Biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy of the Toarcian Ludwigskanal section (Franconian Alb, Southern Germany)

Arp G, Gropengießer S, Schulbert C, Jung D, Reimer A (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Original Authors: Gernot Arp, Sebastian Gropengießer, Christian Schulbert, Dietmar Jung, Andreas Reimer

Book Volume: 95

Pages Range: 57-94

DOI: 10.3897/zitteliana.95.56222


Extensive construction work at the canal cutting of the Ludwigskanal near Dörlbach, Franconian Alb, provided the opportunity to re-investigate a scientific-historical and biostratigraphically important reference section of the South-German Toarcian. The 16 m thick section, described bed by bed with respect to lithology and macrofossils, starts within the Upper Pliensbachian Amaltheenton Formation, covers the Toarcian Posidonienschiefer and Jurensismergel Formation, and ends in basal parts of the Opalinuston Formation. Carbonate contents are high in the Posidonienschiefer and successively decline within the Jurensismergel to basal parts of the Opalinuston. The high carbonate contents in the Posidonienschiefer are associated with comparatively low organic carbon contents. However, organic carbon contents normalized to the silicate fraction are similarily high if compared to other regions in Germany. Only the persistence of high organic carbon levels into middle parts of the Upper Toarcian differs from those of most regions in central Europe.

Ammonite biostratigraphy indicates a thickness of >9 m for the Upper Pliensbachian, 1.15–1.20 m for the Lower Toarcian, 5.04 m for the Upper Toarcian, and >0.5 m for the Lower Aalenian. Despite the low sediment thickness, all Toarcian ammonite zones and almost all subzones are present, except for major parts of the Tenuicostatum Zone and the Fallaciosum Subzone.

On the basis of discontinuities, condensed beds, and correlations with neighbouring sections in Southern Germany, a sequence stratigraphic interpretation is proposed for the Toarcian of this region: (i) The Posidonienschiefer Formation corresponds to one 3rd order T-R sequence, from the top of the Hawskerense Subzone to a fucoid bed at the top of the Variabilis Subzone, with a maximum flooding surface at the top of the Falciferum Zone. (ii) The Jurensismergel Formation exhibits two 3rd order T-R sequences: The first ranges from the basis of the Illustris Subzone (i.e., the Intra-Variabilis-Discontinuity) to the top of the Thouarsense Zone, with a maximum flooding surface within the Thouarsense Zone. The “belemnite battlefield” reflects a transgressive “ravinement surface” within the first Jurensismergel Sequence, not a maximum regression surface at its basis. The second sequence extents from the erosive basis of the Dispansum Zone to the top of the Aalensis Subzone, with a maximum flooding surface at the Pseudoradiosa-Aalensis Zone boundary. Finally, the Opalinuston starts with a new sequence at the basis of the Torulosum Subzone. Transgressive system tracts of these 3rd order T-R sequences are commonly phosphoritic, while some regressive system tracts show pyrite preservation of ammonites. The maximum regression surfaces at the basis of the Toarcian and within the Variabilis Zone reflect a significant submarine erosion and relief formation by seawater currents, while this effect is less pronounced at the basis of the Dispansum Zone and basis of the Torulosum Subzone (i.e., the boundary Jurensismergel-Opalinuston Formation).

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Arp, G., Gropengießer, S., Schulbert, C., Jung, D., & Reimer, A. (2021). Biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy of the Toarcian Ludwigskanal section (Franconian Alb, Southern Germany). Zitteliana, 95, 57-94.


Arp, Gernot, et al. "Biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy of the Toarcian Ludwigskanal section (Franconian Alb, Southern Germany)." Zitteliana 95 (2021): 57-94.

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