Original Article


, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 573-614

First online:

The reefal margin and slope of a Middle Triassic carbonate platform: the Latemar (Dolomites, Italy)

  • Axel EmmerichAffiliated withGeologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg Email author 
  • , Valeria ZamparelliAffiliated withDipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
  • , Thilo BechstädtAffiliated withGeologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  • , Rainer ZühlkeAffiliated withGeologisch-Paläontologisches Institut, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

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The Latemar is a mainly aggrading platform, but shows repeated backstepping during its entire development. The behaviour of the slope does not reflect accommodation changes and lateral consistencies of the lagoonal interior; the Latemar contemporaneously reveals different, even contrasting depositional characteristics. The slope of the late stage platform evolution corresponds at least partially to the “base-of-slope apron” model. Controlling factors on slope evolution are of tectonic (proximity of the Stava Line) and autocyclic (repeated oversteepening) nature. Other factors are insignificant and/or overprinted.

The reef-facies at Latemar reveals a complex facies pattern; it varies along and across the margin and is rich in encrusting sponges, corals, biogenic crusts and “Microproblematica”. Some biota or fossil assemblages—e.g. foraminifers (Abriolina mediterranea, Turriglomina scandonei) or “Tubiphytesmultisiphonatus thrombolites—have not been described in the Dolomites before. Biostratigraphic evidence from the uppermost reef-facies confirms a mainly Anisian age of the outcropping platform interior.


Carbonate slope Depositional model Reefal zonation Late Anisian Middle Triassic Dolomites