteworthy, the chronostratigraphy of the succes-
sion in question as interpreted by Oszczypko-Clowes (2001)
on the basis of calcareous nannoplankton data, suggests that
nearly exclusively synsedimentary nannoplankton occurs in
the resedimented deposits. This is difficult to comprehend,
particularly in typical Magura Beds, which show features in-
dicative of intensive, large-scale resedimentation.
Recycling of dinocysts
Recycling of dinocysts appears to have occurred in the stud-
ied sediments on a much larger scale than in coeval sediments
in other parts of the flysch Carpathians. Pre-Eocene dinocysts
are infrequent, represented mainly by single specimens. The
oldest are Middle Jurassic species, represented by Ctenido-
Fig. 7. Bio- and chronostratigraphic interpretation of studied section.
164 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
dinium ornatum-C. combazii, Nannoceratopsis gracilis and
Nannoceratopsis dictyambonis. They were found in the lower-
most part of the Szymbark Shale (samples Fl2 and Fl4) and in
the Zembrzyce Beds (samples Fl32 and Fl37). One Early Cre-
taceous (Pseudoceratium pelliferum) and rare Late Cretaceous
dinocysts (e.g. Chatangiella ditissima, Trigonopyxidia ginel-
la) were found mainly in the Szymbark Shale. One specimen
of Late Paleocene-Early Eocene Apectodinium quinquelatum
was found in the Zembrzyce Beds (sample Fl37).
The Eocene taxa dominate among the dinocysts believed to
be recycled. The most frequent are the Late Eocene species
found in the Lower Oligocene part of the section. Mud-flow
deposits (samples Fl30 and Fl35) and associated deposits
(sample Fl36) exposed in the basal part of the Zembrzyce
Beds contain numerous specimens of Areosphaeridium mi-
choudii, Areosphaeridium diktyoplokum and Cordosphaeri-
dium funiculatum. Their presence indicates that these deposits
represent Upper or Middle Eocene sediments recycled during
the Early Oligocene. Several Middle Eocene species were
found in the Upper Eocene part of the section (e.g. Diphyes
pseudoficusoides), while a single specimen of Early-Middle
Eocene Eatonicysta ursulea was found in the Oligocene part
of the Szymbark Shale.
There is no difference in the state of preservation between
the forms treated as recycled or the in situ ones. That is why it
is difficult to distinguish whether a given species with known
early Late Eocene top-range (e.g. Areosphaeridium michou-
dii) is recycled or not in the higher part of the Upper Eocene of
the studied section.
The paleoenvironmental conditions in the northern part of
the Magura Basin during the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene
were reconstructed earlier mainly on the basis of lithofacies
distribution and foraminiferal associations (e.g. Ksi¹¿kiewicz
Ed. 1962; Sikora 1970; Bromowicz 1992; Leszczyñski &
Malata 2002). The shape of the basin, its bathymetry and bot-
tom life conditions were the most essential in these interpreta-
tions. The palynological, and particularly dinocyst data pre-
sented in this paper, supply new information about paleo-
environmental conditions in this part of the Magura Basin.
A characteristic feature of the Eocene-Oligocene transition
in the Polish Outer Carpathians is a significant change of the
dinocyst assemblage. Diversified Late Eocene dinocyst as-
semblages disappeared during the earliest Oligocene or they
were replaced by Peridinioid-dominated assemblages repre-
sented mainly by Deflandrea (Fig. 4.19) and Wetzeliella
(Fig. 4.20). At the same time, a considerable increase of land-
derived elements of palynofacies and amorphous organic mat-
ter is recorded (Gedl 1999). These changes have been record-
ed from several sections within the Silesian, Dukla and Skole
tectonic units, and from a single section (Leluchów) within the
southernmost zone of the Magura Nappe. The changes were
interpreted as a result of eutrophication of the surface waters
caused by fresh water influx into the Carpathian Flysch Basin
(Gedl 1999) and appearance of disoxic/anoxic bottom condi-
tions during sedimentation of the Early Oligocene Menilite
Beds (or their equivalents).
The changes that took place during the Eocene-Oligocene
transition in the northern part of the Magura Basin seem to dif-
fer from those in other parts of the Carpathian Flysch Basin.
No such prominent change in the dinocyst assemblages, com-
parable to that known from coeval sediments of the other parts
of the Outer Carpathians, was noted in the studied material.
However, this may result from increased reworking, especially
in the turbidites. A change in the quality of the dinocyst as-
semblages is recorded when hemipelagic samples exclusively
are taken into account. Among the samples treated as hemipe-
lagic Lower Oligocene sediments (Table 1), two (Fl32 and
Fl41) are devoid of dinocysts or contain very infrequent ones.
This may result from the appearance of paleoenvironmental
conditions within the photic zone, which were inconvenient
for dinoflagellates. Noteworthy, palynofacies implies land
proximity of the sedimentary area.
Paleogeography: The location of the Siary Zone in margin-
al part of the Magura Nappe together with lithofacies distribu-
tion and paleocurrent directions were long ago interpreted as
indicative of location of this zone close to the northern margin
of the Magura Basin (e.g. Ksi¹¿kiewicz Ed. 1962). However,
the presence of Impagidinium spp. in hemipelagites indicates
an offshore setting of the sedimentary area of the studied de-
posits. The lack or infrequent occurrence of this genus in tur-
bidites, where near-shore species prevail, indicates resedimen-
tation of turbidites from inshore areas bordered by a landmass.
Presence of a land on this side of the Magura Basin is suggest-
ed by the mass occurrence of land plant remains, which domi-
nate the turbidite palynofacies. The domination of terrestrial
elements (phytoclasts and sporomorphs) may result from a
strong runoff, although scarcity of Peridiniales suggests no
freshwater influx into this part of the Magura Basin (cf. e.g.
Biffi & Grignani 1983). Phytoclasts and sporomorphs could
also be recycled from older sediments as it is supported by the
presence of recycled dinocysts, obviously derived from older
A ridge, suggested by Ksi¹¿kiewicz (1956), called the Sile-
sian cordillera (Fig. 8), is generally accepted as the northern
border of the Magura Basin. It remains an open question
whether it was a land or a submerged ridge. Nemèok et al.
(2000) proposed a different paleogeographical setting for the
Magura Basin, with the Bohemian Massif as its northern bor-
der. The palynological analysis does not solve the question
whether the Bohemian Massif or Silesian cordillera was the
northern margin of the Magura Basin, but in the latter case, at
least some parts of this ridge, at least for some time, must have
formed islands covered by vegetation.
A different paleogeographic location is identified for the
southernmost part of the Magura Basin during the Late
Eocene-Early Oligocene. Late Eocene dinocysts (numerous
Impagidinium and Nematosphaeropsis spp.; see Dale 1996)
from coeval deposits at Leluchów (Krynica Zone) imply a
depositional setting located far from the seashore (Gedl 2004).
The change in the Leluchów dinocyst assemblages and pa-
lynofacies close to the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (estab-
lished on the basis of the highest occurrence of Areosphaeri-
dium diktyoplokum) is similar to that known from the outer
nappes of the Carpathians. The low-salinity dinocysts (mainly
Deflandrea spp.) dominate in the lowermost Oligocene of Le-
PALYNOLOGY OF THE EOCENE-OLIGOCENE TRANSITION OF THE MAGURA NAPPE 165
luchów, and disappear higher up the section. These conclu-
sions imply major regional differences between northern and
southern margins of the Magura Basin during the Late Eocene
and Early Oligocene.
Sea surface temperature: Dinoflagellates, that is inhabit-
ants of the photic zone, as well as their cysts serve as a tenable
indicator of the sea surface temperature. The Eocene-Oli-
gocene transition is known as a time of marked global cooling
(e.g. Pomerol & Premoli Silva 1986). Brinkhuis (1994), who
traced the records of high latitude dinocyst species within the
Eocene-Oligocene boundary interval in Mediterranean, recog-
nized sea surface temperature fluctuations. For this reason he
used several, both inshore and offshore species, whereas
Zevenboom (1995) argued that only oceanic taxa are suitable
for proper estimation of the sea surface temperature. Three
species of oceanic dinocysts found in the Folusz section are
treated as high latitude ones. These are Impagidinium velorum
(Fig. 4.6), Impagidinium pallidum (Fig. 4.13) and Gelatia in-
flata (Fig. 4.16) described for the first time by Bujak (1984)
from the Bering Sea. These species have been found in the
lower part of the Szymbark Shale. Their presence may reflect
a cooling phase in the Late Eocene, which caused a drop in sea
surface temperature during sedimentation of the lower part of
the Szymbark Shale. This event seems to correspond to that
documented in coeval sediments of the other parts of the Car-
pathians where high latitude dinocysts Impagidinium velorum,
Impagidinium pallidum and Gelatia inflata have been found
as well (Gedl unpubl.).
Bottom water oxygenation: Analysis of trace-fossil and
benthic foraminiferal assemblages from the Siary Zone indi-
cate poorly oxic to slightly dysoxic conditions prevailing in
the bottom waters during the Late Eocene and Early Oli-
gocene (Leszczyñski & Malata 2002). This interpretation is
supported by the results of our study. The studied sediments
contain only occasional traces of amorphous organic matter,
which is usually associated with anoxic environments (e.g.
Batten 1996). This feature highly contrasts with high content
of amorphous organic matter in the Lower Oligocene Menilite
Beds and its equivalents in the other parts of the flysch Car-
pathians (Gedl unpubl.). A better ventilation of the sea floor in
the northern part of the Magura Basin during the Early Oli-
Fig. 8. Schematic paleogeographic map of Alpine and peri-Alpine
part of Europe during Eocene-Oligocene transition (based on Rögl
1999, modified by S. Leszczyñski). Probable location of investi-
gated section arrowed.
gocene might have been caused by intensified water circula-
tion resulting from a high frequency of large-scale resedimen-
tation events (Leszczyñski 2001).
1. Dinocysts indicate that the lower part of the Szymbark
Shale in the Folusz section (up to the sample Fl7) represents
the Upper Eocene (Priabonian). This interpretation is based on
continuous presence of Areosphaeridium michoudii, Areo-
sphaeridium diktyoplokum and Rhombodinium perforatum.
Several species characteristic for the Middle Eocene (e.g.
Heterelaucacysta porosa, Diphyes pseudoficusoides) that oc-
cur in this part of the section are recycled. The uppermost part
of the Szymbark Shale, located above the sample Fl24, and
the overlying Magura Beds represent the Lower Oligocene.
This interpretation is based on the lowest occurrence of Areo-
ligera? semicirculata in the sample Fl24. Wetzeliella gochtii, a
typical Oligocene species in north-western Europe, has the
lowest occurrence in the studied section in sample Fl20, dated
by foraminifers as Priabonian. Another Oligocene species, Re-
ticulatosphaera actinocoronata, has its lowest occurrence in
the basal part of the section, dated by other dinocysts, fora-
minifers and calcareous nannoplankton as Priabonian.
2. Two dinocyst assemblages differing in origin occur in the
fine-grained sediments of the entire section. Sediments recog-
nized as redeposited contain frequent near-shore dinocysts. In
contrast, the fine-grained sediments interpreted as background
deposits always contain specimens of oceanic dinocyst genus
3. No apparent change in quality of dinocyst assemblages is
observed in the studied section between the Late Eocene and
Early Oligocene assemblages. This contrasts with substantial
changes in dinocyst assemblages in coeval sediments of the
other parts of the Polish Carpathians. This difference implies
various paleoenvironmental conditions, including nutrient
availability and salinity level in the photic zone of the north-
ern part of the Magura Basin. However, increased dinocyst re-
cycling observed in the Folusz section may significantly mask
the true conditions. Two Lower Oligocene hemipelagic sam-
ples containing poor dinocyst assemblages appear to reflect
inconvenient paleoenvironmental conditions in the photic
4. The appearance of high-latitude Impagidinium velorum,
Impagidinium pallidum and Gelatia inflata in the Upper
Eocene of the investigated deposits is interpreted as resulting
from a drop of sea surface temperature in the Magura Basin
during the latest Eocene. This event, which is also recorded in
coeval sediments of the other parts of the Polish Carpathians,
seems to be of regional significance and appear to correspond
to the global cooling recorded across the Eocene-Oligocene
Acknowledgments: We thank H. Brinkhuis, J. P. Bujak and J.
Soták for their critical remarks that improved the manuscript
greatly. The Folusz section was described and sampled by
Stanis³aw Leszczyñski in the frame of the project financed by
the State Committee for Scientific Research (Komitet Badañ
166 GEDL and LESZCZYÑSKI
Naukowych) research Grant No. 6 P04D 021 16. Palynologi-
cal study was done by Przemys³aw Gedl as a part of the State
Committee for Scientific Research (Komitet Badañ Nauko-
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