11. Molluscs as a Major Part of Subtropical Shallow-Water Carbonate Production – an Example from a Middle Miocene Oolite Shoal (Upper Serravallian, Austria)

  1. Maria Mutti3,
  2. Werner Piller4 and
  3. Christian Betzler5
  1. Mathias Harzhauser1 and
  2. Werner E. Piller2

Published Online: 3 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118398364.ch11

Carbonate Systems during the Oligocene-Miocene Climatic Transition

Carbonate Systems during the Oligocene-Miocene Climatic Transition

How to Cite

Harzhauser, M. and Piller, W. E. (2012) Molluscs as a Major Part of Subtropical Shallow-Water Carbonate Production – an Example from a Middle Miocene Oolite Shoal (Upper Serravallian, Austria), in Carbonate Systems during the Oligocene-Miocene Climatic Transition (eds M. Mutti, W. Piller and C. Betzler), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118398364.ch11

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften Universität Potsdam, Postfach 60 15 53 D-14415 Potsdam, Germany

  2. 4

    Institute for Earth Sciences (Geology & Paleontology) University of Graz, Heinrichstrasse 26, A-8010 Graz, Austria

  3. 5

    Geologisch-Palaeontologisches Institut, Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany

Author Information

  1. 1

    Natural History Museum Vienna, Burgring 7, A-1014 Vienna, Austria

  2. 2

    Institut für Erdwissenschaften Bereich Geologie und Paläontologie, Universität Graz, Heinrichstrasse 26, A-8010 Graz, Austria

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 APR 2012
  2. Published Print: 5 APR 2012

Book Series:

  1. Special Publication Number 42 of the International Association of Sedimentologists

Book Series Editors:

  1. Ian Jarvis6,7

Series Editor Information

  1. 6

    School of Geography, Geology and the Environment Centre for Earth and Environmental Science Research, Kingston University London, UK

  2. 7

    Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames KT1 2EE, UK

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444337914

Online ISBN: 9781118398364

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Keywords:

  • Oolite shoal;
  • molluscs;
  • flood-tidal delta;
  • shell dunes;
  • Miocene;
  • Vienna Basin

Summary

Molluscs are usually subordinate contributors to Cenozoic subtropical carbonate factories. A spectacular exception is represented by the shell-carbonate deposits from the Middle Miocene of the Vienna Basin (Austria). These strata consist of up to 81% shells and shell-hash of marine bivalves and gastropods. These locally widespread deposits fill the inlet of an Upper Serravallian (= Sarmatian regional stage) oolite shoal, forming foresets of 10–13m height and slope angles of 20°.

Medium- to small-sized shell dunes of up to 280cm height and shell ripples of 10cm height and up to 190cm length can be distinguished within the foresets. Due to amalgamation and mechanical nesting of shells, the ripples grew into the direction of the flow and were run over by subsequent ripples. The piling of shells causes stoss sides with high preservation potential within the ripples. The shells and shell-debris involved in the dune formation are interpreted to be derived from the surrounding shoal. The geometry of the foresets, dunes and ripples documents a dominant current entering a shallow lagoon framed by oolite shoals via an inlet. Based on the palaeogeographic position, these bedforms are interpreted to indicate the presence of a subaqueous floodtidal delta marking the entrance into a shallow lagoon.

The absence of corals and corallinacean algae and a relatively reduced biotic inventory following a major extinction of marine biota in the enclosed Sarmatian Sea, allowed a few pioneer mollusc species to settle at the coasts in considerable numbers. Due to the absence of the classical constituents of a shallow-water subtropical carbonate factory (i.e. a photozoan association), molluscs came to dominate carbonate production.