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Abstract

The hydrography and brine flow patterns in the Middle Miocene (Badenian) evaporite basin of the northern Carpathian Foredeep (in Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic) are reconstructed based on studies of the peculiar, conformably oriented, bottom-grown gypsum crystals present in the selenite deposits along the basin margin. The crystal apices are turned in a similar horizontal direction that is interpreted as the product of consistent flow of the bottom brines during crystal formation. Similarly the regular millimetre-scale growth zoning in these crystals presumably reflects the annual stratification-mixing pattern in the brine column typical of monomictic basins. In the central, deeper parts of the basin deposition was dominated by Na-chloride, and the selenitic facies are lacking. These central areas are interpreted as being meromictic during the oriented selenite deposition. The permanent pycnocline separated a mixolimnion, at the surface, from an anoxic (euxinic) monimolimnion, at the bottom, where direct evaporative crystallization of gypsum was not possible. The mixolimnion, which extended far onto the shallow margin of the basin, showed only a seasonal (annual) pycnocline and monomictic hydrography. Oriented selenites grew just in this mixolimnetic marginal zone, under predominantly counterclockwise (cyclonic) flow.

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