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

Revisiting the age of Jurassic coral bioherms in the Pieniny Klippen Belt (Western Carpathians) on the basis of benthic foraminifers

Published: Apr 2019

Pages: 113 - 134



Abstract: Coral bioherms of the Vršatec Limestone that formed massive, several tens of meters thick complexes during the Jurassic were important sources of carbonate production, with carbonate sediment exported to deeper parts of the Pieniny Klippen Basin (Western Carpathians). However, the age of these carbonate factories remains controversial. New analyses of benthic foraminiferal assemblages occurring in coral bioherms and peri-biohermal deposits of the Vršatec Limestone at five sites in the western Pieniny Klippen Belt (Vršatec-Castle, Vršatec-Javorníky, Malé Hradište, Malé Hradište-Kalvária, and Drieňová Hora) show that these sediments were deposited during the Bajocian and were lateral equivalents of crinoidal limestones and breccias, in contrast to previous studies suggesting that they were deposited during the Oxfordian. First, all sites are characterized by similar composition of foraminiferal assemblages on the basis of presence–absence data, although foraminiferal assemblages in biosparitic facies at Vršatec are dominated by miliolids whereas biomicritic facies at Malé Hradište are dominated by the spirillinid Paalzowella. The composition of foraminiferal assemblages does not differ between the lower and upper parts of the Vršatec Limestone. Second, foraminifer species that were assumed to appear for the first time in the Oxfordian already occur in the Middle Jurassic sediments of the northern Tethyan shelf. Third, the first and last appearances of foraminifers documented in other Tethyan regions are in accordance with stratigraphic analyses and ammonoid occurrences, demonstrating that bioherm-forming coral communities developed on the Czorzstyn Ridge during the Bajocian. Several species of foraminifers of the Vršatec Limestone appeared for the first time during the middle or late Aalenian (Labalina occulta, Paalzowella feifeli) and during the Bajocian (Hungarillina lokutiense, Radiospirillina umbonata, Ophthalmidium caucasicum, O. terquemi, O. obscurum, Paalzowella turbinella, Cornuspira tubicomprimata, Nubecularia reicheli) or appeared for the last time in the Bajocian (Tethysiella pilleri) or Early Bathonian (Ophthalmidium caucasicum, O. obscurum). The composition and diversity of communities with benthic foraminifers of the Vršatec Limestone is similar to the composition of foraminiferal communities on carbonate platform environments with corals of the French Jura and Burgundy during the Bajocian.

Keywords: Middle Jurassic, Bajocian, benthic foraminifers, coral reefs, Vršatec Limestone, Pieniny Klippen Belt, Western Carpathians, Slovakia

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