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Omar Mohamed and Michael Wagreich

Abstract

Palynological analysis of the Rhenodanubian Flysch Zone section recovered from Well Höflein 6 north of Vienna allows the successful application of non-calcareous dinoflagellate biostratigraphy to the deep-water sediments of the Greifenstein Nappe. All 62 cuttings samples contained organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) and some of them allow age-assessment. The results corroborated the presence of two thrust slices. The upper thrust unit A comprises a Campanian to Lower Eocene succession including, from old to young, the Röthenbach Subgroup, Perneck Formation, Altlengbach Formation and Greifenstein Formation. The lower thrust unit B contains in addition a pre- Campanian base, probably the Wolfpassing Formation of Early to mid-Cretaceous age.

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Ahmed Ali and Michael Wagreich

Abstract

Mineralogical, major, minor, REE and trace element analyses of rock samples were performed on Middle Miocene limestones (Leitha limestones, Badenian) collected from four localities from Austria (Mannersdorf, Wöllersdorf, Kummer and Rosenberg quarries) and the Fertőrákos quarry in Hungary. Impure to pure limestones (i.e. limited by Al2O3 contents above or below 0.43 wt. %) were tested to evaluate the applicability of various geochemical proxies and indices in regard to provenance and palaeoenvironmental interpretations. Pure and impure limestones from Mannersdorf and Wöllersdorf (southern Vienna Basin) show signs of detrital input (REEs = 27.6 ± 9.8 ppm, Ce anomaly = 0.95 ± 0.1 and the presence of quartz, muscovite and clay minerals in impure limestones) and diagenetic influence (low contents of, e.g., Sr = 221 ± 49 ppm, Na is not detected, Ba = 15.6 ± 8.8 ppm in pure limestones). Thus, in both limestones the reconstruction of original sedimentary palaeoenvironments by geochemistry is hampered. The Kummer and Fertőrákos (Eisenstadt–Sopron Basin) comprise pure limestones (e.g., averages Sr = 571 ± 139 ppm, Na = 213 ± 56 ppm, Ba = 21 ± 4 ppm, REEs = 16 ± 3 ppm and Ce anomaly = 0.62 ± 0.05 and composed predominantly of calcite) exhibiting negligible diagenesis. Deposition under a shallow-water, well oxygenated to intermittent dysoxic marine environment can be reconstructed. Pure to impure limestones at Rosenberg–Retznei (Styrian Basin) are affected to some extent by detrital input and volcano-siliciclastic admixture. The Leitha limestones at Rosenberg have the least diagenetic influence among the studied localities (i.e. averages Sr = 1271 ± 261 ppm, Na = 315 ± 195 ppm, Ba = 32 ± 15 ppm, REEs = 9.8 ± 4.2 ppm and Ce anomaly = 0.77 ± 0.1 and consist of calcite, minor dolomite and quartz). The siliciclastic sources are characterized by immobile elemental ratios (i.e. La/Sc and Th/Co) which apply not only for the siliciclastics, but also for marls and impure limestones. At Mannersdorf the detrital input source varies between intermediate to silicic igneous rocks, while in Kummer and Rosenberg the source is solely silicic igneous rocks. The Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) is only applicable in the shale-contaminated impure limestones. CIA values of the Leitha limestones from Mannersdorf indicate a gradual transition from warm to temperate palaeoclimate within the limestone succession of the Badenian.

Open access

Andrzej Ślączka, Marta Bąk, Clemens Pfersmann, Veronika Koukal, Michael Wagreich, Szymon Kowalik and Martin Maslo

Abstract

Two sections of the klippen zones in the Wienerwald area have been investigated for their stratigraphy: (1) The Gern section of the Main Klippen Zone, a part of the Gresten Klippen Zone, and (2) the St. Veit Klippen Zone in the Lainz Tunnel and the neighboring outcrops in western Vienna. New biostratigraphic data are based on radiolaria from siliceous intervals and a few findings of calcareous nannofossils from marlstones. In the Gresten Klippen Zone, radiolarian assemblages from limestones of the Gern locality indicate a middle Oxfordian to early Kimmeridgian age of the Scheibbsbach Formation.

Radiolarian and nannofossil data from the St. Veit Klippen Zone in the Lainz railway tunnel locality, as well as correlated outcrops from the Lainzer Tiergarten and the Gemeindeberg in the southwest of Vienna, indicate the presence of mainly Bajocian to lower Oxfordian red radiolarites and cherts (Rotenberg Formation). Siliceous, grey limestones and cherts of the Fasselgraben Formation range from the upper Oxfordian–Kimmeridgian to the Valanginian–Barremian.

The Main Klippen Zone was derived from the European margin to the north, and this zone is regarded as a Helvetic paleogeographic unit. The St. Veit Klippen Zone in the Lainz Tunnel section contains no ophiolitic material and shows a tectonic contact with the surrounding Rhenodanubian nappe system, which indicates no primary sedimentary contact of the St. Veit Klippen Zone with the Flysch units, as well as demonstrating the presence of two structurally separated Alpine tectonic units. Thus, a direct correlation with the Ybbsitz Zone is not supported, and an original paleogeographic position in the transition from the Penninic Ocean to the Austroalpine continental fragment is proposed.

Open access

Johann Hohenegger, Stjepan Ćorić and Michael Wagreich

Abstract

A new and precisely defined chronometric subdivision of the Badenian (Middle Miocene, regional stage of Central Paratethys) is proposed. This uses global events, mainly geomagnetic polarity reversals as correlated chronometric boundaries, supported by climatic and sea-level changes in addition to isotope events and biostratigraphic data. The Karpatian/ Badenian boundary lies at 16.303 Ma, at the top of Chron C5Cn.2n, which is near the base of the Praeorbulina sicana Lowest-occurrence Zone (LOZ). The Badenian/Sarmatian boundary is placed at the top of polarity Chron C5Ar.2n, thus at 12.829 Ma. In relation to three sea level cycles TB 2.3, TB 2.4 and TB 2.5 and astronomically confirmed data, the Badenian can be divided into three parts of nearly equivalent duration. The Early Badenian as newly defined here ranges from 16.303 to 15.032 Ma (top of polarity Chron C5Bn.2n). The younger boundary correlates roughly to the base of the planktonic foraminifera Orbulina suturalis LOZ at 15.10 Ma, the HO (Highest Occurrence) of the nannofossil Helicosphaera ampliaperta at 14.91 Ma (NN4/NN5 boundary) and the Lan2/Ser1 sequence boundary at 14.80 Ma. The subsequent Mid Badenian ranges from 15.032 Ma to 13.82 Ma; the latter datum correlates with the base of the Serravallian, characterized by a strong global cooling event reflected in the oxygen isotope event Mi3b. The main part of cycle TB 2.4 falls into the Mid Badenian, which can be subdivided by a short cooling event at 14.24 Ma during the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (14.70 to 13.82 Ma). The HCO (Highest common occurrence) of the nannofossil Helicosphaera waltrans at 14.357 Ma supports this division, also seen in the tropical plankton Zones M6 Orbulina suturalis LOZ and M7 Fohsella peripheroacuta LOZ that correspond roughly to the lower and upper Lagenidae zones in the Vienna Basin, respectively. The Late Badenian is delimited in time at the base to 13.82 Ma by the Langhian/Serravallian boundary and at the top by the top of polarity Chron C5Ar.2n at 12.829 Ma. The Mediterranean Langhian/Serravallian boundary can be equated with the Mid/Late Badenian boundary at 13.82 Ma. However, the Karpatian/Badenian boundary at 16.303 Ma, a significant event easily recognizable in biostratigraphy, paleoclimate evolution and sequence stratigraphy, cannot be equated with the proposed global Burdigalian/Langhian, and thus Early/Middle Miocene boundary, at 15.974 Ma

Open access

Alexander Lukeneder, Eva Halásová, Andreas Kroh, Susanne Mayrhofer, Petr Pruner, Daniela Reháková, Petr Schnabl, Mario Sprovieri and Michael Wagreich

High resolution stratigraphy of the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary interval in the Gresten Klippenbelt (Austria)

The key objective of investigation of hemipelagic sediments from the Gresten Klippenbelt (Blassenstein Formation, Ultrahelvetic paleogeographic realm) was to shed light on environmental changes around the Jurassic-Cretaceous (J/K) boundary on the northern margin of the Penninic Ocean. This boundary is well exposed in a newly discovered site at Nutzhof. Around the critical interval including the boundary, this new outcrop bears a rich microplanktonic assemblage characterized by typical J/K (Tithonian/Berriasian) boundary faunas. The Nutzhof section is located in the Gresten Klippenbelt (Lower Austria) tectonically wedged into the deep-water sediments of the Rhenodanubian Flysch Zone. In Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous time the Penninic Ocean was a side tract of the proto-North Atlantic Oceanic System, intercalated between the European and the Austroalpine plates. Its opening started during the Early Jurassic, induced by sea floor spreading, followed by Jurassic-Early Cretaceous deepening of the depositional area of the Gresten Klippenbelt. These tectonically induced paleogeographic changes are mirrored in the lithology and microfauna that record a deepening of the depositional environment from Tithonian to Berriasian sediments of the Blassenstein Formation at Nutzhof. The main lithological change is observed in the Upper Tithonian Crassicollaria Zone, in Chron M20N, whereas the J/K boundary can be precisely fixed at the Crassicollaria-Calpionella boundary, within Chron M19n.2n. The lithological turnover of the deposition from more siliciclastic pelagic marl-limestone cycles into deep-water pelagic limestones is correlated with the deepening of the southern edge of the European continent at this time. Within the Gresten Klippenbelt Unit, this transition is reflected by the lithostratigraphic boundary between siliciclastic-bearing marl-limestone sedimentation in the uppermost Jurassic and lowermost Cretaceous limestone formation, both within the Blassenstein Formation. The cephalopod fauna (ammonites, belemnites, aptychi) and crinoids from the Blassenstein Formation, correlated with calcareous microfossil and nannofossil data combined with isotope and paleomagnetic data, indicate the Tithonian to middle Berriasian (Hybonoticeras hybonotum Zone up to the Subthurmannia occitanica Zone; M17r-M21r). The succession of the Nutzhof section thus represents deposition of a duration of approximately 7 Myr (ca. 150-143 Ma). The deposition of the limestone, marly limestone and marls in this interval occurred during tectonically unstable conditions reflected by common allodapic material. Along with the integrated biostratigraphic, geochemical and isotopic analysis, the susceptibility and gamma-ray measurements were powerful stratigraphic tools and important for the interpretation of the paleogeographic setting. Two reverse magneto-subzones, Kysuca and Brodno, were detected within magnetozones M20n and M19n, respectively.

Open access

Markus Palzer-Khomenko, Michael Wagreich, Mădălina-Elena Kallanxhi, Ali Soliman, Wolfgang Knierzinger, Maria Meszar and Susanne Gier

Abstract

A detailed study of OMV wells throughout the Lower Austrian Molasse Basin demonstrates the existence of a distinct and synchronous upper Ottnangian (lower Miocene) stratigraphic signal, the Calcite Minimum Interval (CMI). It corresponds to the depositional phase of the Rzehakia Lake System. This signal is interpreted to be of chronostratigraphic importance as an expression of palaeoclimate and related sea-level change. It is represented by the brackish Traisen Formation, which crops out south of the Danube. The Traisen Formation correlates with sands and shales in OMV wells to the north, termed Wildendürnbach Formation. However, the CMI underlies a marine unit, the so-called “Oncophora Beds” (also known as Rzehakia Beds) as reported from OMV wells in the north at the border to the Czech Republic. We demonstrate that these former “Oncophora Beds” are younger, i.e. of Karpatian age, than originally assumed. Therefore, these deposits cannot be correlated to the late Ottnangian Traisen Formation. This may solve the problem of contradicting interpretations concerning the depositional environment of both units, which were correlated to each other in the past. As no Rzehakia bivalves (formerly Oncophora) are described from these former “Oncophora Beds”, we recommend to avoid using the term for these turbiditic sands. Instead, we attribute these deposits to the fully marine Karpatian Laa Formation. These new findings, which are in accordance with published data from the Czech Republic, indicate two (in time and space) independent sedimentary systems and sand deposition centres for the Traisen Formation and the massive sands attributed as “Oncophora Beds” around Wildendürnbach. A late Ottnangian system in the south delivered the material of the Traisen Formation from the Alps and a Karpatian system delivered the clastic material of the massive sands of the Laa Formation from the east.

Open access

Markus Palzer-Khomenko, Michael Wagreich, Wolfgang Knierzinger, Maria Meszar, Susanne Gier, Mădălina-Elena Kallanxhi and Ali Soliman

Abstract

Within the Lower Austrian part of the North Alpine Foreland Basin (NAFB), up to 1000 m of sediments were deposited throughout the Ottnangian (Early Miocene, Burdigalian). According to homogeneous compositions and sparse biostratigraphic resolution, a consistent stratigraphic concept from the basin margins into the foreland depocenter was still lacking. New investigations on several deep drill cores throughout the basin provide comprehensive sedimentological, mineralogical, chemical and micropaleontological data. A calcite poor, fossil- and pyrite-free, smectite-rich, up to 800 m thick interval was identified and correlated to the time interval of the late Ottnangian brackish Rzehakia Lake System. For this section, we introduce the term Calcite Minimum Interval (CMI). We define the onset of the CMI by a sharp decrease of calcite contents and the disappearance of autochthonous (and reworked) calcareous nannofossils. We define the termination of the CMI by the permanent increase of pyrite contents and the reappearance of calcareous nannofossils. The CMI as a litho- and chemostratigraphical marker for the Rzehakia Lake System constitutes a stratigraphic key horizon. Within the NAFB in Lower Austria, its onset corresponds to the middle/upper Ottnangian transition while its termination correlates roughly to the Ottnangian / Karpatian boundary. This allows a precise definition, identification and correlation of (upper) Ottnangian stratigraphic units of the NAFB. For the central basinal parts of the Rzehakia Lake System, we introduce the new lithostratigraphic term Wildendürnbach Formation which correlates to the marginal Traisen Formation.