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  • Miocene

Aporrhaidae Morphs of the Miocene

Map of the Miocene (20 ma)

Copyright by Ron Blakey

North Sea Basin


Van Vliet-Lanoe et al., 2002, p. 517:

  • "More recently, Margerel (1989) showed by interregional comparison from the SW to the NE that the Dover Strait opened during the lower Pliocene, cold species migrating towards the Armorican regions from the NE (Table 2). Curry (1992) proposed a slightly different picture from Pomerol’s: an open strait during the Pliocene (Fig. 2). The Dover Strait was thus clearly open during the Pliocene (Margerel 1968, 1989; Meijer & Preece 1995). This is probably related to an initial opening of the Dover Strait following the Messinian incision (Van Vliet-Lanoë et al. 1998a, b)."

Marquet, Grigis & Landau, 2002:

  • p. 159: "The Neogene North Sea Basin has a highly endemic fauna. The Middle Miocene Miste fauna monographed by Janssen (1984) has about a 60% endemic gastropod species. This percentage is an underestimate, as firstly it does not include any species not definitely classified, many of which are probably endemic and, secondly, under closer scrutiny, some of the species initially considered conspecific with specimens from other Basins are in fact separate species, examples being A. dingdenensis and probably Natica tigrina Janssen, 1984, non Defrance, 1825 (Solsona, 1998). This shows there was little contact between the North Sea Basin and the Atlantic, with little species migration. The same trend persists during the Pliocene, as can be seen in the study of Marquet (1998) about the Kallo (Belgium) gastropods: 49 % of the marine species encountered is endemic. In contrast to the Gastropoda, the Bivalvia only show little endemicity, while their species usually have a much longer time range. This could be a consequence of the easier way of dispersion of bivalves compared with paucispiral gastropod species. The local evolutionary lines of North Sea Basin gastropods became extinct during the Pleistocene, nearly noneof them having been able to spread into the Atlantic."


Gürs & Schnetler, 2004, p. 6:

  • "During its Neogene history, the fauna of the North Sea Basin was influenced by varying connections to the Atlantic (via the southwest and the northwest) and the climatic development during this period. As can be seen in the plankton record (Müller 1986; Spiegler 1986), the southwestern connection of the North Sea Basin to the Atlantic broke down during the early Middle Miocene, and the North Sea basin was isolated from warmer seas. Somewhat later, a severe cooling stressed the fauna inhabiting the basin (Gürs 2001) and lead to stronger endemic developments especially in the molluscan fauna. Despite the closure of the southwestern pathway, a strong sea level rise occurred within the North Sea Basin leading to a far eastern extension of even deeper marine conditions with clay sedimentation in eastern parts of Germany (Bülow 2000) until the late Middle Miocene. A high biostratigraphic resolution for this time-span is achieved by using Bolboforma biostratigraphy (Spiegler 1999) or the pteropod biostratigraphy (Gürs & Janssen 2002), which can be used for correlation to the international time scale. The early Middle Miocene was the climate optimum of the Neogene. Mainly subtropical species inhabited the basin (Gürs 2001). During the following cooling event, the proportions of species and individuals of mollusca from temperate waters increased. Cold water species remigrated into the basin, as Drepanocheilus speciosus (Schlotheim 1829) and Eopaziella octonarius (Beyrich 1854), which were displaced by the warm climate during late Early Miocene to early Middle Miocene."


Rasmussen et al., 2010, p. 9:

  • "The Early Miocene climate in the North Sea Basin area was characterised by an oscillation between cool temperate and warm temperate climates (Mai 1967; Larsson et al. 2006). An overall increase in temperature culminated at the Early to Middle Miocene transition, the so-called ‘Mid-Miocene climatic optimum’ (Buchardt 1978; Zachos et al. 2001). In the North Sea Basin area, a warm temperate to subtropical climate prevailed (Mai 1967; Friis 1975; Utescher et al. 2000, 2009). At the termination of the Middle Miocene, a marked drop in global temperature commenced and during most of the Late Miocene the North Sea Basin area was characterised by a cool temperate climate (Buchardt 1978; Utescher et al. 2000, 2009; Zachos et al. 2001; Larsson-Lindgren 2009)."


Lozouet, 2014, p. 275:

  • "During the Palaeogene, the composition of marine molluscan faunas of the Atlantic coasts is determined mainly by the influences of the Nordic realm (warm temperate waters) and the Tethyan realm (tropical and subtropical). The presence or absence of an isthmus between the North Sea Basin and the Paris Basin plays a major role in local biogeographic changes. The Middle Lutetian uplift of the Artois axis interrupted communication between the London-Belgian basins and the Atlantic. The Artois isthmus reopened only much later, after the Miocene, when exchange was again possible via the English Channel. Meanwhile, we called the sudden invasion of the Paris Basin of molluscs of southern Tethyan origin a "Mesogean bubble" (LOZOUET, 2012). The best example is provided by the upper part of the Paris Basin Stampian (Lower Oligocene, Rupelian Stage) where a significant part of the Pierrefitte Sands fauna, beforehand known only in the latitude of the Aquitaine Basin, appeared suddenly (ca. 30 Ma). Much later, in the latest Oligocene (Chattian) to Middle Miocene (Langhian and Badenian ages), the progressive closure of the eastern Tethyan seaway and its brief re-opening were the main palaeogeographical events. According to PILLER et al. (2007) this intermittent connection was definitively sealed during the middle Badenian (approx. 14-15 Ma). The severe cooling during middle Miocene time (Serravallian age) is the first reliable evidence of a global change in the climate, suggested to be an incipient glaciation. The "greenhouse period" was definitely over (PROTHERO, 1994). However, before this time, a significant change occurred: the appearance and development of a new Eastern Atlantic faunistic province, during the Early Neogene (BRÉBION, 1983, 1988). DOLLFUS (1888, 1909) first pointed out the similarity between European Neogene molluscan faunas and modern faunas of the West African biogeographical province. He considered that the changes were caused by an invasion of West-African species during the Early Miocene. In fact, this suggestion is speculative as DOLLFUS (1888, 1909) did not have access to a body of data that was adequate to address the relationships of Oligocene–Upper Miocene faunas of the French basins to their North Sea domain European counterparts. Only selected genera or species have been considered."


Polkowsky, 2015, p. 107:

  • "Das Hemmoor-Gestein der Hemmoor-Stufe (oberes Untermiozän) ist ein ellipsoidisches, graues bis braunes, häufig feinsandiges, in den äußeren Schichten mürbe hell erscheinendes, sehr kernfestes, schwach geschichtetes und außergewöhnlich fossilreiches Großgeschiebe. Namengebend für dieses Kalksandsteingeschiebe ist der Ort Hemmoor, südöstlich von Cuxhaven liegend. Die Gesteine entsprechen zeitlich der dänischen Arnumstufe, wo sie ton- bis glimmerhaltig, graugrünlich und nicht sehr fest auftreten. ... Anstehend ist das Hemmoor-Geschiebe aus dem Untergrund Norddeutschlands, insbesondere südöstlich von Cuxhaven, beschrieben worden."
  • Litholex Breda-Formation
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Betzler et al., 2006, p. 903:

  • "Seaways are narrow corridors connecting marine basins. During the Miocene, the link between the Mediterranean Sea and the world ocean was reduced to a few seaways in the eastern and western Mediterranean. After the closure of the Indopacific connections, probably during the late early Miocene (Rögl 1998; Harzhauser et al. 2002), increasing restriction culminated in the isolation of the Mediterranean basin and its final desiccation in the Messinian (Hsü et al. 1977; Riding et al. 1998), around 5.96–5.7 Ma ago (Gautier et al. 1994; Clauzon et al. 1996; Krijgsman et al. 1999a). The recent connection of the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean through the Straits of Gibraltar formed after the Messinian Salinity Crisis (Comas et al. 1999). Prior to the evaporite formation, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean were connected through a series of corridors in southern Iberia (Betic corridors) and north Africa (Rifian corridors) (Esteban et al. 1996). During the late Tortonian, the connection of the oceans in southern Iberia was mainly through the Granada and the Guadix basins (Esteban et al. 1996; Soria et al. 1999) (Fig. 1). Only one corridor, the Guadalhorce Strait, persisted during the early Messinian (Martin et al. 2001).Using outcrop data from the Guadix Basin we demonstrate that large-scale cross-beds, previously interpreted as the result of platform margin progradation (Soria 1994; Soria et al. 1999), were in fact generated by strong, Atlantic-directed bottom currents. New stratigraphic and micropalaeontological data suggest that the Mediterranean to Atlantic connection through the Guadix Seaway closed at 7.8 Ma at the latest."


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