Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 343–352 | Cite as

Origin, palaeoecology and stratigraphic significance of bored and encrusted concretions from the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) of southern Israel

  • Mark A. WilsonEmail author
  • Michał Zatoń
  • Yoav Avni
Original Paper


Reworked concretions have been significant substrates for boring and encrusting organisms through the Phanerozoic. They provide large, relatively stable calcareous surfaces in systems where sedimentation is minimal. Diverse sclerobiont communities have inhabited reworked concretions since the Ordovician, so they have been important contributors to our understanding of the evolution of these ecological systems. Here, we describe reworked concretions from southern Israel where they are critical for interpreting the stratigraphy and paleoenvironment of an Upper Cretaceous sedimentary sequence. These cobble-sized concretions (averaging roughly 1,000 cm3) are found at the base of the Menuha Formation (Santonian to lower Campanian, Mount Scopus Group) unconformably above the top of the Zihor Formation (Turonian-Coniacian, Judea Group) exposed in the Ramon region of the Negev Highlands. The concretions are almost entirely composed of micritic limestone, and many are exhumed, cemented burrow-fills apparently from 10–20 m of upper Zihor Formation strata removed by erosion. There are also a few cobbles of dolomitic limestone and rare vertebrate bone. The cobbles are moderately to heavily bored by bivalves (producing Gastrochaenolites) and worms (forming Trypanites), and a few have cemented oysters. They are densely arrayed in a single layer, often touching each other or only a few centimeters apart. The sclerobionts associated with the cobbles, along with their hydrodynamic arrangement, strongly suggest that these cobbles accumulated in very shallow water above normal wave base. Most of them (77%) are encrusted on their top surfaces only, indicating that they were bored in place and not later delivered to a deeper environment by submarine currents. The rest of the Menuha Formation above is a chalk with relatively few macrofossils (primarily shark teeth and oysters) and a few trace fossils (Planolites and Thalassinoides are the most common). These reworked cobbles show that the initial deposits of the Menuha Formation accumulated in very shallow water. This has important implications for the development of the Syrian Arc structures in this region, especially the Ramon Monocline.


Reworked concretions Disconformity Sclerobionts Upper Cretaceous Santonian Israel 



We thank The Geological Survey of Israel and Will Cary, Andrew Retzler and Micah Risacher (The College of Wooster) for valuable field assistance. Olev Vinn (University of Tartu) and Carl Brett (University of Cincinnati) provided thoughtful reviews of this manuscript. The College of Wooster supported this work through the Sherman Wengerd Endowment and the Henry Luce Fund for Distinguished Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyThe College of WoosterWoosterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Stratigraphy & Palaeontology, Faculty of Earth SciencesUniversity of SilesiaSosnowiecPoland
  3. 3.Geological Survey of IsraelJerusalemIsrael

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