Bio- and chronostratigraphy of the Middle Triassic Reifling Formation of the westernmost Northern Calcareous Alps

Brühwiler, Thomas ; Hochuli, Peter ; Mundil, Roland ; Schatz, Wolfgang ; Brack, Peter

In: Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 2007, vol. 100, no. 3, p. 443-455

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    New finds of fossils including bivalves, ammonoids, brachiopods and palynomorphs from the Middle Triassic Reifling Formation significantly improve the age assignment for this unit in Liechtenstein and Vorarlberg. The lower part of the Reifling Formation is tentatively referred to the Late Anisian Paraceratites trinodosus Zone and somewhat older levels, whereas the uppermost part reaches the Ladinian Protrachyceras archelaus Zone (ammonoid zonation). The Middle Triassic successions of the study area are correlated with the coeval South Alpine reference section at Bagolino (Brescian Prealps), which also bears the Ladinian GSSP. The comparison shows that the Reifling Formation in the study area is age-equivalent with the South Alpine Prezzo Limestone and the Buchenstein Formation. A volcanoclastic layer in the upper part of the Reifling Formation at Flexenpass yields a U-Pb zircon age of 239.3 +/- 0.2 Ma. This value is slightly older than previously published minimum ages from equivalent horizons in the Southern Alps; the difference is thought to be mainly due to improved pre-treatment of zircons (annealing/chemical abrasion), which significantly reduces the effects of Pb loss. The new radio-isotope age further constrains the stratigraphical age of the Reifling Formation and supports the proposed biostratigraphy-based correlation of Middle Triassic successions in the Eastern and Southern Alps