, 61:418 | Cite as

Late Viséan (MFZ14) foraminifers and algae from the Kirchbach Limestone (Carnic Alps, Austria) and geological implications

  • K. KrainerEmail author
  • D. Vachard
Original Article


The Kirchbach Limestone occurs in the middle part of the early Viséan to Bashkirian Hochwipfel Formation, which was deposited in a flysch basin that formed during an extensional rifting phase in the foreland of the Noric Terrane, was filled with deep-marine synorogenic sediments and closed during the Bashkirian. The Noric Terrane split off from Gondwana and drifted towards the north, closing the flysch basin, which was part of the Paleo-Tethys. The Kirchbach Limestone is composed of bioclastic mudstone and carbonate conglomerate. Microfacies of the limestone clasts include wackestone, packstone, grainstone, and rudstone with diverse fossil assemblages. Bindstone clasts are derived from very shallow, restricted environments. Other clasts are bioclastic mudstone derived from deeper settings. All the foraminifers and algae identified correspond to the upper MFZ14 biozone, after the appearance of Bradyina; in contrast, the markers of the uppermost MFZ14 (Asteroarchaediscus, Loeblichia paraammonoides, and Warnantella) and those of MFZ15 (Janischewskina, Climacammina, and Biseriella) are totally absent. The Kirchbach markers are Cribrospira mikhailovi, Bradyina cf. flosculus, Howchinia bradyana, and Eostaffella parastruvei. Revised local taxa are Mstinia, M. minima n. comb., Consobrinellopsis n. gen., and C. ex gr. consobrina n. comb. The Kirchbach Limestone is derived from a shelf area displaying various shallow-water environments from which the clasts were transported into deeper-marine environments as sediment gravity flows. Limestone clasts of the Kirchbach Limestone indicate the presence of a shallow carbonate shelf along the northern margin of the Hochwipfel flysch basin. The late Asbian (MFZ14) limestone clasts derived from this carbonate shelf were probably subaerially exposed prior to their reworking and redeposition within the flysch sediments, which are late Brigantian (MFZ15) in age. Fossiliferous carbonate shelf sediments of Viséan–Serpukhovian (Namurian) age in the Veitsch Nappe of the eastern Graywacke Zone may be remnants of this shelf. Similar trilobite faunas of Nötsch and Veitsch indicate that they were originally adjacent and probably connected to this shelf north of the flysch basin. These data confirm that the Carnic Alps were located in the Viséan Mediterranean subprovince.


Foraminifers Algae Middle late Viséan Kirchbach Limestone Carnic Alps Austria 



We thank Julia Wallraf (Innsbruck) for preparing thin-sections, Thérèse Vachard and Sébastien Clausen (Villeneuve d’Ascq) for technical help and Spencer Lucas (Albuquerque) for polishing the English. We are grateful to Pedro Cózar and Jiri Kaldova for reviewing the manuscript. Their comments and suggestions helped to improve the manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.UMR 8247 GéosystèmesUniversité Lille 1Villeneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance

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