Palaeoenvironmental interpretation of echinoderm assemblages from Bathonian ore-bearing clays at Gnaszyn (Kraków-Silesia Homocline, Poland)

Andrzej Boczarowski


This paper presents the results of an investigation into the variability of echinoderm assemblages from Bathonian ore-bearing clays from Gnaszyn. Remains of Crinoidea, Asteroidea, Ophiuroidea, Echinoidea, and Holothuroidea have been studied from 38 rock samples. The most common echinoderms represented are the crinoids Balanocrinus berchteni and Chariocrinus andreae and a few species of the holothurian genera Priscopedatus, CalclamnaStaurocaudina, Eocaudina, Achistrum, Theelia and Hemisphaeranthos. The echinoderms from Gnaszyn show various life strategies: benthic or epibenthic forms, sessile sestonophages (Crinoidea), motile macrophages (Asteroidea) and detritivores (Asteroidea, Ophiuroidea, Echinoidea), infaunal and epifaunal detritus feeders, sediment feeders or rake-feeders (Holothuroidea). Their presence suggests well oxygenated and presumably relatively cold bottom marine waters. The parts of the Gnaszyn section around concretion horizons and characterized by the ubiquitous occurrence of the holothurian Theelia and echinoids were deposited during phases of optimal living conditions with sufficient influx of plant detritus and good oxygenation of the sea bottom. These parts commonly host echinoderm associations dominated by crinoid remains, which occasionally are still articulated (or disarticulated but remaining intact) – this points to a quiet environment with normal oxygenation of the bottom waters but anaerobic/dysaerobic conditions in the sediment.


Palaeoenvironment; Middle Jurassic; Bathonian; Echinoderms; Ore-bearing clays; Poland.

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