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Oligocene and Early Miocene coral faunas from Iran: palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography

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 Oligocene and Early Miocene coral assemblages from three sections of central Iran are investigated with respect to their palaeoecological and palaeobiogeographic implications. These corals are compared with faunas from the Mediterranean Tethys and the Indopacific. Associated larger foraminifers are used for biostratigraphy and to support the palaeoecological interpretation. The studied sections are situated in the foreland basins of the Iranian Plate which is structured into a fore-arc and a back-arc basin separated by a volcanic arc. The coral assemblages from Abadeh indicate a shallowing-upward trend. Infrequently distributed solitary corals at the base of the section indicate a turbid environment. Above, a distinct horizon characterised by a Leptoseris-Stylophora assemblage associated with lepidocyclinids and planktonic foraminifers is interpreted as maximum flooding surface. Small patch reefs with a Porites-Faviidae assemblage are a common feature of Late Oligocene to Early Miocene coral occurrences and indicate water depths of less than 20 m. The diversity of the coral faunas shows marked differences. Oligocene corals from the Esfahan-Sirjan fore-arc basin comprise more than 45 species of 32 genera and occur in a wide range of environments. Early Miocene corals from the Qom back-arc basin are less frequent, show a lower diversity (13 genera with 15 species) and occur in single horizons or small patch reefs.

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Received: 4 December 1998 / Accepted: 3 June 1999

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Schuster, F., Wielandt, U. Oligocene and Early Miocene coral faunas from Iran: palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography. Int Journ Earth Sciences 88, 571–581 (1999).

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