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The middle Burdigalian in the North Alpine Foreland Basin (Bavaria, SE Germany) – a lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic re-evaluation

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For Oligocene and Miocene sediments of the Central Paratethys realm, regional chronostratigraphic stages have been defined on the basis of characteristic faunal assemblages, often containing abundant endemic elements. Although considerable progress has been made in correlating Paratethyan stages with the Global Time Scale (GTS), the task remains incomplete, especially for the Early Miocene period. The present study focuses on Lower Miocene deposits of the Central Paratethys in southeastern Germany, i.e.the Upper Marine Molasse (OMM) and Upper Brackish Molasse (OBM) of the North Alpine Foreland Basin (NAFB, Molasse Basin). The sediments concerned are assigned to the regional Ottnangian stage of the Central Paratethys, which corresponds to the middle Burdigalian in the GTS. We present a formal lithostratigraphic definition of the Untersimbach and Neuhofen Formations (both OMM), combined with litho-, bio- and magnetostratigraphic investigations, which together provide an improved chronology for the middle Burdigalian interval in the NAFB. The base of the Ottnangian stage is shown to correlate with polarity chron C5En, and we consider an absolute age of around 18.2 Ma to be most plausible. As the OMM in the southeast German part of the NAFB represents a single transgressive-regressive sequence, our new data suggest that the Ottnangian transgression began during chron C5En (~ 18.2 Ma), whereas the onset of the regressive phase lies within chron C5Dr.2r (~ 18 Ma). The uppermost marine deposits (top OMM/"Glaukonitsande & Blättermergel") and the lowermost brackish sediments (OBM/Oncophora Formation) are correlated with polarity chron C5Dn (~ 17.4 Ma). Moreover, our results clearly demonstrate that the lower Oncophora Formation (normal polarity) is not time-equivalent to the OBM/Kirchberg Formation in the southwest German sector of the NAFB (largely reverse polarity) as has hitherto been assumed. The lower Oncophora Formation is most probably contemporaneous with the lowermost OBM sediments (Grimmelfingen Formation) in the southwest German Molasse Basin.
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Keywords: BIOSTRATIGRAPHY; LITHOSTRATIGRAPHY; MAGNETOSTRATIGRAPHY; OTTNANGIAN; UPPER BRACKISH MOLASSE; UPPER MARINE MOLASSE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 June 2018

This article was made available online on 18 July 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "The middle Burdigalian in the North Alpine Foreland Basin (Bavaria, SE Germany) – a lithostratigraphic, biostratigraphic and magnetostratigraphic re-evaluation".

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  • Newsletters on Stratigraphy is an international, peer-reviewed journal with a focus on stratigraphic issues that are relevant for a broad geoscientific community. Papers published in Newsletters on Stratigraphy use (and ideally integrate) stratigraphic methodologies from a wide field of disciplines, including (but not limited to) biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, and magnetostratigraphy.

    The results have implications for paleogeographic reconstructions, paleoceanography, paleoclimate, biotic evolution, basin development, or regional and supraregional correlation.

    Papers published in Newsletters on Stratigraphy comprise original research articles, background information on ongoing work of e.g., the International Stratigraphic Commission (ICS) and the International Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification (ISSC), and review articles. There are no page charges for the publication of regular papers.
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