, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 77–105 | Cite as

Microfacies and depositional environment of an Upper Triassic intra-platform carbonate basin: the Fatric Unit of the West Carpathians (Slovakia)

  • Adam TomašovýchEmail author
Original Article


Facies associations of the Rhaetian Fatra Formation from the Veľká Fatra Mts. (West Carpathians) were deposited in a storm-dominated, shallow, intra-platform basin with dominant carbonate deposition and variable onshore peritidal and subtidal deposits, with 21 microfacies types supported by a cluster analysis. The deposits are formed by bivalves, gastropods, brachiopods, echinoderms, corals, foraminifers and red algae, ooids, intraclasts and peloids. A typical feature is the considerable variation in horizontal direction. The relative abundance and state of preservation of components as well as the fabric and geometric criteria of deposits can be correlated with depth/water energy-related environmental gradients. Four facies associations corresponding to four types of depositional settings were distinguished: a) peritidal, b) shoreface, above fair-weather wave base (FWWB), c) shallow subtidal, above normal storm wave base and d) above maximum storm wave base. The depositional environment can be characterized as a mosaic of low-relief peritidal flats and islands, shoreface banks and bars, and shallow subtidal depressions. The distribution and preservation of components were mainly controlled by the position of base level (FWWB), storm activity and differences in carbonate production between settings. Poorly or moderately diverse level-bottom macrobenthic assemblages are dominated by molluscs and brachiopods. The main site of patch-reef/biostrome carbonate production was located below the fair-weather wave base. Patch-reef/biostrome assemblages are poorly diverse and dominated by the branched scleractinian coral Retiophyllia, forming locally dm-scale autochthonous aggregations or more commonly parautochthonous assemblages with evidence of storm-reworking and substantial bioerosion by microborings and boring bivalves.

Facies types and assemblages are comparable in some aspects to those known from the Upper Triassic of the Eastern and Southern Alps (Hochalm member of the Kössen Formation or Calcare di Zu Formation), pointing to similar intra-platform depositional conditions. The absence of large-scale patch-reefs and poor diversity of level-bottom and patch-reef/biostrome assemblages with abundance of eurytopic taxa indicate high-stress/unstable ecological conditions and more restricted position of the Fatric intra-platform setting from the open ocean than the intra-platform habitats in the Eastern or Southern Alps.

Key words

Upper Triassic Rhaetian West Carpathians carbonate sedimentology facies analysis benthic assemblages  coral patch-reefs 



This project had started at the Department of Geology and Paleontology of the Comenius University (Bratislava) and Geological Institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences (Bratislava). I am very indebted to J. Michalík and R. Aubrecht for their supervising. I thank also M. Mišík, M. Kováč, M. Rakús, J. Schlögl (Bratislava), J. Soták, A. Bendík (Banská Bystrica) and J. Farkaš (Ottawa) for their help and encouragement. I am indebted to W. Kiessling (Berlin) and W. Piller (Graz) for critical reviews. I thank F. T. Fürsich and M. Wilmsen (Würzburg) for discussions and critical comments on the manuscript and E. Roniewicz (Warszawa) for help with determination of corals. This study has been funded by the AAPG Grant in Aid 2001 and is a contribution to the IGCP Project 458 - Triassic-Jurassic boundary events.


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© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PaläontologieWürzburg Universität WürzburgGermany

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