Selenite-gypsum microbialite facies and sedimentary evolution of the Badenian evaporite basin of the northern Carpathian Foredeep

Maciej Bąbel


Facies analysis was applied to the six main facies of the Badenian (Middle Miocene) gypsum deposits exposed along the margin of the Carpathian Foredeep basin, from Moldova to the Czech Republic. These facies, recognised within primary selenite and fine-grained gypsum deposits, are: (i) selenites with vertical crystals; (ii) selenites with horizontal crystals; (iii) selenite debris flow facies; (iv) selenite debris facies; (v) gypsum microbialite facies; and (vi) alabastrine facies. The facies represent various environments (from shallow-brine to subaerial) of a giant salina-type basin without open-water connections with the sea and showing evaporite drawdown. Integration of facies analysis and event stratigraphic studies in the gypsum basin allowed reconstruction of its sedimentary history. The architecture of the gypsum facies suggests that the margin of the basin was occupied by a system of variable perennial saline pans (dominated by selenite deposition) and evaporite shoals (dominated by gypsum microbialite deposition). The basin was infilled with evaporite deposits by aggradation. After initial evaporite drawdown, the northern margin of the basin evolved from a large perennial saline pan (or system of pans) into an evaporite shoal and then back again into a perennial pan, whereas the east area of the basin was a vast evaporite shoal dominated by gypsum microbialites. Separate selenite pans of oligotrophic-type developed both at the periphery and in the interior of this shoal. Later, predominantly clastic gypsum deposition developed throughout the basin margin, presumably due to a drastic change in the chemistry and salinity of the brine. Evaporite deposition was arrested by a flood of marine waters and rapid deepening.


Facies analysis, Selenites, Gypsum microbialites, Evaporites, Salina basin, Oligotrophic, Eutrophic, Debris flow, Miocene, Carpathian Foredeep

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