A detailed integrated stratigraphic study (biostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy) was carried out on five sections from the western part of the Bavarian Upper Freshwater Molasse of the North Alpine Foreland Basin (NAFB), greatly improving the chronostratigraphy of these sediments. The sections belong to the lithostratigraphic units Limnische Untere Serie (UL) and Fluviatile Untere Serie (UF) and contain 19 (mostly new) small-mammal bearing levels, significantly refining the local biostratigraphy. Radiometric ages obtained from glass shards from tuff horizons are used together with the biostratigraphic information for constructing and confirming the magnetostratigraphic correlation of the studied sections to the Astronomical Tuned Time Scale (ANTS04; Lourens et al. in Geologic Time Scale 2004, Cambridge University Press, 2004). This correlation implies that the UL lithostratigraphic unit corresponds to the latest Ottnangian and the Early Karpatian, whereas the UF corresponds to the Karpatian and the Early Badenian. This indicates that the Brackish- to Freshwater Molasse transition already occurred during the late Ottnangian. The pre-Riesian hiatus occurred in the latest Karpatian and lower Early Badenian in Eastern Bavaria and Bohemia and in the Late Karpatian and earliest Badenian in Western Bavaria. The geochemical and Ar-Ar data of volcanic ashes suggest that highly evolved silicic magmas from a single volcano or volcanic center, characterized by a uniform Nd isotopic composition, erupted repetitively over the course of at least 1.6 Myr. Three phases of eruptive activity were identified at 16.1 ± 0.2 Ma (Zahling-2), 15.6 ± 0.4 Ma (Krumbad), and 14.5 ± 0.2 Ma (Heilsberg, Hegau). The correlation of the local biostratigraphic zonation to the ANTS04 enables further the characterization of both the Ottnangian-Karpatian and Karpatian-Badenian boundaries in the NAFB by small-mammal biostratigraphy. According to these results the Ottnangian-Karpatian boundary is contemporaneous with the first appearance datum of Megacricetodonbavaricus (in the size of the type population) and the first common occurrence of Keramidomys thaleri, whereas Ligerimys florancei, Melissiodon dominans and Prodeinotherium aff. bavaricum have been already disappeared during the late Ottnangian. The Karpatian-Badenian boundary is characterized by a significant size increase of the large Megacricetodon lineage and possibly a (re-)immigration of Prodeinotherium bavaricum.
- Ar/Ar dating