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Sedimentology and depositional sequences of a Kimmeridgian carbonate ramp system, Lower Saxony Basin, Northern Germany

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Shallow-marine Kimmeridgian (Late Jurassic) deposits in the Lower Saxony Basin (LSB) composed of alternating limestone, marl and claystone attract great palaeontological interest due to their rich invertebrate and vertebrate assemblages. Unfortunately, the absence of open-marine marker fossils and numerous sedimentary gaps in combination with lateral facies changes hamper the precise stratigraphic correlation of these strata on both a local and global scale. Here, an integrated approach combining carbonate microfacies analysis, ostracod biostratigraphy and high-resolution sequence stratigraphy is applied to two Kimmeridgian sections (Langenberg and Bisperode, 60 km apart) in the southeastern LSB. High-resolution carbonate microfacies analysis enables the definition of 19 microfacies types and seven microfacies associations, which can be arranged into facies belts along a carbonate ramp. Vertical microfacies, bed thickness and diagnostic surfaces define stacking patterns that are interpreted as small-, medium- and large-scale sequences. The ostracod biostratigraphic framework established in this study provides the required stratigraphic control. Correlation of the two studied sections reveals a more proximal setting for Bisperode than Langenberg and an overall shallowing-up trend from mid-ramp to proximal inner ramp developed in both sections. Furthermore, the majority of the medium-scale sequence boundaries defined in this study can be found in similar biostratigraphic positions in other European basins. Synsedimentary tectonics combined with high sediment accumulation rates can be identified as important controlling factors for the distribution and composition of the Kimmeridgian deposits in the LSB based on detailed correlation on both a regional and super-regional scale.

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We would like to thank Rohstoffbetriebe Oker GmbH & Co. KG and Hannoversche Basaltwerke GmbH & Co. KG for access to quarries and support during the field and sampling campaign. For insightful discussions, we thank H.Q. Bai and C. Betzler (Univ. Hamburg). We also thank Claude Colombié and Beatriz Bádenas for constructive and helpful reviews that improved an earlier draft of the manuscript. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) is gratefully acknowledged for financial support provided to F. Zuo.

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Zuo, F., Heimhofer, U., Huck, S. et al. Sedimentology and depositional sequences of a Kimmeridgian carbonate ramp system, Lower Saxony Basin, Northern Germany. Facies 64, 1 (2018).

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  • Lower Saxony Basin
  • Kimmeridgian
  • Carbonate microfacies
  • Sequence stratigraphy
  • Ostracod biostratigraphy