Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) ore-bearing clays at Gnaszyn, Kraków-Silesia Homocline, Poland

Przemysław Gedl, Andrzej Kaim, Paulina Leonowicz, Andrzej Boczarowski, Tresa Dudek, Mariusz Kędzierski, Jan Rees, Jolanta Smoleń, Patrycja Szczepanik, Przemysław Sztajner, Magda Witkowska, Jadwiga Ziaja


Multidisciplinary studies of the Middle–Upper Bathonian ore-bearing clays at Gnaszyn revealed variable palaeoenvironmental conditions during the deposition of this seemingly monotonous sequence. We interpret the conditions in the bottom environment and the photic zone, and also evaluate the influence of the adjacent land areas, based on sedimentology, geochemistry, sporomorphs and palynofacies composition, benthic (foraminifera, gastropods, bivalves, scaphopods, echinoderms), planktonic (calcareous nannoplankton, dinoflagellate cysts), and nektonic (sharks) fossils. The Gnaszyn succession originated relatively close to the shore, within reach of an intense supply of terrestrial fine clastic and organic particles. The latter are mainly of terrestrial origin and range from 1.5 to 2.5 wt.%. The precise water depth is difficult to estimate but most likely ranges from several tens of metres to a few hundred metres. All fossil groups show minor changes throughout the succession. As the climate seems to have been quite stable during this period we consider sea-level fluctuations to have been the main factor responsible for the changes. The terrestrial input, including freshwater and land-derived clastic and organic particles (sporomorphs and cuticles), increased during periods of sea-level lowstand. As a consequence, stress conditions (lower salinity, higher nutrient availability, lower water transparency) in the photic zone caused blooms of opportunistic planktonic taxa. Furthermore, a faster sedimentation rate led to oxygen depletion and deterioration of the living conditions in the bottom environment due to an increased accumulation of organic matter. As a result, the benthic biota became taxonomically impoverished and commonly dominated by juvenile forms. During periods of high sea level, the source areas were shifted away from the basin, resulting in a decrease in the terrestrial influx, increase in the salinity of surface waters, the appearance of more diverse phytoplankton assemblages, a lower sedimentation rate, and an improvement of living conditions at the bottom.


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

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