Abstract

Coral-rich strata of the Leitha Limestone of Badenian age (Middle Miocene) at the type-locality in Grosshoeflein (Burgenland province, Austria) were re-interpreted from an actualistic viewpoint in comparison with Recent Bahamian and Arabian Gulf coral communities. The investigated outcrop (quarry “Fenk”) is interpreted as a sequence of framebuilding coral carpets and non-framebuilding biostromal coral communities, alternating with bryozoan and corallinacean calcarenites and bivalve beds. No indication for the presence of a reef was found. In total, a sequence of 10 coral intervals was observed, which can be grouped into 2 coral carpet types (high carpet framework, low bushy framework), four non-framework communities, and one bivalve/coral community. Within this sequence, no unequivocal indication for sea-level changes at the time of deposition was apparent. The different coral facies are interpreted as having been deposited within roughly the same water depth as Recent coral systems observed in the Bahamas (Andros, Exuma Cays) and the Arabian Gulf (Dubai, UAE). According to the model presented, the facies merely represent different lateral positions within the same spatially highly complex environment. A distribution map of benthic biota in the Arabian Gulf (Jebel Ali, Dubai, UAE) was used to illustrate the likely lateral distribution of the Miocene facies.

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