A new paper on the Denizli Basin

I am proud of a paper just in from Hülya and Cihat Alҫiҫek and myself about Plio-Pleistocene lake environments and biota of the Denzili Basin, Turkey.

One day in 2005 I received a mail from an unknown colleague in Turkey with some photographs of shells. Working with fossils in a museum delivers more often inquiries about fossils, shells and stones. I opened the mail to find very nice pictures of fossil bivalves that looked very familiar to me. Could they be Didacna? But why then from Turkey, and as the mail suggested a Miocene age? After all the origin of Didacna is very unclear, it was not present in the Caspian basin before the Pleistocene and its origin in the Black Sea basin is enigmatic too.

 The mail triggered an intense communication with the sender, Hülya Alҫiҫek, who is a sedimentologist from the Pamukkale University in Denizli. In the years after we studied together the fauna, engaged with a Hungarian colleague Imre Magyar, in order to see if we were looking at a very early, possibly the earliest, occurrence of a genus that characterizes the Pontocaspian faunas up to today. In 2008 we published the fauna in Geobios (Wesselingh et al., 2008). We concluded that it indeed concerns the oldest known occurrence of the Pontocaspian genus Didacna, although uncertainties over the exact stratigraphic age remain. Furthermore some palaeontologist question our attribution although to date no counter-arguments for doing so have been published.

The paper triggered a whole set of new research lines in the region that underlay part of the PRIDE programme. The southwestern Anatolian basins do harbor Pontocaspian biota in various Neogene and Quaternary time intervals and their role as satellite basins for the possible origin and maintenance of these biota will be subject of research in PRIDE by for example ESR Arthur Sands in Giessen.

Impressions from the Tosunlar section, its fossils and the palaeonvironmental settings – photo Frank Wesseling; graphic Hülya Alçiçek


The new paper is about a very nice section in the northern Denizli Basin, the Tosunlar section. A succession of lake margin-deltaic environments rich in fossils is documented. Sedimentary facies and isotope geochemistry show lake level variations, yet the composition of the endemic fauna remains remarkably constant. Again, the stratigraphic age is not well constrained and already next month we will have a fieldwork targeting the succession with paleomagnetism and other approaches through the project of Sergey Lazarev from Utrecht.

A beautiful paper that I hope will initiate further discussion and insights into the beautiful geology of the Denilzi Basin.

Hülya Alçiçek, Frank P Wesselingh, Mehmet Cihat Alçiçek, 2015. Paleoenvironmental evolution of the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene fluvio-deltaic sequence of the Denizli Basin (SW Turkey). Palaeogeography. Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 437: 98-116.

Author: Frank Wesselingh


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