Depth transect of an Upper Triassic (Rhaetian) reef from Gosau, Austria: Microfacies and community ecology

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Martindale RC, Krystyn L, Bottjer DJ, Corsetti FA, Senowbari-Daryan B, Martini R
Journal: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publication year: 2013
Volume: 376
Pages range: 1-21
ISSN: 0031-0182
Language: English


In the Late Triassic (̃ 235-201.3. Ma) scleractinian corals and hypercalcified sponges built large, diverse reef ecosystems, the most famous of which are the Dachstein reefs. This study presents a depth transect along an Upper Triassic (lower Rhaetian) Dachstein reef from the Gosausee margin of the Dachsteingebirge (Gosau, Austria). The Gosausee microbial-sponge-coral reef is a complete barrier reef with an almost continuous fore reef to lagoon transect preserved (a very rare occurrence for the Triassic), and thus provides a window into depth zonation of Dachstein-type reef facies and biotic succession. The Gosausee reef facies exhibit strong depth control and five classic reef facies or zones are identified: the fore reef, reef front, reef crest, back reef, and lagoon facies. Thin, rare microbial fabrics and a high abundance of fine-grained, mud-rich skeletal wackestones (transported reef debris) characterize the deepest fore reef. As the reef shallows, muddy sediments decrease in abundance and are replaced by microbial fabrics, corals, and cements. Abundant sponges, microbial crusts, and thick, marine cements typify the reef crest, whereas microbialite-coated phaceloid corals are dominant in the back reef facies. Heavily cemented oncoids or microbial-sponge bindstones are characteristic of the lagoon. Based on their compositional and biotic similarities, the Gosausee reef was likely part of the same barrier reef systems as the source reef for the Gosaukamm reef breccia (one of the classic Norian-Rhaetian Dachstein reefs). The reef zones of the Gosausee margin can be used to interpret the depth or reef zone of less well preserved reef fragments, can inform models of community ecology and niche utilization in the Late Triassic, and highlight the need for additional research into the environmental factors that controlled biotic distribution in Upper Triassic reefs. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Senowbari-Daryan, Baba apl. Prof. Dr.
Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

Additional Organisation
Geozentrum Nordbayern

External institutions
Medizinische Universität Wien
Université de Genève (UNIGE) / University of Geneva
University of Southern California (USC)

How to cite

Martindale, R.C., Krystyn, L., Bottjer, D.J., Corsetti, F.A., Senowbari-Daryan, B., & Martini, R. (2013). Depth transect of an Upper Triassic (Rhaetian) reef from Gosau, Austria: Microfacies and community ecology. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 376, 1-21.

Martindale, Rowan C., et al. "Depth transect of an Upper Triassic (Rhaetian) reef from Gosau, Austria: Microfacies and community ecology." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 376 (2013): 1-21.


Last updated on 2018-10-08 at 21:53