Geochemical and ecological aspects of lower Frasnian pyrite-ammonoid level at Kostomłoty (Holy Cross Mountains, Poland)

Grzegorz Racki, Agnieszka Piechota, David Bond, Paul B. Wignall


The lower Frasnian (transitans Zone with Ancyrodella priamosica = MN 4 Zone) rhythmic basin succession of marly limestones and shales (upper Szydłówek Beds) at Kostomłoty, western Holy Cross Mts., Central Poland, contains a record of the transgressive-hypoxic Timan Event in this drowned part of southern Laurussian shelf. The unique facies consists of organic-rich marly shales and a distinctive pyritic, goniatite level, 1.6 m thick. The faunal assemblage is dominated by pyritized shells of diminutive mollusks with cephalopods (including goniatites Epitornoceras and Acanthoclymenia), buchioline bivalves (Glyptohallicardia) and styliolinids. This interval is marked by moderately low Th/U ratios and pyrite framboid size distributions suggestive of dysoxic rather than permanent euxinic conditions. The scarcity of infauna and bioturbation resulted in finely laminated sedimentary fabrics, as well as the low diversity of the presumed pioneer benthos (mostly brachiopods). In the topmost part of the Szydłówek Beds, distinguished by the Styliolina coquina interbedded between limestone-biodetrital layers, the above geochemical proxies and C-isotope positive shift indicate a tendency to somewhat increased bottom oxygen deficiency and higher carbon burial rate linked with a bloom of pelagic biota during high-productivity pulse. The geochemical and community changes are a complex regional record of the initial phase of a major perturbation in the earth-ocean system during a phase of intermittently rising sea level in the early to middle Frasnian, and associated with the highest positive C-isotope ratios of the Devonian.


Holy Cross Mountains; Frasnian; pyritic fossils; geochemical proxies; anoxia; Timan Event

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