Carbon, oxygen and strontium isotope composition of Plattenkalk from the Upper Jurassic Wattendorf Konservat-Lagerstätte (Franconian Alb, Germany)

Wolfgang Blendinger, Matthias Mäuser


The oldest Jurassic (Kimmeridgian) Plattenkalk occurs in Wattendorf on the northern Franconian Alb (southern Germany). It is a 15 m thick alternation of laminated dolomite and limestone, interbedded with carbonate debris layers in a depression ~2 km across and a few tens of metres deeper than the surrounding microbial-sponge reefs. The Plattenkalk overlies a few tens of metres of microbial-sponge biostrome facies and bedded, micritic basinal limestone. The bulk-rock stable isotopes of the micritic basinal facies gradually change from normal marine (δ13C ~ +2‰, δ18O ~ –2‰ VPDB) to lower values (δ13C ~ 0‰, δ18O ~ –6‰) in a ~ 40 m thick interval including Plattenkalk and suggest ageing of the bottom waters. The surrounding reefs are isotopically nearly invariant (δ13C ~ +2‰, δ18O ~ –2‰ VPDB). An isotope anomaly (δ13C of > ~ –9‰) is restricted to the basinal facies and is most pronounced in the biostrome facies. This indicates methanogenesis, which is documented in negative δ13C in dedolomite, calcite-cemented dolomite and calcite concretions and occurred probably mainly below seabed. The Konservat-Lagerstätte was probably deposited near an oxygen minimum zone in a water column with low productivity of organic material. Dolomite is in isotopic equilibrium with Plattenkalk and was probably deposited as protodolomite from chemically modified, aged seawater. 87Sr/86Sr ratios of bulk carbonate are often slightly radiogenic, probably due to random analytical sample contamination by clay minerals. Belemnite and some matrix 87Sr/86Sr is slightly lower than that of Kimmeridgian seawater, either caused by basin restriction or by fluids derived from the diagenesis of Oxfordian rocks below. An equivalent Upper Kimmeridgian depression ~23 km distant and a somewhat younger Konservat-Lagerstätte in Poland show a δ13C isotope anomaly below the main fossil beds. Isotopic evidence for saline bottom waters, the current interpretation, is lacking. This study also shows that micritic carbonates can preserve their early diagenetic, marine δ18O signal, which is correlatable over tens of kilometres.


Jurassic, Plattenkalk, isotopes, correlation, aged seawater

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