Middle/Upper Devonian brachiopod shell concentrations from the intra-shelf basinal carbonates of the Holy Cross Mountains (central Poland)

Stanisław Skompski, Andrzej Baliński, Michał Szulczewski, Inga Zawadzka


A huge isolated accumulation, more than 3 m thick and 10 m wide, of densely packed, uncrushed brachiopods has been found in Józefka Quarry within the Middle/Upper Devonian Szydłówek Beds deposited in a relatively deep environment of an intrashelf basin (Kostomłoty facies zone, western Holy Cross Mountains, Poland). The low-diversity assemblage is strongly dominated by the atrypide Desquamatia globosa jozefkae Baliński subsp. nov. and, to a lesser degree, by the rhynchonellide Coeloterorhynchus dillanus (Schmidt, 1941), which constitute 72.8% and 22.1% of the fauna, respectively. Less frequent are specimens representing the genera Hypothyridina, Schizophoria and Phlogoiderynchus. According to the conodont fauna found within the coquina bed, the stratigraphic position of the shell accumulation is close to the Givetian/Frasnian boundary. The brachiopods are associated with numerous crinoids and less frequent bryozoans, receptaculitids (Palaeozoic problematica), sponges and solitary corals. Although it is difficult to entirely  exclude the autochthonous nature of the brachiopod coquina member, its allochthonous origin and redeposition of the brachiopod shells to the deep basin by gravity flows is much more probable. Such conclusion is supported by the following facts: (1) the position of the complex in a succession of deep-marine basinal facies impoverished in oxygen; (2) its lateral thinning-out and composite internal stratification; (3) the lensshaped geometry of the coquina bed in the section perpendicular to the bedding dip; (4) high variability of the sediments preserved within the shells; and (5) the preferred orientation of the shells. The brachiopods mixed with crinoidal debris were probably transported by low-velocity, high-density, gravity-induced debris flows. Lack of fossils typical of the Middle Devonian shallows, such as massive stromatoporoids, amphiporoids and tabulates, indicates that the source area of the bioclastic material was not located in the shallowest part of the shelf, but most probably on a submarine sea-mount to the north of present-day Józefka, as suggested by earlier investigators. The triggering mechanism of the allochthonous deposition was an earthquake rather than storm activity. The enormous thickness of the brachiopod complex is probably caused by the sinking of bioclastic material, transported in succeeding depositional multi-events, in a soft, muddy bottom, typical of the Szydłówek Beds deposition.


Devonian; brachiopods; Holy Cross Mountains; allochthonous origin of coquina

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