The Eocene-Oligocene transition in the North Alpine Foreland Basin and subsequent closure of a Paratethys gateway

A. Van der Boon, A. Beniest, A. Ciurej, E. Gazdizka, A. Grother, R.F. Sachsenhofer, Cor G. Langereis, W. Krijgsman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

During the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT), a major palaeoenvironmental change took place in the Paratethys Sea of central Eurasia. Restricted connectivity and increased stratification resulted in wide-spread deposition of organic-rich sediments which nowadays make up important hydrocarbon source rocks. The North Alpine Foreland Basin (NAFB) was a major gateway of the Paratethys Sea to the open ocean during the Eocene, but the age of closure of this gateway is still uncertain.

The Ammer section in southern Germany documents the shallowing of this connection and subsequent disappearance of marine environments in the NAFB, as reflected in its sedimentary succession of turbidites to marls (Deutenhausen to Tonmergel beds), via coastal sediments (Baustein beds) to continental conglomerates (Weißach beds). Here, we apply organic geochemistry and date the lithological transitions in the Ammer section using integrated stratigraphy, including magnetostratigraphy and biostratigraphy. Nannoplankton and dinocyst results can be reconciled when dinoflagellate species Wetzeliella symmetrica is of late Eocene age. Our magnetostratigraphy then records C13r-C13n-C12r and allows calculation of sediment accumulation rates and estimation of ages of lithological transitions.

We show that the shallowing from turbiditic slope deposits (Deutenhausen beds) to shelf sediments (Tonmergel beds) coincides with the Eocene-Oligocene boundary at 33.9 Ma. The transition to continental sediments is dated at ca. 33.15 Ma, significantly older than suggested by previous studies. We conclude that the transition from marine to continental sediments drastically reduced the marine connection through the western part of the NAFB and influenced the oxygen conditions of the Paratethys Sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-119
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

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