The first modern scientific account of marine sediments preserved on land was given in France by the priest J. L. Giraud-Soulavié in 1780, as cited from Geikie (1905, p. 338 of an unabridged, undated reprint, second edition by Dover, New York). According to Geikie, on p. 344 of this reprint, A. L. Lavoisier, the founder of modern chemistry, distinguished on p. 350, Pl. 7 of a study published in 1789 on marine strata preserved on land, “littoral banks” from “pelagic banks” which were deposited in a sea at different distances from land. Lavoisier also concluded that sea level must have varied in the past. W. Smith pioneered the modern concept of stratigraphic paleontology in England first in 1816 and then in an extended version in 1817.


Late Jurassic Type Section Jura Mountain Micritic Limestone Siliceous Sponge 
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217765_1_En_1_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (310 kb)
Fig. 1.5 Assembled, palinspastic cross-section through formations, members, and beds of the Upper Jurassic Series in northern Switzerland. Each of the three parts of the assembled section runs in a different direction which is indicated at the top. The direction of every one of the three parts of the section is arranged as closely as possible perpendicularly to the curved lines of depositional strike. Such lines are the basinward margins of the three successive carbonate platforms of the St-Ursanne Formation (1 in Fig. 1.4), Günsberg Formation (2 in Fig. 1.4), and Balsthal Formation (3 in Fig. 1.4), which are listed in the inset in the lower right of Fig. 1.4. Progradation of the base of the carbonate platforms of the Günsberg Formation (GÜN) and the Balsthal Formation (BAL) over the basinal Effingen Member (EFF) of the Wildegg Formation is outlined in this assembled cross-section by a gray band. The encircled numbers in the section mark the position of ammonites. The numbers encircled in this figure correspond to the numbers listed on the left side of Fig. 1.6. The numbered ammonites were collected from in situ with the following exceptions mentioned in the text. Ammonite no. 23, Euaspidoceras hypselum (Oppel), and ammonite no. 24, Epipeltoceras berrense (Favre), were collected from talus below a known unit. Sediments in the upper part of the Kimmeridgian Stage are very incompletely preserved in most of northern Switzerland. The position of ammonites no. 38, 39, and 40 is therefore indicated in schematic columns near Alle in Canton Jura, near the city of Solothurn, and near Dielsdorf in northwestern Canton Zürich. The succession of ammonite chrons is shown in Fig. 1.6. The base of the assembled cross-section of Fig. 1.5 corresponds to the sea floor topography as it probably existed at the beginning of the Late Jurassic (compare with Fig. 4.15A). Thicknesses of formations and members shown in Fig. 1.5 were averaged from the corresponding thicknesses which were measured in the 221 sections shown in Fig. 1.4. The measured and averaged thicknesses of successive units were then added up in Fig. 1.5, as if basement subsidence were equal everywhere in the investigated region during deposition of succession nos. 1–3. The water depth shown on the right hand side of Fig. 1.5 above the Schwarzbach Formation in Canton Schaffhausen is therefore much greater than it was in fact in the Lussasense and in the Evolutum Chron. The presumably real water depth at that time is represented in Fig. 4.15D. For the calculated history of sedimentation and differential basement subsidence see Fig. 4.15A-D. Lines delimiting formations and members as well as lines within these units in Fig. 1.5 intersect time planes. Note the extreme thinning of succession no. 1 from the proximal, left to the distal part of the section on the right hand side. The vertical scale in the lower left of the figure is exaggerated one hundredfold in order to visualize depositional slopes, which in fact were very gentle. Ages in million years are according to Gradstein et al. (2004, p. 310). After Gygi (2003, Fig. 173), supplemented. Formations, members, and beds mentioned in Fig. 1.5 are described in the dictionary of lithostratigraphic units of Late Jurassic age in northern Switzerland by GYGI (2000b). Synonymy lists of these units were published by Gygi (2000a). The Steinibach Member in Fig. 1.5 was inappropriately spelled Steinebach Member in some of the earlier publications by the author. Steinibach, as the name is pronounced by the inhabitants of Balsthal, is the name of a creek, after which the member was named. The creek is shown, but its name is not recorded in sheet no. 1107 of the Landeskarte (Federal Map) at the scale of 1:25,000. The creek flows southward through the gorge north of the old church of Balsthal between Bisecht Hill on the western flank of the gorge and rocky Holzflue east of Steinibach Gorge. Bisecht Hill and the cliffs of Holzflue are visible in the left part of the upper photograph on Pl. 6 in Arkell (1956). The position of Steinibach Gorge is indicated in the photograph of Fig. 4 on p. 84 in GYGI (1969a). An enlarged foldout of this Fig.1.5 is to be found at the end of the book. (PDF 310 KB)


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© Springer Basel AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhart A. Gygi
    • 1
  1. 1.ZürichSwitzerland

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