Silicified sea life – Macrofauna and palaeoecology of the Neuburg Kieselerde Member (Cenomanian to Lower Turonian Wellheim Formation, Bavaria, southern Germany)

Simon Schneider, Manfred Jäger, Andreas Kroh, Agnes Mitterer, Birgit Niebuhr, Radek Vodrazka, Markus Wilmsen, Christopher J. Wood, Kamil Zagorsek


With approximately 100 species, the invertebrate macrofauna of the Neuburg Kieselerde Member of the Wellheim Formation (Bavaria, southern Germany) is probably the most diverse fossil assemblage of the Danubian Cretaceous Group. Occurring as erosional relicts in post-depositional karst depressions, both the Cretaceous sediments and fossils have been silicified during diagenesis. The Neuburg Kieselerde Member, safely dated as Early Cenomanian to Early Turonian based on inoceramid bivalve biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy, preserves a predominantly soft-bottom community, which, however, is biased due to near-complete early diagenetic loss of aragonitic shells. The community is dominated by epifaunal and semi-infaunal bivalves as well as sponges that settled on various (bio-) clasts, and may widely be split into an early bivalve-echinoid assemblage and a succeeding sponge-brachiopod assemblage. In addition to these groups we document ichnofauna, polychaete tubes, nautilids and bryozoans. The fauna provides evidence of a shallow to moderately deep, calm, fully marine environment, which is interpreted as a largescale embayment herein. The fauna of the Neuburg Kieselerde Member is regarded as an important archive of lower Upper Cretaceous sea-life in the surroundings of the Mid-European Island.


Late Cretaceous; Danubian Cretaceous Group; Macro-invertebrates; Facies; Silica diagenesis; Stratigraphy

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