Cephalopod associations and palaeoecology of the Cretaceous (Barremian–Cenomanian) succession of the Alpstein, northeastern Switzerland

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Abstract

The Alpstein (cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden and St. Gallen, northeastern Switzerland) has been of great interest for geologists over the last decades because of its excellent outcrops. However, there was no comprehensive overview over its Cretaceous fossil content. Here, we describe the cephalopod associations, which are moderately to highly diverse in some strata of the Alpstein. Furthermore, we document the regional palaeoecological changes that occurred during the radiation of heteromorph ammonites (ancyloceratids, scaphitids, turrilitids). To examine the palaeoecological changes, we quantitatively determined the macrofossil content of 11 associations of Barremian to early Cenomanian age. Here, we document 6 species (3 genera) of nautilids and 77 species (45 genera) of ammonoids (29 of the species are recorded from Switzerland for the first time). Our palaeoecological analyses revealed the disappearance of nektoplanktonic forms after the late Barremian to the middle early Aptian in the course of the development of a shallow carbonate platform. The upper lower Aptian to middle Albian strata were eroded due to successive emersion phases and condensation processes. In the late Albian, the number of nektoplanktonic species surged again with some benthos, followed by the Cenomanian fauna, which is dominated by nektoplanktonic elements including ammonites, belemnites and nautilids with only very little benthos. These results correlate well with the regional sea level fluctuations.

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Tajika, A., Kürsteiner, P., Pictet, A., Lehmann, J., Tschanz, K., Jattiot, R., & Klug, C. (2017). Cephalopod associations and palaeoecology of the Cretaceous (Barremian–Cenomanian) succession of the Alpstein, northeastern Switzerland. Cretaceous Research, 70, 15–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2016.09.010

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