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Nummulite biostratigraphy at the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary in the

northern Mediterranean area

Article  in  Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia · January 1995

DOI: 10.13130/2039-4942/8566


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2 authors, including:

Cesare Andrea Papazzoni

Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia


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Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia volume 101 numero 1 tavole 1-2 pagine 63-80 Maggio 1995




Key-words: Biostratigraphy, Numrnulites, Middle/Upper Eo- Stage (e.g. Hottinger et al., 1956, tab. 1; Pomerol,
cene boundary, Northern Mediterranean. 1964, tab. 3), whereas the Priabonian in the Mediter-
ranean domain and the Bartonian in the northern
Riassunto. Sono state studiate le associazioni a macroforami-
niferi (principalmente Nummulitidi) di alcune successioni delle aree
basins were regarded as synonyms of the Upper Eo-
veneta (M.ti Berici e Lessini), spagnola (bacino dell'Ebro) e rurnena cene (e.g. Schaub, 1968). Since the 1960s improvement
(Cluj-Napoca) in prossimith del limite Eocene medio-superiore. I ri- of the biostratigraphy allowed this subdivision to be
sultati hanno permesso di migliorare la risoluzione stratigrafica delle refined and the relative position of the stages
biozone a Nummuliti. Lo studio della successione di Mossano e la
specified. Hottinger & Schaub (1960) introduced the
correlazione con alcune altre successioni dell'area veneta hanno sug-
gerito I'opportunith di sostituire la Zona a Nummulites bvongniarti "Biarritzian" Stage to fill the gap between the Lutetian
(parte alta dell'Eocene medio) con due biozone: una inferiore, a N. and the Priabonian in carbonate platform facies.
lyelli, ed una superiore, a N. biedai. Inoltre si t? rawisata l'opportu- However, during the "Colloque sur l'kockne" this
nith di ridenominare la Zona a N. aff. fabianii come Zona a N.
proposal was rejected (Propositions, 1969) and the
vanolarius/incuassatus. Questa suddivisione t? applicabile anche nelle
aree rumena e spagnola. stage declassed t o a "Biarritzian biozone," although
Secondo le interpretazioni correnti, la base del Priaboniano still today this stratigraphic term is widely employed
(=Eocene superiore) t? stata posta alla base della Zona a N. fabianii by students of larger foraminifera. Bombita (1964) pro-
s s . , oppure alla base della Zona a N. vanolan'us/incrassatus. In en- posed the "Napocian" Stage to complete the strati-
trambi i casi, si propone di considerare la successione di Mossano,
in cui la sedimentazione t? relativamente continua, come una possibi-
graphic succession between the Middle and the Upper
le candidata ad ospitare il "Global Stratotype Section and Point" Eocene. However, this term remained restricted t o the
della base del Priaboniano. Romanian area and never came into the international
usage. Cavelier & Pomerol (1976) pointed out that the
Abstract. Some larger foraminiferal assemblages (mostly num- Bartonian underlies the Priabonian, and this is now
mulitids) near the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary have been inves-
tigated. Sections of the Veneto area (Berici and Lessini Mts., north-
agreed upon by most stratigraphers. Thus, the
ern Italy) were studied and compared with others of the same age Middle/Upper Eocene boundary was equated to the
from Spain (Ebro basin) and Romania (Cluj-Napoca). In the Veneto Bartonian/Priabonian boundary. The Bartonian strato-
area the results allow t o split the upper Middle Eocene Nummulites type contains the calcareous nannofossil zones NP16
bvongniarti Zone into two biozones: a lower N. lyelli Zone and an
(partim)-NP17 (Aubry, 1985, 1986), whereas the Biar-
upper N. biedai Zone. The N. aff. fabianii Zone is here renamed N.
variolan'us/incrassatus Zone. This subdivision can also be recognized ritzian stratotype contains the N P 17 Zone (Mathelin
in Spain and Romania. & Sztrikos, 1993), so we could assume the "Biar-
According t o the current conceptions, the base of the Pria- ritzian" correlates at least with the upper part of the
bonian (= Upper Eocene) could correspond either t o the base of Bartonian.
the N. fabianii s s . Zone or t o the base of the N. variolavius/incuas-
satus Zone. Anyway, the Mossano succession could be a potential
The International Subcommission on Paleogene
Global Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Priabonian. Stratigraphy recently pointed out that stages are de-
fined no more by their stratotypes (Hedberg, 1976),
but by the Global Stratotype Section and Point
(GSSP) of their lower boundaries (Cowie et al., 1986;
In recent years the Middle/Upper Eocene Jenkins & Luterbacher, 1992; Salvador, 1994). Accord-
boundary has been long debated. In the past, the ing to these statements, the base of the Priabonian
whole Middle Eocene was identified with the Lutetian Stage also defines the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary.

- Istituto di Paleontologia dell'Universith di Modena, via Universith 4, 41100 Modena.

64 C . A. Papazzoni 6- A. Sirotti

The work of the Subcommission is stili in pro- Status of the Priabonian Stage.
gress and an agreement about this problem has not
been achieved to date. The originai definition o f the Priabonian dates
The present study o n the larger foraminiferal back to Munier-Chalmas & de Lapparent (1893); they
fauna from carbonate platform facies is a contribution described three sections which, as a whole, represent a
composite stratotype.
to the solution of this stratigraphic problem. We ana-
lysed some stratigraphic sections from the northern From top to bottom they are:
3) "Marnes de Brendola";
Mediterranean area, i.e. Veneto (northern Italy), Spain
2) "Groupe des couches à Orbitoides de Priabona";
and Romania, in the aim of clarifying the stratigraphic
1) "Assises de La Granella" (Ceritbium diabolii
relationships between the base of the type-Priabonian
and the uppermost Middle Eocene. The sections have beds of Boro-Granella A uct.).
The Boro locality, at the foot o f the Granella
been selected for their apparently continuous sedimen-
tation across the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary. We hill, is dose to the village of Priabona (Lessini Mts.),
emphasize that this continuity is very rare: the marine whereas Brendola is about twenty k m south-east, in
the north-western margin of the Berici Mts. These three
sedimentation in most regions stops at (or just before)
the end of the Middle Eocene. localities represent the type-area of the Priabonian.
According t o Papazzoni (1993) Nummulites cf. Fabiani (1915) pointed o u t that a t Boro t h e
bormoensis Nuttall & Brighton refers to the specimens "Cerithium diabolii beds" overlay a basaltic conglom-
from western Europe (Schaub, 1981) o f Nummulites erate. These beds are related to a transgressive pulse
which follows the regressive interval o f the latest
ptukbiani Kacharava (former "Nummulites praefabia-
nii") a n d Nummuiites aff. fabianii Auct., whereas Middle Eocene (Piccoli & De Zanche, 1968), as also
Nummulites ptukbiani s.s. is restricted to Armenia and confirmed by Roveda (1961). In a borehole at the foot
eastern Europe. Nummulites garnieri sturi Vanova has of the Granella h i l l , Piccoli & Massari Degasperi
(1968) observed oxidized basalt with evidences of sub-
the priority upon Nummulites praegarnieri Schaub and
aerial exposure resting on limestones with Nummulites
similarly Spiroclypeus carpaticus (Uhlig) has the priori-
ty upon Spiroclypeus granutosus Boussac. ex gr. millecaput. These authors inferred the presence
of a gap between the topmost Middle Eocene sedi-
To reconstruct the paleoenvironments w e ap-
plied t o t h e larger foraminiferal assemblages a ments and the lowermost Upper Eocene deposits i n
the type-area.
paleoecological model which is a criticai synthesis of
different models (Ami, 1965; Setiawan, 1983; Hallock During the "Colloque sur l'Eocène" t h e Pria-
bonian was defined a s the stratigraphic interval be-
Glenn, 1986), together with sedimentological obser-
tween the Nummulites brongniarti, N. peiforatus, Alveo-
vations on thin sections (Wilson, 1975; Flugel, 1982).
Our model (Papazzoni, 1993, 1994) includes four facies: fina elongata Zone ("Biarritzian") and the Nummulites
A) outer platform w i t h low-energy hydrody- intermedius Zone (Oligocene) (Colloque sur l'Eocene,
1969). This implied the extension of the Priabonian to
namic regime, characterized by flattened species such
include the Nummulites aff. fabianii Zone (Castellarin
as Nummulites chavannesi, N. lyelli, N. striatus, e r -
& Cita, 1969); this zone is lacking in the holostrato-
culina spp., Discocyclina spp., Asterocyclina spp.,
type but is represented in the Mossano section, at that
Spiroclypeus carpaticus, etc.;
time chosen as a reference section (hypostratotype).
B) inner platform w i t h high-energy hydrody-
Ungaro (1969) i n studying the Mossano section d i d
namic regime, characterized by robust o r encrusting
not clearly define the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary
species such as Nummulites biedai, N. perforatus, N.
and the problem o f the base o f the Priabonian re-
beaumonti, N. discorbinus, Gypsina sp., Spbaerogypsina mained unsolved.
globula, etc.;
Our research focused on studying in detail the
C) inner platform with low-energy hydrodyna- Mossano section and its correlation with the holostra-
mic regime, characterized by Nummulites ex gr. fabia-
totype. Moreover, the correlations were extended to
nii, N. variolarius/incrassatus, Calcarina sp., Fabiania
other sections o f the Lessini and Berici Mts., and to
sp., Cbapmanina gassinensis, Gypsina linearis, Silvestriel-
some Spanish and Romanian successions.
la e t c . ;
D) "restricted lagoon" o r innermost, very shal-
low platform, characterized b y abundant Miliolidae, The stratigraphic sections.
Alveolinidae, Orbitolites, etc.
Where the larger foraminifera are lacking, to de- - Berici Mts. (Veneto).
duct the paleoenvironments we rest o n other fossil In this area three sections were sampled and
content or on sedimentological data. studied: Mossano, Pederiva ("Cava Zengele" i n
M./U. Eocene boundary nummulite biozones 6 5

the nummulite bank cropping out at the periphery of

the village. W e sampled t h e southern side o f M .
Vagina, just above the village, following the paths of
Fabiani (1915) and Schweighauser (1953). The strata,
except for the lower part of the section, are not well
exposed because o f the dense vegetation. T h e litho-
logic units recognized are, from top to bottom (Fig. 2b):

4) marls and marly limestones with pelecypods and echinoids (over

15 m);
- 10 m covered
3) nodular limestones with miliolids and small nummulites (6 m ex-
PRB• posed and 11 m covered);
h • PRV, SO, - 4 m covered
Ver.n. MOSS
n 2) massive limestones with N. lyelli (13 m);
- 3 m covered
1) N. lyelli bank (10 m).
Fig. 1 - Location map of the sections sampled.
A) Spain. ARG=Arguis, IG—Igualada, VIC=Vic.
B) Veneto. MOSS—Mossano; PRV=Pederiva di Grancona; In unit 1 the assemblage (Tab. 1) is dominated
SG—San German° dei Berici; PRB=Priabona, MC=Monte by the B forms o f Nummulites lyelli d'Archiac &
Cavro; NG=Nago; PRD=Pradipaldo. Haime and N. biarritzensis d'Archiac; N. cf. dufrenoyi
C) Romania. R=Leghb, Club Mera. d'Archiac H a i m e is rare. The abundance o f flat-
tened forms points to an outer platform paleoenviron-
Schweighauser, 1953), and San Germano dei Berici, ment (Hallock G l e n n , 1986). The overlaying unit 2
about two km south of Pederiva (Fig. 1B). contains a foraminiferal assemblage typical o f higher-
A) The Mossano section is the most interesting energy conditions, probably i n a more proximal set-
for its completeness and accessibility. O u r samples ting. T h e shallowing-upward trend continues w i t h
were taken following approximately t h e paths re- unit 3, indicating a very shallow "restricted lagoon"
ported b y Schweighauser (1953) and Herb H e k e l (Hallock G l e n n , 1986). A deepcning is recorded by
(1973), along the road from Mossano to C. Leonardi the marly sediments of unit 4, indicative of a shift to
and Monte Stria. The recent works to widen the road an open platform paleocnvironment with an increase
increased the size o f the outcrops and revealed two in terrigenous supply. The generai trend matches the
direct faults j u s t before t h e crossroad t o Olivari one recognized at Mossano, although the vegetation
(Papazzoni S i r o t t i , 1993). The lithologic units rec- cover prevents to establish if the transition is continu-
ognized are, from top to bottom (Fig. 2a): ous or sharp. The presence of the miliolid limestones
at the top o f the regressive cycle leads us to suggest
4) marls and marly limestones with bryozoa and discocyclinids (over that Pederiva was closer t o the coastline than Mos-
36 m);
3) nodular limestones with small nummulites (20 m); sano, where this proximal facies is missing.
2) massive limestones with Nummulites biedai (23 m); C) S. German() dei Berici is on the eastern side
1) bedded limestones with Nummulites lyelli and Nummulites cf. do- of the Liona Valley. Our samples were collected along
frenoyi (16 m). the road (Via Lupia) from the village of S. Germano
to Monte Lupia. The outcrops are rather continuous
The distribution of foraminiferal assemblages is
in the lower part o f the section, whereas i n the
plotted in Tab. l .
middle part the real thickncss of the covered portion
The paleoecological interpretation of this succes-
could not be estimated due to the supposed presence
sion (Papazzoni, 1994) suggests a progressive lowering
of a direct fault. The lithologic units recognized are,
of the relative sea level during the time corresponding
from top to bottom (Fig. 2c):
to the deposition of the units 1-3 (Fig. 2a): unit 1 can
be interpreted as an outer platform facies; unit 2 con- 6) massive limestones with small nummulites (over 10 m);
sists of sandy shore sediments settled near the outer 5) N. labianii bank (4 m);
4) bedded limestones with discocyclinids (10 m);
margin o f the inner platform, whereas u n i t 3 was
3) nodular limestones with miliolids and small nummulites (9 m ex-
deposited i n a more protected, low-energy environ- posed and 2 m covered);
ment of an open platform. A new sudden deepening, - covered (thickness uncertain)
associated with an increase in terrigenous input, is de- 2) massive limestones with N. cf, dufrenoyi and N. ex gr. perforatus
(18 m exposed and 16 m covered);
monstrated by the overlaying marly unit 4, indicative
1) N. cf. dufrenoyi bank (1-2 m).
of an outer platform environment.
B) I n Pederiva d i Grancona, o n the northern Paleoecological succession o f the fossil assem-
side of the Liona Valley, the most striking feature is blages (Tab. 1) from the three lower units shows a
66 C . A. Papazzoni & A. Sirotti

a) M o s s a n o c) San Germano

9. • 24
T " M
e k 2 k W a l a
1.Me E . M M O . M •


• M M M M M .
• 10

b) Pederiva
N. fabianii s.s. N. fabianii s.s. •7
Zone Zone
c 20
8 •6
N. yariolariusl
• 15 •5
Tr • • • ' • • • • • • 1
N. variolariusi

• N. biedai •4
• 10 Zone 3
• 8-9 •3
• N . biedai • 2
•5 Zone

N. Ivelli
10 m IMI•••••••11MIMIMIM•


Fig. 2 C o r r e l a t i o n o f the Mossano

W M I I N . Zone
(a), Pederiva di Grancona (b)
MIMMIIMMoiMommm • and San German() dei Berici
o (c) sections based o n num-
mulite zones. T h e numbers
Legend on the left o f the columns

t Clays
-o r« e r« In»
• • • • • •
Nodular limestones Sandy limestones
refer t o the lithologic units
described i n t h e text. T h e
numbers on the right refer to
Maris Nummulite bank Conglomerates
the samples studied. T h e
black a r r o w s indicate t h e
Limy marls Bedded limestones Evaporites
maximum relative sea-level
Marly limestones Massive limestones

striking resemblance with Pederiva as well as the same interpretation o f the sections o f Priabona and the
regressive trend. In the upper units (4-6), although the neighbouring B u s o d e l l a R a n a a n d Bressana
terrigenous input is not important in comparison with (Ghenderle). The calcareous nannofossils were studied
the previous sections, t h e discocyclinid limestones by jossen (1982) and Verhallen R o m e i n (1983).
mark the beginning of the new transgressive cycle. The lowermost portions of the Priabona section
and the Boro-Granella section are correlatable (Hard-
2 - Lessini Mts. (Vensto). enbol, 1968, p. 634). Since the latter could not be at-
The sections sampled include the lower part of tained for this study, we sampled the lower part o f
the Priabona section and the locality Monte Cavro, the Priabona section, from the small spring along the
near Verona (Fig. 1B). road Priabona-Malo t o the overriding road Priabona-
D) Several papers have been published on the Monte di Mak). The lithologic units recognized are,
larger foraminifera from Priabona. To quote only the from top to bottom (Fig. 3a):
more significant, Roveda (1961) studied the nummuli-
5) blue claystone (5 m);
tids from the Boro-Granella section, Sirotti (1978) in- - 4 m covered
vestigated the discocyclinids from Priabona, whereas 4) Discocyclina maris (10 m);
Setiawan (1983) carried out a detailed paleoecological - 3 m covered
Al./U. Eocene boundary nummulite biozones 67

u) ..e,
o E . P . . 1 1 2 e u - , . 5 . 3 2 1 .
•ri ,,,, M Z . Z
o ,--,e , • r _s ,, , , ''ì - L e . z e s . e , --
o, '-e5
u) o Q , •-• - e 22•,-, . q ,..'_,''
• 9- _ g s , "
, 1 5 t -2
,,,„, 0.
P-- •
o : .
o- 0_ C i m_ ',:, - 0' 5 2• -,- g 4,3
2 t.; ,
' l

E ,S2 C 2 b • , „ „ , e l . , C.) e n 3 1 2 t ''',,) ' ' ' '-•"'; 0 t > •

'''' g 22' 2 2 2 ,.; . ) ''''' 2 i -„ -, - 9. 2 q 3 ( b , 2 , " Z. q' ci_ d3 o , . . , m E ci_ — 'e, cp - 2
23 g - S ' • — .."-" t: ... l i - '---- 2 0) • e ' Is % q, • Ei z - — c_b '2) m -. g z o , Q> ,.. c t . , 2.3 E - -9- c n — q 3'— ' -51' C U • —
- '' '
,,ì" 1) • ,,, 2 E -. - 'Z: _L.2 --"•,n, •21. 2 2 a 2 ,E E , ,,-, . ,„, ,. , ,69 „ _? 232. 2 .9 2 -1-,' -'---9..1;2, •-e. e a -E .2
' F Ù •. 2 .

E ,es -.,z-s % -E 13

I !,E_u
"'). _ , 5' 3 ' 3 k 2 1, 75 ? . - -. ' ' C < • -g - , • - >r, I•{ 2 %l 2 5-'4' , a- . ) 2, 2 %

2,'6 13 _g 2., 2, t- t';)'• T tz, t.5 ks 03.2 2, 2 '-.4.-> g 8 2 'ts' ''--tg e 2 E '13 T ì.3 .----,-, .9 t' t t, 2 9,- 2 IR g...E. :8 ..' 195 g.) .2 8 3 7,
g , l' ' _ , 2 . 1) 2 2 i 2 % t o , , 99 2 2 En, 2 %

Sample c2- d d d d 'i'% a c.5 e: i d<d d d o .'(' ,'t . " , 2 E) E)

' 2112'. à d c-13
' s -(7) c2-) «T>t T—
M0 S S 2 4 • • • • • • e • • •
MOSS 2 3 • • • • • • • • e • • e • • •

M O S S 2 2
• • • • • • • • •
MOSS 21 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 20 • • •• • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 19 • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 18 • • • • • • • • • . . • • •
• • • • • • • • •
MOSS 17 • • e • • • • •• • • • • •
MOSS 16 • • • • • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • •
MOSS 15 • • • • • • • •• • • • • • •
MOSS 14 • • • • • •• • • • • •
MOSS 13 e • • . . .. . . . • • •
MOSS 12 • • • • • • • • • • 5 55
• • • • • • • •
MOSS 11 • ee • • • • • • • • • 555 • 555 • • • • • •
MOSS 10 e • e • e • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 9 e e • • e e e e
MOSS 8 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 7 • e • • • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 6 • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
MOSS 5 • e • • • • • • • • • • s e . •
MOSS 4 • e e • • e • • • • • • • •
MOSS 3 e • • • • • • e e • • e • ee • • •
MOSS 2 ee • • • • • e • • • e • • • e •
MOSS 1 e • • e e • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

PRV 8 • • • • •
PRV 7 • • • • • • • • • • •
PRV 6 • •
• • • •
PRV 4 • • • • • • • • • • • • •
PRV 3 • • • • • • • • • • • •
PRV 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
PRV 1 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

SG 11 • e e • • • e
SG 10 • e e e e e
SG 9 • ? • • • • •
SG 8 • • e e • • s e . • e
SG 7 • e • • • • • • • •
SG , 6 e e • • • • • • • • • •
SG 5 e • e e • • • • • e •
SG 4 • • • • • • • • • • • • •
SG 3 • • • • •
SG 2 • • • • • s e • • • • • •

SG 1 • • • s e . e e • • e i

Tab. l D i s t r i b u t i o n o f the larger foraminifera in the Mossano (MOSS), Pederiva di Grancona (PRV) and San Germano dei Berici (SG)
sections. The biozones recognized are reported in Fig. 2.

3) N. fabianii limestones (9 m); conglomerate. A s reported by Piccoli & Massari De-

2) silty and sandy limestones (5 m);
gasperi (1968) the area probably emerged near the end
l) basaltic conglomerate (1 m or less).
of the Middle Eocene, contemporary with a volcanic
The foraminif era recognized are listed in Tab. 2. episode which affected the whole Lessini shelf (Piccoli
The basaltic conglomerate is universally recognized as & De Zanche, 1968).
marking the beginning of the Priabonian marine trans- E) Monte Cavro is a low hill just north of Vero-
gression (Fabiani, 1915; Setiawan, 1983). The deepen- na, near the village o f Quinzano. O u r samples were
ing continued during most of the succession sampled taken on the south-eastern side of the hill, near the S.
to reach open marine conditions (Setiawan, 1983). Rocchetto Monastery. The lithologic units recognized
Little is known about the beds underlying the basaltic are, from top to bottom (Fig. 3b):
68 C . A. Papazzoni A . Sirotti

a) P r i a b o n a

e) N a g o


d) P r a d i p a l d o
8 6
N. labianii s.s. N fabianii s.s. N. fablanii s.s
Zone Zone Zone 5

b) M o n t e C a v r o

5 N. variolarita/
5 N . varialariusl
N. biedai
3 N. biedai 3
•1 Zone
Fig. 3 - Correlation o f the Priabona
(a), Monte Cavro (b), Nago
N, !velli
Zone (c) a n d Pradipaldo ( d ) sec-
/ N. tions based o n nummulite
zones. Symbols as in Fig. 2.

2) limestones with small nummulites (7 m); Different from the other localities described to
1) massive limestones with N. biedai (26 m).
date, the paleoenvironment was here dominated b y
The lower unit contains several robust o r en- small coral reefs w i t h abundant calcareous algae
crusting species (Tab. 2), indicating a high energy (Bosellini F.R. et al., 1988; Luciani, 1989). The larger
inner-shelf margin paleoenvironment. The overlaying foraminifera are less frequent in the fossil assemblage,
limestones w i t h small nummulites point t o a rela- but the generai trend of regression-transgression in the
tively protected inner-platform paleoenvironment. two major cycles is clearly recognizable throughout
This facies succession could be correlated with units 2 the section. U n i t 2 represents the top o f the oldest
and 3 of the Mossano section (Fig. 2a). Therefore, the major cycle. The assemblage (Tab. 2) indicates a rela-
regressive trend observed in the previously described tively proximal environment, probably on the margin
sections is confirmed. of the inner platform. The second cycle (comprising
units 3-8) begins with probable fore-reef deposits (unit
3 - Monte Baldo and Bassano (Trentino and Veneto). 3), where inner and outer platform species are mixed
These areas were located on the north-western and together. Then, t h e paleoenvironment shifts again
towards a shallower facies w i t h minor oscillations.
eastern margins of the "Lessini shelf," respectively. We
investigated and sampled two sections, the Nago section, The regressive-transgressive trend observed i n t h e
in the Monte Baldo area, dose to Lake Garda and the upper cycle is similar t o and coeval w i t h that ob-
served in the Berici Mts.
Pradipaldo section, near Bassano del Grappa (Fig. 1B).
F) T h e Nago section comprises Middle and G) T h e Pradipaldo section lies immediately
Upper Eocene limestones and has recently been the south of the Asiago Plateau, on the eastern side of the
subject of different studies. Luciani et al. (1988) recog- Lessini shelf. I t was studied b y Frascari Ritondale
nized two large-scale and several minor depositionary Spano (1969) and more recently by Garavello U n -
cycles interpreted as related to sea-level changes. garo (1984) and Ungaro G a r a v e l l o (1989). The sec-
Our samples were collected o n the path that tion crops out a few k m north-west o f Bassano del
climbs towards the big pole that overhangs the village Grappa. Our samples were collected from nearly ver-
of Nago. The lithology presents a more or less regular tical beds along the road from Bassano to Pradipaldo,
alternation o f pure limestones and marly limestones on the left side o f the Rio Lavacile. The lithologic
or marls. The units recognized are, from top t o bot- units recognized are, from top to bottom (Fig. 3d):
tom (Fig. 3c):
4) bedded limestones with nummulites, pelecypods and echinoids (9
8) bedded limestones with small nummulites (4 m);
- 11 m covered
7) marls with discocyclinids (4 m);
6) massive limestones with small nummulites (5 m); 3) sandy limestones (12 m);
5) marly limestones with discocyclinids (2 m); 2) bedded limestones with Pachyperna laverdana and miliolids (3 m);
4) massive and bedded limestones with calcareous algae and small 1) massive limestones with N. biedai and N. cf. dtifrenoyi (14 m).
nummulites (11 m);
3) limestones with corals and discocyclinids (2 m); In units 1 and 2 the paleoenvironment shifts
2) massive limestones with corals and calcareous algae (17 m); from an outer platform in a low-energy hydrodynamic
1) marly limestones with discocyclinids (4 m). regime to a very proximal, inner-platform setting with
C. A. Papazzoni A . Sirotti

d) Romania


e) A r g u i s
3 N . fabianii s.s.
N. lablanii s.s. Z o n e .7b

a) Igualada variolarius/ • IN. verialarms/
incrassatus ineresseeds
inerassalus 10
7 N . vtiriolariusl 6
Zone? 4 5
5 N. biedai 4
4 9 Zone? •3
N. biedai
N. lyelli
N. biedai

N. Iyelli
• 2

50 m N. 'velli Fig. 4 - Correlation o f the Igualada

(a), V i c (b), Arguis (c) and
2 Romania ( d ) sections based
on nummulite zones. Sym-
bols as in Fig. 2.

4) marls with Pattalophyllia (Collbas Frn.; 60 m); 7) marls (Vespella Fin.; 22 m);
3) patch reefs (Collbas Fm.; 12 m); 6) reef limestones (Can Cuspineda; 44 m);
2) bioclastic limestones and marls (Collbas Fm.; 80 m); 5) marls (Vespella Fin.; 20 m);
1) N. perforatus bank (Collbas Fin.; 5-10 m). 4) limestones with nummulites (St. Martí Xic; 38 m);
3) marls (Vespella Fin.; 22 m);
The samples come from the section o f Santa 2) reef limestones (La Trona; 54 m);
Maria de Miralles (Ferrer, 1971, fig. 4). U n i t 1 is a 1) marls (Gurb Fin.; 20 m).
nummulite-bank w i t h prevailing A and B forms o f
The samples were collected i n Sta Cecilia de
Nummulites perforatus (de Montfort), but severa' other
Voltrega (Serra-Kiel R e g u a n t , 1991), St. Martf Xic,
species are also present (Tab. 3). The inferred paleoen-
St. Bartomeu del Grau (Barnolas et al., 1981; Barnolas
vironment for unit 1 is on the inner part of the plat-
et al., 1985; Barnolas et al., 1988), all near Vic. The
form. The overlaying alternation of marls and shallow
stratigraphic column i s a composite section recon-
biogenic limestones (usually patch reefs: units 2-5) sug- structed with the available data from the literature.
gests high-frequency oscillations o f the sea-level. The
Unit 1 contains a larger foraminiferal assemblage
marls w i t h discocyclinids indicate a relatively deep
(Tab. 3) which suggests an outer platform, relatively
paleoenvironment (outer platform). The patch reefs of
deep paleoenvironment. I n the overlaying reef com-
unit 7 and the continental red beds of unit 8 represent
plexes (units 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) the assemblages usually
a regressive phase closing the sedimentary cycle. This
lack discocyclinids and contain species typical o f an
regressive trend is comparable with that observed in
inner platform paleoenvironment. The interpretation
the Veneto area. The subsequent lack of marine sedi-
of the five oscillations of the relative sea-level is diffi-
ments is probably consequent to the tectonic uplift re-
cult because of the possible contemporaneous tectonic
lated to the Pyrenaic orogenesis.
movements related to the Pyrenaic orogenesis possibly
I) T h e lithologic u n i t s recognized i n t h e
associated with some short term eustatic variations.
Middle/Upper Eocene sediments of Vic (Marzo et al.,
However, the generai trend is the same as in Igualada.
1989) are, from top to bottom (Fig. 4b):
5 - Arguis (Aragona, Spain).
11) continental red beds (Artes Fin.; 5-10 m);
10) reef limestones (St. Bartomeu; 32 m); Arguis (Fig. 1A) is i n the southernmost part
9) marls (Vespella Fm.; 18 m); of the pre-pyrenaic belt and belongs to the "outer Sier-
8) reef limestones (Sta. Perpetua; 32 m); ras" or "marginai Sierras," bordering the northern side
M./U. Eocene boundary nummulite biozones 7 1

to -o
, ( , )
e c) (. i2 )• (m
•ri (.)
R 1 o " -C C - o
0 -o• — c n ct) - - - - , ("3.• "r-ci
— .
ID '"••" . 0 M C 3 )
Z _ .
Q -
) Ctl e
Cli "e a ) • __ . . . , 0) t i - , . . - - . E, _ _ , q 3 c i _ . c y i E a3
Ct) o E .-e- 2 E cu ci. ' o c i < r i d O- ( 7 ) • - ' s m
E ----,.--- ci ( 1 3 L' o C o c u ( n ' N o • ' 2 2 S. ,E -o •9- .(7.).
o (,)
— .9)".".
q) oo nT s0i , ; o.o- q)9
2 u ) 9 " ) cO M - " C, C 52 m 0 „ c i . e cc> •c M D. c i g L
C ,3 -03 e o • • ,...<') , • - • _0• • ..• , C , . . . . q • ez - , C , Q ) - -. z O > „ 0 Q - 0 - • C m '.-0"" ' ' ' • - • M • -
-C, C1) M„.„
Q) C e • • : - C C . • - C 'CE , --q M -9-• c) ',3 .2.) Ca.--(7)
E "" i C Q> m (1, k-- ,-- (I, S . 9
-- u, s- ' . •
, f3) (1) 2
- • R-, ,.,3 Q ) • - z . - , - -
.eL., 2
2 là.,
• ( 52 2
3 . -t-s• to q)''' ,,o):0 a) ai>
-o r v •e -e — o - z - - o ---5 e c u k c o .?_,, z * Ù - - c u --e, M O S.L3 Q> ._.q q ) o • - C"'' C ' - • C .•,•,. Z:-._' E m - 0
o (T3
-o _e S2
0 2.,,cle,u , m
, ,.-2
m- •' u)
t -5-.-,
z s-- •T cu
• ez Q
, .C,_
- - . •- E
o -e o o
u '-- o o
o o)• ou,ccs
, '6• c) .C. ,--
- (13 O 22- - •52)
,-- ms-- --
• C) C (,)
....(t) •2 "o
o _,-••
m e m 75-
— (1)ni =
o -o—••.•
E o o e -2 o ) o) o)13 o_ o. Iii• o (ts r t o ) (0 22 •,- o (ts -a q e z •2•2 0 ./..lg -5-.") 1-,) •••••• _a 0, "O "Z"-T3 1 : 3 - -9 —
.z o o ca
S a M p l e
C, c ) , d , d i t i l d c o Q cQ.i d dQ t : ) S oa d
. •52
, z • , c n- t ( a( ,d) o0 u) _M d •z 92_ et,. _ Mi o c• o
zQt . >i : t E"
IG 5 • • • • • • • • •
IG 4 5 • • • • • • • • •
IG 3 5 • • • • • •
IG 2 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
IG l • • • • • • • • • • • •

\TIC 3 •
%TIC 2


ARG 2 •

R 9
R 8
R 7b
R 7a •
R 6
R 5

R 4
R 3 •
R 2
R I .

Tab. 3 - Distribution o f the larger foraminifera in the Igualada (IG), Vie (VIC), Arguis (ARG) and Romania (R) sections. The biozones
recognized are reported in Fig. 4.

of the Ebro basin. T h e Middle t o Upper Eocene last cycle observed in the other Spanish localities
marine sediments crop out on the southern side of the amined. A l s o here regression i s n o t followed b y a
Guarga syncline (Canudo et al., 1988). The lithologic transgression.
units recognized are, from top to bottom (Fig. 4c):
6 - Cluj-Napoca (Transylvania, Romania).
3) continental beds (Campodarbe Fm.; 540 m); N The neighbourhood of Cluj-Napoca (Fig. 1C)
2) limestones and sandy limestones (Belsue-Ataús Fm.; 50-75 m);
are very interesting for the study o f the Middle t o
marls (Arguis Fm.; 60-85 m).
Upper Eocene transition. During the Eocene this area
The A r g u i s m a r l s a r e d e v o i d o f l a r g e r was covered b y a shallow epicontinental sea; there,
foraminifera except in their uppermost part. The tran- the carbonate platform deposits are well-developed
sition t o the Belsué-Atarés Fm. is graduai and often and often intercalated with evaporites and continental
heteropic. I n t h e l a t t e r f o r m a t i o n t h e l a r g e r beds. Tw o sedimentary cycles are recognizable, sepa-
foraminifera (Tab. 3 ) indicate a n outer platform rated by thick continental deposits (Bombita, 1984).
paleoenvironment, passing to an inner platform, prob- The stratigraphic succession was reconstructed from
ably under a low-energy regime as indicated by a few several separate localities (Leghìa, Mera and Cluj; see
species sudi as Haddonia beissigt Hagn and Fabiania sp. Bombita & Moisescu, 1968, f i g . 1 ) . T h e l i t h o l o g i c
The rapid transition f r o m deeper t o shallower en- units recognized are, from top to bottom (Fig. 4d):
vironment suggests that the ramp was characterized
IO) marls with nummulites (13rebi marls; 60 m);
by a steep slope and the platform was narrow. The 9) limestones with N. fabianii (Cluj limestone; 48 m);
marine sediments are once again capped by continen- 8) evaporites (upper gypsum; 4-5 m);
tal beds. The regressive trend is correlatable with the 7) bedded limestones with miliolids; 4-5 m;
72 C A . Papazzoni C- A. Sirotti

6) continental beds (Nadasului Fin.; 45 m);

the Cluj limestone (un t 9) is completely exposed. The
5) bedded limestones with alveolinids (Leghìa limestone, 10 m);
4) marls (Mortanusa Maris; 40 m); lower p a r t o f u n i t 9 contains v e r y r a r e larger
3) limy marls with Velates (5-6 m); foraminifera again suggesting a relatively inner plat-
2) marls with pelecypods (4-5 m); form paleoenvironment. Nummulites fabianii (Prever)
1) N. priforatus bank (5-10 m).
appears only i n the highest levels o f the formation,
just below the nummulite-bank facies. The bank con-
The lower part o f the lowermost cycle (unit i ) tains A and B forms o f N. fabianii, often associated
crops out near LegIfia, the type-locality of the species with N. pulchellus Hantken, N. cf. incrassatus de la
Nummulites peiforatus (de Montfort). The bank is al- Harpe, operculinids, e t c . ( Ta b . 3 ) . T h e inferred
most exclusively composed by A and B forms of N. paleoenvironment is near the transition between the
peiforatus along with very rare specimen o f N. beati-
inner and outer platform setting, under a relatively
monti d'Archiac & Haime (Tab. 3). The most impres- low energy regime. O n the whole, the upper part of
sive feature of unit 1 is the extensive bioerosion of the
the first cycle and the lower part o f the second one
tests (especially i n t h e B forms o f N . peiforatus), could be compared w i t h the regressive-transgressive
largely bored b y lithophagous pelecypods and ser- trend observed in Veneto.
puloid worms. Similar extensive bioerosion were re-
ported i n deposits o f almost the same age by Serra- Nummulite biozones and correlations.
Kiel & Reguant (1984) and Carbone et al. (1980) from
Ebro basin (Spain) and Liguria (northern Italy), respec- The Mossano section, which is apparently con-
tively. The inferred paleoenvironment for this unit is tinuous throughout the Middle/Upper Eocene bound-
shallow water inner platform under relatively high ary, seems suitable to reconstruct the biozonal succes-
energy regime. The overlaying units 2 and 3 are stili sion. This section can be helpful t o recognize the
of shallow water inner platform environment, whereas stratigraphic position of the base of the type-section of
the Mortanusa Marls (unit 4), devoid of macrofauna, Priabona.
suggest a deeper environment on an outer platform To correlate these sections, we have to bear in
setting, possibly below the photic zone. The transition mind that:
from unit 4 to unit 5 is marked by a lag with bivalves a) in the type-section of Priabona the only bio-
and an important detrital non-carbonate fraction, indi- zone recognizable i s t h e Nummulites fabianii s.s.
cating a probable v e r y shallow paleoenvironment. Zone;
Unit 5 contains species characteristic o f a moderate- b) the base of the type-Priabonian is marked by
energy, "Iagoonal" paleoenvironment. The sediments a marine transgression.
of the second cycle (units 7-10) crop o u t near the In the Mossano section the marls and marly
town o f Cluj and i n the vicinity o f Mera. After the limestones of the uppermost tract (unit 4, Fig. 2a) are
continental episode represented by unit 6, units 7-8 in- surely attributable to the N. fabianii s.s. Zone (Pl. 2,
dicate a marine paleoenvironment, probably i n an fig. 8-16), f o r the presence o f Nummulites fabianii
inner platform setting. In the Baciu quarry (near Cluj) (Prever), N. stellatus Roveda, Operculina alpina Dou-

Fig. 1-8 : Species of the Nummulites lyelli Zone.
Fig. 1 - Microfacies o f the nummulite bank o f Pederiva, with Nummulites lyelli d'Archiac & Haime, A form (top left) and N. biarritzensis
d'Archlac (top right). Sample PRV 1; x 10.
Fig. 2 - Nummulites lyelli d'Archiac & Haime, B form: equatorial section. Sample PRV 1; x 2.5.
Fig. 3 - Operculina bericensis Oppenheim: external view. Sample PRV 1; x 15.
Fig. 4 - Opercultna bericensis Oppenheim, A form: equatorial section. Sample SG 2; x 15.
Fig. 5 - Nummulites cf. dulrenoyi d'Archiac & Haime, B form: external view and part o f the equatorial section. Specimen stored i n the
muscum of the "Istituto di Paleontologia (Università di Modena)" coming from the nummulite bank of Pederiva (Veneto); x l .
Fig. 6 - Nummulites cf. dufrenoyi d'Archiac & Haime, A form: equatoriai section. Sample SG 2; x 10.
Fig. 7 - Nummulites perforano. (de Montfort), B form: equatorial section. Saniple R 1, nummulite bank of Leghìa (Romania); x 2.5.
Fig. 8 - Nummulites petforatus (de Montfort), A form: equatorial section. Sample R 1, nummulite bank of Leghìa (Romania); x 10.
Fig. 9-16: Species of the Nummulites biedai Zone.
Fig. 9 N u m m u l i t e s beaumonti d'Archiac & Haime, A form: equatorial section. Sample IG 1; x 10.
Fig. 10 N u m m u l i t e s beaumonti d'Archiac 8c Haime, A form: external view. Sample IG 1, same specimen as fig. 9; x IO.
Fig. 11 N u m m u l i t e s cf. bormoensis Nuttall & Brighton, A form: equatorial section. Sample MC 2; x 15.
Fig. 12 N u m m u l i t e s cf. bormoensis Nuttall 8c Brighton, A form: external view. Sample MOSS 11; x 15.
Fig. 13 N u m m u l i t e s discorbinus (Schlotheim), A form: external view. Sample IG 2; x
Fig. 14 N u m m u l i t e s discorbinus (Schlotheim), A form: equatorial section. Sample MOSS 11; x 15.
Fig. 15 N u m m u l i t e s biedai Schaub, A form: equatorial section. Sample MC 2; x 10.
Fig. 16 N u m m u l i t e s biedai Schaub, B form: equatorial section. Sample MOSS 11; x 2.5.
111./U. Eocene boundary nummulite biozones Pl.
74 C . A. Papazzoni A . Sirotti

villé, Spiroclypeus caipaticus (Uhlig). Moreover, these l 2 3 4

Biozone Nummulites Nummulites Nummulites Nummulites
sediments are transgressive, just as those at the base of lyeffi biedai vari incrass. tabianfi s.s.
Spec i e s Zone Zone Zone
the type-Priabonian. Accordingly, u n i t 4 (marls) o f Zone
A. w o n e n s X
Mossano can be correlated w i t h the lowermost por- N. biarritzensis X
N. cyrenalcus X
tion of the Priabona section (Fig. 3a). N. gizehensis X
N. lyelli X
Some other important biostratigraphic conside- O. bericensis X

rations are possible on the former section. Moreover, N. ci. dufrenoyi

N. perforatus
N. 'Piede' —
the lower part o f the shallow-water sediments (units N. beaumonti
1-2, Fig. 2a) at Mossano is of late Middle Eocene age N. discorbinus
N. gamieri sturi
based on the presence of Nummulites biedai Schaub, N. N. ci. hormoensis X
O. schwagert
discorbinus (Schlotheim), N. cf. dufrenoyi d'Archiac & N. varielariusAncrassatus
N. stallatus
Haime, N. lyelli d'Archiac & Haime, N. cf. bormoensis N. fablanti O
sigarnieri gamiert O
Nuttall & Brighton, Operculina scbwageri Silvestri. Ac- O. alpina O
S. carpatious O
cording t o the current biozonation scheme (Schaub, ?N. budensis

1981) unit 1 and 2 can be attributed as a whole to the

Tab. 4 - Distribution o f the age-diagnostic larger foraminifera with
Nummulites brongniarti Zone (="Biarritzian") (Tab.
respect to the discussed nummulite biozones. O) Appear-
6). Relying on the data from the Mossano section this ance; X) disappearance; dashed line) presence uncertain.
zone, and consequently the "Biarritzian," can be sub-
divided i n two subsequent concurrent-range biozones (Pl. 1, fig. 15, 16) sometimes associated with N. beau-
characterized b y discrete larger foraminiferal assem- monti d'Archiac & Haime (Pl. 1, fig. 9, 10), N. discor-
blages (Pl. 1): • binus (Schlotheim) (Pl. 1, fig. 13, 14), N. cf. bormoensis
I) a l o w e r Nummulites lyelli Zone (Tab. 4), Nuttall & Brighton (Pl. 1 , fig. 11 , 12), Operculina
characterized b y the presence o f the named species scbwageri Silvestri.
(Pl. 1, fig. 1, 2), N. beaumonti d'Archiac & Haime, N. Accordingly, unit 1 from the Mossano section is
discorbinus (Schlotheim), N. cf. dufrenoyi d'Archiac & attributable to the N. lyelli Zone and unit 2 to the N.
Haime (Pl. 1, fig. 5, 6), N. cf. bormoensis Nuttall & biedai Zone.
Brighton and Operculina scbwageri Silvestri. I n other Unit 3 i s difficult t o date because i t contains
localities such as Pederiva di Grancona, San Germano low-diversity larger foraminiferal fauna w i t h a few
dei Berici, Igualada, Vic and Leghia, the N. lyelli Zone stratigraphically significant species. I n this unit (Tab.
was found also t o contain N. biarritzensis d'Archiac 1) O . schwageri a n d N . beaumonti/discorbinus, o f
(Pl. 1, fig. 1.), N. cyrenaicus Schaub, N. garnieri sturi Middle Eocene age are associated w i t h primitive N.
Vanova, N. gizebensis (ForskU), N. perforatus (de Mont- fabianii, N. stellatus, N. variolarius/incrassatus (Pl. 2,
fort) (Pl. 1, fig. 7, 8), Operculina bericensis Oppenheim fig. 1-3), Heterostegina reticulata Riltimeyer, Operculina
(Pl. 1, fig. 3, 4) and Assilina spp. scbwageri Silvestri (Pl. 2, fig. 4, 5). This assemblage,
TI) A n upper Nummulites biedai Zone (Tab. 4), that in Igualada and Vic contains also N. garnieri sturi
characterized by the abundance of the named species Vanova (Pl. 2, fig. 6, 7), would indicate the N. aff.

Fig. 1-7 : Species of the N. variolarius/incrassatus Zone.
Fig. 1 - Microfacies with Nummulites variolarius/incrassatus (centre and centre left), discocyclinid (bottom right) and Fabiania sp. (centre left).
Sample SG 5; x 10.
Fig. 2 N u m m u l i t e s incrassatus de la Harpe, A form: external view. Sample 1G 2; x 15.
Fig. 3 N u m m u l i t e s incrassatus de la Harpe, A form: equatorial section. Sample MC 2; x 15.
Fig. 4 O p e r c u l i n a schwageri Silvestri, A form: external view. Sample TG 3; x 15.
Fig. 5 O p e r c u l i n a schwageri Silvestri, A form: equatorial section. Sample MOSS 11; x 20.
Fig. 6 N u m m u l i t e s garnieri sturi Vanova, A form: equatorial section. Sample TG 3; x 20.
Fig. 7 N u m m u l i t e s garnieri sturi Vanova, A form: external view. Sample TG 2; x 20.

Fig. 8-16: Species of the Nummulites labianii s.s. Zone.

Fig. 8 - Nummulites fabianii (Prever), A form: equatorial section. Sample R 7b; x 15.
Fig. 9 - Nummulites fabianii (Prever), A form: external view. Sample R 7b; x 15.
Fig. 10 - Nummulites fabianii (Prever), A form: external view. Sample PRV 7; x 15.
Fig. 11 - Spiroclypeus carpaticus (Uhlig): equatorial section. Sample MOSS 21; x 20.
Fig. 12 Spiroclypeus carpaticus (Uhlig): external view. Sample MOSS 21; x 15.
Fig. 13 - Nun2mulites garnieri garnieri de la Harpe, A form: external view. Sample ARG 2; x 20.
Fig. 14 - Nummulites garnieri garnieri de la Harpe, A form: equatorial section. Sample ARG 2; x 20.
Fig. 15 - Operculina alpina Douville: external view. Sample R 71"; x 15.
Fig. 16 - Operadina alpina Douville: equatorial section. Sample R 7b, same specimen as fig. 15; x 15.
M./U. Eocene boundary nurnmulite biozones Pl. 2
C. A. Papazzoni & A. Sirotti

fabianii Zone (Gita, 1969). Because in our opinion, N. probably represented by nearshore deposits with rare
aff. fabianii is unsatisfactory defined (Herb & Hekel,
nummulites. Nevertheless, the regressive-transgressive
1973), we prefer to rename the N. aff. fabianii Zone as trend is here completely represented.
Nummulites variolarius/incrassatus Zone, a f t e r t h e
In Igualada, the uppermost marine sediments (La
name of the most abundant taxa. I t can be defined as
Tossa Fin.) contain rare planktonic foraminifera at-
the interval-zone between the disappearance o f the tributed b y Ferrer (1971) t o the P15 Zone, i.e. the
larger nummulites (N. biedai i n the investigated sec-
lowermost Priabonian. In Arguis, Canudo et al. (1988)
tions) and the appearance of the species distinctive of found planktonic foraminifera o f P15 Zone i n the
the N. fabianii s.s. Zone. I t is worth mentioning that uppermost beds o f the Arguis Fin. According to our
absence of taxa appearing or restricted to this interval
observations, i n Igualada (unit 7; Fig. 4a) and V i c
creates some difficulties in reliably identify this zone.
(unit 10; Fig. 4b) the larger foraminiferal assemblages
Conversely, the following N. fabianii s.s. Zone is well- from the younger sediments are attributable to the N.
characterized by the appearance of severa! species such variolarius/incrassatus Zone, whereas the species dis-
as N. fabianii (Prever) (Pl. 2, fig. 8-10), N. garnieri gar- tinctive o f the N. fabianii s.s. Zone are lacking. O n
nieri de la Harpe (Pl. 2, fig. 13, 14), Operculina alpina the other hand, at Arguis we found N. garnieri gar-
Douvillé (Pl. 2, fig. 15, 16) and Spiroclypeus calpaticus nieri in unit 2 (Fig. 4c), suggesting that at this locality
(Uhlig) (Pl. 2, fig. 11, 12). the uppermost marine sediments are o f Late Eocene
The genus Orbitolites has been usually regarded age, in agreement with planktonic foraminiferal data.
as restricted t o the Middle Eocene (Hottinger et al., The relative changes o f sea-level are here quite diffi-
1964; Beckmann e t al., 1981; Loeblich & Tappan, cult to correlate with the Veneto area because of the
1988), but we found it in some samples from Pederiva, tectonic movements of the Pyrenak orogenesis which
Priabona and Pradipaldo (Tal). 1, 2) into the N. fabia- mask the eustatic changes. The regressive trend in the
nii s.s. Zone, i n agreement with Barbin (1986), who upper Middle Eocene is, however, confirmed, but at
reported Orbitolites from the Priabonian stratotype. least at Arguis it also continues in the Priabonian.
Discussion. In Romania units 1-3 (Fig. 4d) correlate with the
N. lyelli Zone. O n the other hand, most of the over-
A comparison o f the Mossano data with those
laying sediments ( u n i t 4 ) d o n o t contain larger
from the other sections investigated reveals a striking foraminifera. According t o Bombita (pers. comm.)
resemblance i n b o t h t h e succession o f larger unit 4 straddles the Middle/Upper Eocene boundary
foraminiferal assemblages and the regressive-transgres- on the basis of the calcareous nannofossils (NP 17/18
sive trends. T h e biozonation scheme here proposed boundary); the Leghb, limestone (unit 5) is devoid of
from Mossano and partially from Priabona (Tab. 4) nummulites and cannot objectively be attributed t o
applies to all the other localities investigateci. any nummulite biozone. Comparing t h e regressive
In both Pederiva and S. German() (Veneto) the trend observed in Romania with that from the Veneto
N. lyelli, N. biedai and N. fabianii s.s. Zones are easily area we can tentatively suggest that Mortanusa Maris,
recognizable. T h e N . variolarius/incrassatus Zone i s
Leghla limestone, and probably the overlaying conti-
more difficult t o identify owing to the very shallow nental Nadasului Fin. ("Napocian", Bombita, 1984),
paleoenvironment w h i c h was unsuitable f o r n u m - are time-equivalent o f the N. biedai and N. variola-
mulites. However, t h e sea-level changes show t h e rius/incrassatus Zones. The middle-upper part o f the
same trends at Pederiva and S. German° and are con- Cluj limestone (unit 9) yielded specimens o f Num-
temporaneous with those observed at Mossano. mulites fabianii at a medium stage of evolution. Con-
At Monte Cavro (Verona) were recognized the sequently, the lower Clui limestone (without larger
N. biedai and N. variolarius/incrassatus Zones and the
foraminifera) could be attributable to the lower part
succession evolved with the same regressive trend as of the Upper Eocene. The transgressive episode repre-
in Mossano.
sented by units 9-10 correlates with the marine ingres-
In the western Lessini shelf (Nago) the paucity sion recognized i n Veneto a t the beginning o f the
of significant larger foraminifera and the absence o f Priabonian stratotype.
larger nummulites makes i t difficult t o recognize the
N. lyelli, N. biedai and N. variolarius/incrassatus Zones,
whereas the N. fabianii s.s. Zone is well represented
during a rise in sea leve!.
To clarify the stratigraphic position of the lower
In the Pradipaldo section (eastern Lessini shelf) part o f the type-Priabonian we tentatively correlate
the N. lyelli, N. biedai and N. fabianii s.s. Zones are the nummulite zones with the planktonic foraminifera
present, whereas the N. variolarius/incrassatus Zone is and calcareous nannofossil zones. We have t o stress
M./U. Eocene boundary nummulite biozones 7 7

Lithologic Nummulite Calcareous Dinotlagellate

that planktonic foraminifera and calcareous nannofos-
Units Zones Nannotossil Cyst sils are normally uncommon in carbonate platform fa-
Zones Zones
cies, so direct correlations between nummulite zones
Adi and P/NP zones are difficult to obtain.
According t o Cavelier P o m e r o l (1976) and
beds Aubry (1985, 1986), the Upper Barton Beds (top of the
Gse type-Bartonian) belong t o the NP17 Zone, whereas
Asterocyclina the lowermost type-Priabonian sediments s h o u l d
belong t o t h e NP18 Zone. T h i s interpretation i s
Nodular NP 20
agreed by Berggren et al. (1985) and Harland et al.
limestone (1990), w h o also reported the Bartonian/Priabonian
boundary as corresponding to the P14-P15 transition
(=NP17/ NP18 boundary).
Blue claystone tablanii Ssp At Possagno, one of the hypostratotypes of the
Priabonian, b o t h planktonic foraminifera a n d cal-
Discocyclina NP 19 careous nannofossils are present, allowing a direct cor-
relation between the t w o plankton scales: there the
P14/P15 boundary falis within the NP18 Zone (Proto
Nummulites Mps
fablanii Decima et al., 1975, fig. 3) and does not correspond to
the NP17/NP18 zonal boundary. More recently, Noc-
chi et al. (1986, fig. 1) and Parisi et al. (1988, fig. 2)
Silty & sandy found the same correlation in different sections from
Basallic c o n g l o m e r a t e centrai Italy.
Our proposal of correlation between nummulite
Tab. 5 Biozonation o f the Priabona section. Nummulite Zones and P/NP zones relies on data from the type-section
after Cita (1969); calcareous nannofossil Zones after Jossen
of Priabona (Tab. 5). jossen (1982) and Verhallen &
(1982) and Verhallen R o m e i n (1983); dinollagellate cyst
Zones after Brinkhuis (1994). Romein (1983) found in Priabona only the NP19 (par-
tim)-NP20 biozones, but they could not analyze the
lowermost portion o f the succession, which was as-
Nummulite Nummulite Calcareous Planktonic
Stages Zones Zones Nannotossil Foraminifera signed by Brinkhuis (1994) t o the Mps Zone on the
Zones Zones
(Ci6,19e9) (this work)
basis of dinofiagellate cysts. In centrai Italy this zone
NP 21 P 17 correlates w i t h NP18 a n d NP19/20 (Brinkhuis &
Biffi, 1993), so we hypothesize that at least a part of
PRIABONIAN N. fablanit s.s. N. tablanit s.s.
P 16
the NP18 Zone is present i n the lowermost beds at
NP 1 9 / 2 0 Priabona (Tab. 6).
In Egypt, on the southern side o f the Eocene
Tethys, a direct correlation between the nummulite
P 15
zones and P/NP zones has been reported by Strougo
N. a l t . tablanit N. ,a,iolariusl
incrassatus (1992, tab. 1), who found the lowermost part of P15
NP 18
()) Zone correlatable w i t h t h e Nummulites ptukbiani
Zone. This correlation supports our interpretation, be-
P 14
N. biedat
cause the N. ptulebtant Zone here does not correspond
"BIARRITZIAN") N. brongniarti
to the N. brongniarti Zone of Schaub (1981) but to the
N. a f f . fabianit Z o n e ( = N . variolarius/incrassatus
N. iyelli NP 17 P 13
A careful study of the N. fabianit lineage at dif-
ferent levels of the Middie and Upper Eocene is nee-
Tab. 6 Tentative correlation between nummulite biozonation and ded in order to obtain biostratigraphic informations,
calcareous nannofossils/planktonic foraminifera biozona-
tions. Correlation between N P and P zones after Proto
which could improve the potentiality t o distinguish
Decima et al, (1975), Nocchi et al. (1986) and Parisi et al. the N. fabianit s.s. Zone from the N. variolarius/in-
(1988). The base o f the Priabonian could be traced (1) at crassatus Zone.
the base of the N. variolarius/incrassatus Zone (=P14/P15 As pointed out by Strougo (1992), there are two
boundary) o r (2) at the base o f the N. fabianii s.s. Zone
interpretations o f the Priabonian Stage: one regards
(base o f the type-Priabonian); for the discussion see the
text. the Priabonian sensu stricto, referring to the Priabona
78 C . A. Papazzoni & A. Sirotti

stratotype, the other follows the Propositions o f the Barnolas A., Samso J., Serra-Kiel J. & Tosquella J. (1988) -
Colloque sur Ptocène extending the Priabonian to the Estructura interna del sistema deposicional d e Sant
N. aff. fabianii Zone (-N. variolarius/incrassatus Zone). Martí Xic. Geogaceta, v. 5, pp. 69-71, Madrid.
According t o t h e s e interpretations, t h e Beckmann J.P., Bolli H.M., Perch-Nielsen K., Proto Decima
Middle/Upper Eocene boundary c o u l d b e traced E., Saunders J.B. & Toumarkine M. (1981) - Major cal-
careous nannofossil and foraminiferal events between
either at the base of the N. fabianii s.s. Zone or at the
the Middle Eocene and Early Miocene. Palaeogeogr.,
base o f the N. variolarius/incrassatus Zone (Tab. 6).
Palaeoclimatol., Palaeoecol., v. 36, pp. 155-190, Amster-
Anyway, the type-section o f Priabona is not suitable dam.
for a GSSP, lacking the continuity with the underly- Berggren W.A., Kent D.V. & Flynn J.J. (1985) - Jurassic to
ing Middle Eocene sediments; there t h e type-Pria- Paleogene. P t . 2 . Paleogene geochronology a n d
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the succession i s apparently continuous throughout Pubi., GeoL Soc. Mem., n. 10, pp. 141-195, Oxford.
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section, which is therefore a potential GSSP stratotype la nouvelle division de PEocène. Mém. B.R.G.M., v. 28,
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