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  • Author: Patrick Grunert x
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Integrated high-resolution stratigraphy of a Middle to Late Miocene sedimentary sequence in the central part of the Vienna Basin

In order to determine the relative contributions of tectonics and eustasy to the sedimentary infill of the Vienna Basin a high-resolution stratigraphic record of a Middle to Late Miocene sedimentary sequence was established for a well (Spannberg-21) in the central part of the Vienna Basin. The well is located on an intrabasinal high, the Spannberg Ridge, a location that is relatively protected from local depocentre shifts. Downhole magnetostratigraphic measurements and biostratigraphical analysis form the basis for the chronostratigraphic framework. Temporal gaps in the sedimentary sequence were quantified from seismic data, well correlations and high-resolution electrical borehole images. Stratigraphic control with this integrated approach was good in the Sarmatian and Pannonian, but difficult in the Badenian. The resulting sedimentation rates show an increase towards the Upper Sarmatian from 0.43 m/kyr to > 1.2 m/kyr, followed by a decrease to relatively constant values around 0.3 m/kyr in the Pannonian. The sequence reflects the creation of accommodation space during the pull-apart phase of the basin and the subsequent slowing of the tectonic activity. The retreat of the Paratethys from the North Alpine Foreland Basin during the Early Sarmatian temporarily increased the influx of coarsergrained sediment, but eventually the basin acted mostly as a by-pass zone of sediment towards the Pannonian Basin. At a finer scale, the sequence exhibits correlations with global eustasy indicators, notably during the Sarmatian, the time of greatest basin subsidence and full connectivity with the Paratethyan system. In the Pannonian the eustatic signals become weaker due to an increased isolation of the Vienna Basin from Lake Pannon.

Upwelling conditions in the Early Miocene Central Paratethys Sea

Evidence for regional upwelling conditions in the Central Paratethys Sea is presented for mid-Burdigalian (early Ottnangian) times. The oceanographic phenomenon is detected in clay-diatomite successions along the steep escarpment of the Bohemian Massif in the eastern North Alpine Foreland Basin. Interpretations are based on a multiproxy data-set including published sedimentological and paleontological data, newly performed stable isotope measurements (δ18O, δ13C) of foraminifers and bulk sediment samples, and analyses of dinoflagellate cyst assemblages. The revealed stable isotope values of planktonic foraminifers point to upwelling: low δ13C values indicate strong mixing of surface waters with rising nutrient-rich waters, high δ18O values reflect cool sea surface temperatures (SST). Temperature calculations give SSTs ranging from 10-14 °C. Cool SSTs and high productivity are additionally supported by bulk sediment analyses. Assemblages of dinoflagellate cysts indicate a distal-shelf environment with nutrient-rich waters. Westerly winds and tidal currents are discussed as potential driving forces behind the local upwelling event. As mid-Burdigalian geography favoured strong current patterns in the Central Paratethys as documented in the sedimentary record from the Rhône Basin to Hungary upwelling might have been a more common phenomenon in this epicontinental sea than currently known.


Hydrocarbon exploration in the Bernhardsthal and Bernhardsthal-Sued oil fields documents an up to 2000 m thick succession of middle and upper Badenian deposits in this part of the northern Vienna Basin (Austria). Based on palaeontological analyses of core-samples, well-log data and seismic surveys we propose an integrated stratigraphy and describe the depositional environments. As the middle/late Badenian boundary is correlated with the Langhian/Serravallian boundary, the cores capture the crucial phase of the Middle Miocene Climate Transition. The middle Badenian starts with a major transgression leading to outer neritic to upper bathyal conditions in the northern Vienna Basin, indicated by Bathysiphon-assemblages and glass-sponges. A strong palaeo-relief and rapid synsedimentary subsidence accentuated sedimentation during this phase. The middle/late Badenian boundary coincides with a major drop of relative sea level by about 200 m, resulting in a rapid shift from deeper marine depositional environments to coastal and freshwater swamps. In coeval marine settings, a more than 100 m thick unit of anhydrite-bearing clay formed. This is the first evidence of evaporite precipitation during the Badenian Salinity Crisis in the Vienna Basin. Shallow lagoonal environments with diverse and fully marine mollusc and fish assemblages were established during the subsequent late Badenian re-flooding. In composition, the mollusc fauna differs considerably from older ones and is characterized by the sudden appearance of species with eastern Paratethyan affinities.