- Copyright © 2017, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)
This study focuses on an Oligocene succession dominated by larger foraminifera and coralline algae in the Benitatxell Range (Prebetic Domain, southeastern Iberian Peninsula). The foraminiferal assemblage, studied in thin sections, and interpreted as Shallow Benthic Zone 23, late Chattian, includes: Austrotrillina asmariensis, Nephrolepidina spp., Eulepidina dilatata, E. elephantina, E. raulini, Amphistegina bohdanowiczi, A. mammilla, Operculina complanata, Nummulites cf. vascus, N. aff. kecskemetii, Heterostegina assilinoides, Spiroclypeus blanckenhorni, Cycloclypeus mediterraneus, Miogypsinoides formosensis, Postmiogypsinella aff. intermedia, Neorotalia viennoti, Risananeiza pustulosa, and Victoriella conoidea.
The Rebaldí section, a succession of late Oligocene limestones 3 km north of the Benitatxell section, shows a similar association with Peneroplis thomasi, A. asmariensis, M. complanatus, Neorotalia viennoti, N. lithothamnica, Heterostegina aff. assilinoides, Spiroclypeus blanckenhorni, Cycloclypeus mediterraneus, A. bohdanowiczi, and Risananeiza pustulosa; it is interpreted as the early part of SBZ 23. This section also contains Praebullalveolina aff. oligocenica, described from the early Rupelian of Turkey, and Schlumbergerina alveoliniformis, previously interpreted as Burdigalian-Recent.
Prior to this work, Cycloclypeus mediterraneus was considered to go extinct and be replaced by C. eidae at the SBZ 22B-23 boundary. However, its presence in the Benitatxell and Rebaldí sections extends its range to the late Chattian in the Eastern Betics and indicates an asynchronous extinction in the Tethys. The presence of Amphistegina mammilla Fichtel and Moll 1798 in late Chattian deposits from the western Tethys contradicts the currently accepted hypothesis that places its origin in the Indo-Pacific province in the early Miocene, from where it would have migrated into the Parathethys during the middle Miocene. In addition, the biogeographic range of P. thomasi, A. asmariensis, and P. oligocenica is extended to the westernmost part of the Tethys.