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Dmitry A. Ruban

Abstract

At a glance, progress in palaeontology and eustatic reconstructions in the past decade permits to prove or to disprove the possible dependence of Palaeozoic brachiopod generic diversity dynamics on global sea-level changes. However, the available diversity curve is of much lower resolution than the eustatic curve. This problem can be resolved by decreasing the resolution of the latter. The other restriction linked to the chronostratigraphical incompatibility of the available data allows to focus on the Middle Palaeozoic only. A series of mass extinctions and other biotic crises in the Silurian-Devonian does not allow to interpret correctly the results of direct comparison of the brachiopod generic diversity dynamics with global sea-level changes. With the available data, it is only possible to hypothesize that the eustatic control was not playing a major part in diversity dynamics of Middle Palaeozoic brachiopods. The resolution of the stratigraphic ranges of Palaeozoic brachiopods should be increased signifcantly, and these ranges should be plotted against the most up-to-date geologic time scale. Until this task will be achieved, it is impossible to judge about the existence of any dependence (either full or partial) of the Palaeozoic brachiopod diversity dynamics on global sea-level changes.

Open access

Dmitry A. Ruban

Abstract

A long-term eustatic cycle (fall and subsequent rise of the global sea level) embraced the late Silurian-Middle Devonian time interval. Potentially, these sea-level changes could drive global biodiversity. The stratigraphic ranges of 204 bivalve genera and 279 gastropod genera included into the famous Sepkoski database allow reconstructing changes in the total diversity and the number of originations and extinctions of these important groups of marine benthic macro- -invertebrates during this interval. None of the recorded parameters coincided with the long-term global sea-level cycle. It cannot be not excluded, however, that the global sea-level changes did not affect the regions favourable for bivalve and gastropod radiation because of regional tectonic mechanisms; neither can it be excluded that the eustatic control persisted together with many other extrinsic and intrinsic controls. Interestingly, the generic diversity of gastropods increased together with a cooling trend, and vice versa. Additionally, the Ludlow, Eifelian, and Givetian biotic crises affected, probably, both fossil groups under study. There was also a coincidence of the relatively high bivalve generic diversity, initial radiation of gastropods and the entire biota, and the diversification of brachiopods with the Early Devonian global sea-level lowstand, and this may be interpreted as evidence of a certain eustatic control on the marine biodiversity.

Open access

Dmitry A. Ruban

Abstract

Possible plate tectonic controls on faunal diversity dynamics have been discussed in the geological literature for around 50 years. The new model of plate tectonic processes is here linked to Jurassic generic diversity (simple α-diversity) of brachiopods. This comparison offers three observations, four hypotheses and three unresolved issues. Most importantly, changes in the global plate root mean square speed coincided with brachiopod diversity dynamics, which can be explained hypothetically by either environmental disturbance triggered by more active plate motion or activity of any process (such as eustasy) tied to plate tectonic mechanisms and with an impact on marine benthic communities. It is also established that global generic diversity dynamics of brachiopods during the Jurassic coincided with the regional picture as established for the Northern Caucasus and the Swiss Jura Alps; this coincidence is difficult to explain with regard to plate tectonics. These and other speculative considerations do not clarify the role of the plate tectonic factor in Jurassic generic diversity dynamics of brachiopods, and, thus, they indicate important issues for further research.

Open access

Dmitry Ruban, Clinton Conrad and A. van Loon

The challenge of reconstructing the Phanerozoic sea level and the Pacific Basin tectonics

The relationships between the interior dynamics of our planet and global sea level can be unravelled when plate-tectonic reconstructions are available for the entire Earth. A review of global tectonics reveals significant deficiencies in our understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Pacific (Panthalassa or Proto-Pacific) during the Cambrian-Jurassic time-span. This particular, but major, shortcoming presents a true challenge for modern geoscientists, who are encouraged to produce a detailed plate-tectonic reconstruction of the Pacific for the pre-Cretaceous in order to advance our understanding of Phanerozoic sea-level change. A set of approaches, including geological/geophysical modelling, investigation of accretionary prisms, palaeobiogeographical studies, and careful examination of eustatic sea-level changes, are proposed that will help geoscientists tackle the challenge of understanding how Pacific geodynamics affected global sea level during the Phanerozoic.

Open access

Katrin A. Lubova, Pavel P. Zayats, Dmitry A. Ruban and Günter Tiess

Abstract

Megaclasts are sedimentary particles larger than boulders. Their huge size and scattered occurrence make them objects that deserve geological heritage, requiring conservation. Investigation of megaclasts for the purpose faces difficulties because of the distinction between boulders and megaclasts. Local study of Quaternary large stones in Mountainous Adygeja (W Caucasus, SW Russia) suggests ~ 2 m as a suitable size criterion, although only locally. Shape, occurrence, and origin of megaclasts require additional attention.

Geoconservation may result in anthropogenic disturbances of the natural landscape through removal of vegetation, access constructions, and restoration. The geotourism potential of megaclasts is partly determined by their huge size and their rare and scattered occurrence. Aesthetic qualities, local legends, and co-occurrence with prehistoric megalithic constructions increase this potential. The Maiden’s Stone in Mountainous Adygeja, which is ~ 35 m long, has been a tourist attraction already for decades. It is an impressive example of geoconconservation and geotourism connected with megaclasts. Generally, megaclasts increase the value (including the scientific importance) of the geological heritage of Mountainous Adygeja, where a geopark might be established.

Open access

Anna V. Mikhailenko, Olesya V. Nazarenko, Dmitry A. Ruban and Pavel P. Zayats

Abstract

The current growth in geotourism requires an urgent development of classifications of geological features on the basis of criteria that are relevant to tourist perceptions. It appears that structure-related patterns are especially attractive for geotourists. Consideration of the main criteria by which tourists judge beauty and observations made in the geodiversity hotspot of the Western Caucasus allow us to propose a tentative aesthetics-based classification of geological structures in outcrops, with two classes and four subclasses. It is possible to distinguish between regular and quasi-regular patterns (i.e., striped and lined and contorted patterns) and irregular and complex patterns (paysage and sculptured patterns). Typical examples of each case are found both in the study area and on a global scale. The application of the proposed classification permits to emphasise features of interest to a broad range of tourists. Aesthetics-based (i.e., non-geological) classifications are necessary to take into account visions and attitudes of visitors.

Open access

Oksana S. Dzyuba, Anna A. Goryacheva, Dmitry A. Ruban, Victoria V. Gnezdilova and Pavel P. Zayats

Abstract

Palaeontological data on the Caucasus are highly important for large-scale stratigraphical and palaeobiogeographical assessment of the northern Tethyan margin, but this information is often scarce and not available in English. Field studies in the Northern Caucasus have now permitted to amass some new data. Two belemnite species are described from the stratotype section of the Kamennomostskaja Formation (Callovian, Middle Jurassic) near the town of Kamennomostskij in Adygeja (Northern Caucasus). These are Belemnopsis subhastata (von Zieten, 1831) and Rhopaloteuthis ominosa Gustomesov, 1968. The latter is a rare species, and the present find allows new insights into its taxonomy. A palyno-logical analysis of the belemnite-bearing sample was carried out, and a diverse assemblage of dinocysts, acritarchs and prasinophytes, plus pollen and spores recognised. The most abundant palynomorphs are Micrhystridium and Classopollis. Data on belemnites coupled with those on palynomorphs indicate the early Callovian age of the sample level. This interpretation differs slightly from previous conclusions based on ammonites and dinocysts. If this age is correct, the degree of condensation of Callovian deposits in the section studied was lesser than previously assumed.

Open access

Anna A. Goryacheva, Svetlana O. Zorina, Dmitry A. Ruban, Alexei A. Eskin, Konstantin I. Nikashin, Bulat M. Galiullin, Vladimir P. Morozov, Anna V. Mikhailenko, Olesya V. Nazarenko and Pavel P. Zayats

Abstract

Information on Jurassic palynomorphs from the Greater Caucasus is potentially of great importance, but its availability to the international research community is severely limited. New palynological data for Toarcian deposits of the Western Caucasus are recorded in the present paper. Particularly, dinoflagellate cysts are described for the first time from the Bagovskaja Formation; palynomorphs are found in sandstone levels within this unit. The most representative assemblage includes pollen (with predominant bisaccate pollen), spores (Cyathidites being commonest), and dinoflagellate cysts amongst which the predominant taxon is Nannoceratopsis spiculata. The dinocyst assemblage implies a late Toarcian age for the upper part of the Bagovskaja Formation. On the basis of these new palynostratigraphical results, the range of the formation is extended; previously, only the lower part had been dated on ammonite evidence.

Open access

Geise de Santana dos Anjos Zerfass, Dmitry A. Ruban, Farid Chemale Jr. and Henrique Zerfass

Abstract

The Pelotas Basin, located on the SE Brazilian shelf, has evolved since the Aptian. Stratigraphical data from the basin can be used for delineation of the unconformity-bounded units (synthems) on the shelf, which is a first step towards a full understanding of its stratigraphic architecture, evolution, and hydrocarbon potential. Hiatuses in the Cenozoic succession of the Pelotas Basin are established with both biostratigraphic (planktonic foraminifers and calcareous nannofossils) and isotopic (87Sr/86Sr) data. The seven recognised hiatuses are dated respectively as (1) Palaeocene (Danian- Thanetian), (2) Palaeocene/Eocene boundary (Thanetian-Ypresian), (3) Eocene (Ypresian-Lutetian), (4) Eocene-Oligocene (Lutetian-Rupelian), (5) early-late Oligocene (Rupelian-Chattian), (6) early Miocene (Aquitanian-Burdigalian), and (7) middle-late Miocene (Serravallian-Tortonian). These intervals between the hiatuses are correlated with those of the Santos and Campos Basins north from the Pelotas Basin.

The breaks in sedimentation that these basins have in common occurred (1) at the Palaeocene-Eocene and (2) Eocene-Oligocene transitions, (3) in the early Miocene, and (4) in the middle-late Miocene. These main unconformities outline five synthems on the SE Brazilian shelf, viz. the SEBS-1 (Palaeocene), SEBS-2 (Eocene), SEBS-3 (Oligocene), SEBS-4 (early-middle Miocene) and SEBS-5 (late Miocene-Holocene). The above unconformities are correlated with those established in the Cenozoic sedimentary successions of different regions such as Western Siberia, Arabia, NW and NE Africa, peninsular India, S Australia, the Gulf of Mexico, NW Europe, and South Africa.

The only regional unconformity, near the Oligocene/Miocene boundary, coincides with the nearly-global sedimentation break. The latter was resulted from a climatic event, i.e., the ‘Mi-1 glaciation’. Thus, a eustatic origin is supposed for this regional unconformity. The other regional unconformities also correspond to global sea-level falls (probably with an exception for the Palaeocene/Eocene surface), which suggests that global eustatic movements controlled the development of the regional synthem architecture.