High-energy, microtidal nearshore deposits and their provenance (Lower Miocene, Burdigalian/Eggenburgian, Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep, Lower Austria)

Slavomír Nehyba, Reinhard Roetzel


During the Early Miocene (Early Burdigalian/Eggenburgian) marine transgression at the southeastern margin of the Bohemian Massif, gradual flooding occurred along a rocky coast on granitic bedrock of the Thaya Batholith under high-energy, wave-dominated, microtidal and mixed fair-weather and storm conditions. Deposits of the Burgschleinitz Formation overlie a basal unconformity above a subaerial weathered basement surface (transgressive erosional surface) and are interpreted as a transgressive systems tract. The deposits can be divided into four facies associations/depositional environments, i.e., upper-shoreface, foreshore, gravelly beach and backshore/lagoon. Two stages of transgression and successive overtopping of the basement, with different coastal physiographies, were documented. During the initial stage of transgression a barrier island system developed with relatively fine-grained deposits, reflecting the flooding of the distant parts of the Thaya Batholith with a relative flat basement morphology. The subsequent continuation of the transgression led to the flooding of the more proximal parts of the Thaya Batholith with a steeper relief and formation of a rocky shoreline with deposition of gravelly sediments along palaeo-sea cliffs or wave-cut platforms. While gravel clasts of the deposits investigated originate directly from the underlying granites of the Thaya Batholith, provenance studies show that metamorphic rocks of the Moravian Superunit in the hinterland were the main source of sands. This distant source material was probably delivered mainly by small creeks and alluvial fans to the nearshore. Significant differences in heavy mineral composition of the same formation in the wider vicinity indicate primarily local sources and rapid deposition with subordinate longshore transport, which may reflect a complex coastal palaeogeography. The Lower Miocene deposits of the Burgschleinitz Formation investigated are a rare example of ancient rocky shore deposits, which generally have low preservation potential in the geological record.


Alpine-Carpathian Foredeep; Lower Miocene; provenance analysis; fair-weather vs. storm processes; rocky shoreline; coastal morphology

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