Environmental stress in the northern Tethys during the Paleogene: a review of foraminiferal and geochemical records from the Polish Outer Carpathians

Barbara Olszewska, Andrzej Szydło


During the Paleogene, the area of the northern Tethys was controlled by a turbidity system stimulated by diastrophic and geodynamic processes. These factors contributed to the dispersion and rapid oxygenation of organic debris. Its accumulation was a consequence of stagnant bottom water conditions that periodically occurred in the basin. In these periods, intense decomposition intensified by hydrothermal and diagenetic processes was associated with oxygen consumption and the release of greenhouse gases, which led to hypoxia and acidification. These phenomena intensified by thermal and density stratification had a major impact on the structure, evolution and distribution of biota. Stress associated with rapidly changing conditions induced by sedimentary process and upwelling resulted in the dominance of forms that colonized most sediments (Glomospira, Ammodiscus, Recurvoides, Rzehakina) and surface waters (Guembelitria, Chiloguembelina, Globanomalina, Globigerina, Cassigerinella, Catapsydrax). At the time, foraminifera were limited to low-diversified eutrophic assemblages or were mainly replaced by siliceous phytoplankton (radiolarians and diatoms). Geochemical data confirm that environmental crises in the Paleogene basin took place under changing thermal conditions that reflect global events (KTBE, PTME, EEOC and TTE). Thermal stress favouring the formation of certain minerals or rocks occasionally occurred during the Paleocene to Eocene (siderite, phosphates) and dominated in the Early Oligocene (silica).


Outer Carpathians, Poland, Paleogene, thermal, anoxic and biotic events, foraminifera, geochemistry

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