International Geological Journal - Official Journal of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association

Miocene vegetation pattern and climate change in the northwestern Central Paratethys domain (Czech and Slovak Republic)

Published: Jun 2011

Pages: 251 - 266



Abstract: The case study area covers the slopes of the tectonically quiet European platform and foreland of the tectonically active Carpathian mountain chain (Carpathian Foredeep and Vienna Basin). Therefore the research on pollen spectra mirrors not only the evolution of landscape in two areas with different geodynamics, but also climatic changes in the Central Paratethys domain during the studied time interval. According to the pollen data, the Early to Middle Miocene vegetation reflects subtropical climate with very mild (negligible) cooling events during this period. This is indicated by common occurrence of thermophilous taxa in the whole sedimentary record. The Middle Miocene landscape evolution, conditioned by uplift of the Carpathian mountain chain and subsidence of adjacent lowlands, led to commencement of the altitudinal zonation. The terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems confirm a subtropical climate (Miocene Climatic Optimum, Mi3 event) with some possible long term changes in humidity. The Late Miocene paleogeographical changes, but also general climatic oscillations in the northwestern Central Paratethys realm, resulted in decrease of the number of thermophilous taxa during this time (change in latitudinal position of the vegetation cover). Variously high mountain relief of the uplifted mountain chains (altitudinal zonality) created ideal conditions for mixed mesophytic forests (to open woodland — open grassland type), still with presence of evergreen taxa. A subtropical climate with gradual transition to warm temperate climatic conditions is supposed on the basis of the reconstructed vegetation cover.

Keywords: Miocene, Paratethys, Carpathian Foredeep, Vienna Basin, paleoclimate, palynology

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