The Badenian Salinity Crisis in the palynological record: vegetation during the evaporative event (Carpathian Foredeep, southern Poland)

Ewa Durska


The Badenian Salinity Crisis took place at the early/late Badenian boundary and resulted in massive chemical sedimentation in the central Paratethys. The evaporating basin of the northern Carpathian Foredeep left behind gypsum and halite deposits tens of meters thick. As a very good medium for preservation, these evaporites are a fine source of diversified terrestrial palynomorphs. Plant communities reconstructed on the basis of both palynological analysis of sediments from the Bochnia and Wieliczka salt mines, as well as previously published studies from different localities within the evaporite basin, reveal the presence of wetland and mesic environments along the coasts of the northern part of the central Paratethys during the evaporative event. Among the most important taxa are Engelhardia, Ericaceae, Fagus, Liquidambar, Quercus, Taxodium/Glyptostrobus, Tricolporopollenites pseudocingulum, and Ulmus. The most characteristic feature of the palynofloras studied is the large amount (up to even 50%) of Ericaceae pollen in the spectra. Taxa representing a warm-temperate climate predominate in the palynofloras examined; however, representatives of a tropical/subtropical climate (i.a. Mastixiaceae) are also present. The presence of plant communities associated with wetland areas shows that the climate remained humid.

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