Timing of the Middle Miocene Badenian Stage of the Central Paratethys

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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

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