A lost carbonate platform deciphered from clasts embedded in flysch: Štramberk-type limestones, Polish Outer Carpathians

Mariusz Hoffmann, Bogusław Kołodziej, Justyna Kowal-Kasprzyk


Limestones designated the Štramberk-type are the most common carbonate exotic clasts (exotics) embedded in the uppermost Jurassic–Miocene flysch deposits of the Polish Outer Carpathians. About 80% of stratigraphically determinable carbonate exotics from the Silesian, Sub-Silesian and Skole units (nappes) are of Tithonian (mostly)–Berriasian (sporadically Valanginian) age. A study of these exotics revealed eight main facies types: coral-microbial boundstones (FT 1), microencruster-microbial-cement boundstones (FT 2), microbial and microbial-sponge boundstones (FT 3), detrital limestones (FT 4), foraminiferal-algal limestones (FT 5), peloidalbioclastic limestones (FT 6), ooid grainstones (FT 7), and mudstones-wackestones with calpionellids (FT 8).

Štramberk-type limestones in Poland and the better known Štramberk Limestone in the Czech Republic are remnants of lost carbonate platforms, collectively designated the Štramberk Carbonate Platform. Narrow platforms were developed on intra-basinal, structural highs (some of them are generalized as the Silesian Ridge), with their morphology determined by Late Jurassic synsedimentary tectonics. An attempt was made to reconstruct the facies distribution on the Tithonian–earliest Cretaceous carbonate platform. In the inner platform, coral-microbial patch-reefs (FT 1) grew, while the upper slope of the platform was the depositional setting for the microencruster-microbial-cement boundstones (FT 2). Microbial and microbial-sponge boundstones (FT 3), analogous to the Oxfordian–Kimmeridgian boundstones of the northern Tethyan shelf (also present among exotics), were developed in a deeper setting. In the inner, open part of the platform, foraminiferal-algal limestones (FT 5) and peloidal-bioclastic limestones (FT 6) were deposited. Poorly sorted, detrital limestones (FT 4), including clastsupported breccias, were formed mainly in a peri-reefal environment and on the margin of the platform, in a high-energy setting. Ooid grainstones (FT 7), rarely represented in the exotics, were formed on the platform margin. Mudstones-wackestones with calpionellids (FT 8) were deposited in a deeper part of the platform slope and/or in a basinal setting. In tectonic grabens, between ridges with attached carbonate platforms, sedimentation of the pelagic (analogous to FT 8) and allodapic (“pre-flysch”) Cieszyn Limestone Formation took place. The most common facies are FT 4 and FT 1. Sedimentation on the Štramberk Carbonate Platform terminated in the earliest Cretaceous, when the platform was destroyed and drowned. It is recorded in a few exotics as thin, neptunian dykes (and large dykes in the Štramberk Limestone), filled with dark, deep-water limestones. Reefal facies of the Štramberk Carbonate Platform share similarities in several respects (e.g., the presence of the microencrustermicrobial-cement boundstones) with reefs of other intra-Tethyan carbonate platforms, but clearly differ from palaeogeographically close reefs and coral-bearing facies of the epicontinental Tethyan shelf (e.g., coeval limestones from the subsurface of the Carpathian Foredeep and the Lublin Upland in Poland; the Ernstbrunn Limestone in Austria and Czech Republic). Corals in the Štramberk Limestone and Štramberk-type limestones are the world’s most diverse coral assemblages of the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition.

The intra-basinal ridge (ridges), traditionally called the Silesian Cordillera, which evolved through time from an emerged part of the Upper Silesian Massif to an accretionary prism, formed the most important provenance area for carbonate exotic clasts in the flysch of the Silesian Series. They are especially common in the Lower Cretaceous Hradiště Formation and the Upper Cretaceous–Paleocene Istebna Formation. The Baška-Inwałd Ridge and the Sub-Silesian Ridge were the source areas for clasts from the Silesian and Sub-Silesian units (e.g., in the Hradiště Formation), while the Northern (Marginal) Ridge was the source for clasts from the Skole Unit (e.g., in the Maastrichtian–Paleocene Ropianka Formation).

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