Depositional sequences originating in semi-enclosed basins with endemic biota, partly or completely isolated from the open ocean, frequently do not allow biostratigraphic correlations with the standard geological time scale (GTS). The Miocene stages of the Central Paratethys represent regional chronostratigraphic units that were defined in type sections mostly on the basis of biostratigraphic criteria. The lack of accurate dating makes correlation within and between basins of this area and at global scales difficult. Although new geochronological estimates increasingly constrain the age of stage boundaries in the Paratethys, such estimates can be misleading if they do not account for diachronous boundaries between lithostratigraphic formations and for forward smearing of first appearances of index species (Signor-Lipps effect), and if they are extrapolated to whole basins. Here, we argue that (1) geochronological estimates of stage boundaries need to be based on sections with high completeness and high sediment accumulation rates, and (2) that the boundaries should preferentially correspond to conditions with sufficient marine connectivity between the Paratethys and the open ocean. The differences between the timing of origination of a given species in the source area and timing of its immigration to the Paratethys basins should be minimized during such intervals. Here, we draw attention to the definition of the Central Paratethys regional time scale, its modifications, and its present-day validity. We suggest that the regional time scale should be adjusted so that stage boundaries reflect local and regional geodynamic processes as well as the opening and closing of marine gateways. The role of eustatic sea level changes and geodynamic processes in determining the gateway formation needs to be rigorously evaluated with geochronological data and spatially-explicit biostratigraphic data so that their effects can be disentangled.
The Ratkovce 1 well, drilled in the Blatné depocenter of the northern Danube Basin penetrated the Miocene sedimentary record with a total thickness of 2000 m. Biostratigraphically, the NN4, NN5 and NN6 Zones of calcareous nannoplankton were documented; CPN7 and CPN8 foraminifer Zones (N9, 10, 11 of the global foraminiferal zonation; and MMi4a; MMi5 and MMi6 of the Mediterranean foraminiferal zonation were recognized. Sedimentology was based on description of well core material, and together with SP and RT logs, used to characterize paleoenvironmental conditions of the deposition. Five sedimentary facies were reconstructed: (1) fan-delta to onshore environment which developed during the Lower Badenian; (2) followed by the Lower Badenian proximal slope gravity currents sediments; (3) distal slope turbidites were deposited in the Lower and Upper Badenian; (4) at the very end of the Upper Badenian and during the Sarmatian a coastal plain of normal marine to brackish environment developed; (5) sedimentation finished with the Pannonian-Pliocene shallow lacustrine to alluvial plain deposits. The provenance analysis records that the sediment of the well-cores was derived from crystalline basement granitoides and gneisses and from the Permian to Lower Cretaceous sedimentary cover and nappe units of the Western Carpathians and the Eastern Alps. Moreover, the Lower Badenian volcanism was an important source of sediments in the lower part of the sequence.