Stratigraphy and facies of mid-Palaeozoic successions in southern Mongolia

  • Mongolia covers a huge area in Asia and provides excellent Palaeozoic successions although large regions still lack detailed information on fauna and flora in Palaeozoic rocks. Of special interest is the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB), one of the largest collisional complexes on Earth. The CAOB is composed of a large number of terranes, continental margins, island arcs, backarc/forearc basins and accretionary wedges (Badarch et al. 2002; Safonova et al. 2017). Many terranes and regions underwent strong metamorphism, such as areas north of the Main Mongolian Lineament. To the south, Palaeozoic rocks exhibit low-grade metamorphism, thrusting and folding. Two promising long successions of Palaeozoic rocks were studied, namely the Hushoot Shiveetiin gol section and the Bayankhoshuu Ruins section. The intention of the PhD was to study marine facies settings in Palaeozoic rocks of southern and southwestern Mongolia, in an area little is known in terms of biostratigraphy and events. In order to get a better understanding on events and what might have been the driving forces I studied sections in Mongolia which have not been in the focus of research in the last decades. In order to complement studies on Late Devonian events elsewhere, I decided to study sections in open ocean environments (CAOB), far away from mainly studied epicontinental areas.As stated in many publications, events are the driving force for evolution. They exhibit dramatical changes in the palaeontological record of organisms and they are often associated with dramatic extinctions (Walliser 1996) and anoxic sediments (but not always). Mass extinctions are episodes in which a large number of plant and animal species became extinct within a few thousand to a hundred thousand years. Most events (first and second order events) are traceable worldwide. For instance, in the Late Devonian, mass extinction events recognized at the Frasnian–Famennian (F/F) stage boundary and at the Devonian–Carboniferous (D/C) boundary (McLaren and Goodfellow 1990; Sepkoski 1996; Walliser 1996). Overall, 19% of all families, 50% of all genera and at least 70% of all species became extinct (Raup and Sepkoski 1982; Sepkoski 1996; McGhee et al. 2013), but extinctions also concerned palaeoecosystems and due to Late Devonian events whole coral/stromatoporoid reef ecosystems became extinct. What might be the reason(s) for these dramatical changes? Why did the carbonate factory brake down? There are several reasons which have been discussed. For instance, extraterrestrial bolide impacts (McLaren 1970), anoxia within the water column due to climate changes (House 1985; Becker and House 1994; Caplan and Bustin 1999; Bond and Wignall 2005), transgressions and regressions (Newell 1967; Hallam and Wignall 1999; Purdy 2008; Ruban 2010, 2013; Smith and Benson 2013), eutrophication and increased sediment transport (Joachimski et al. 1993; Schobben et al. 2016), explosive volcanism (Paschall et al. 2019) and/ or large igneous provinces (LIP’s, Ernst et al. 2019; Racki et al. 2020, among others) and much more has been considered. The main problem is that previous studies preferably have been done along former epicontinental margins between Laurassia and Gondwana. Less information is available in deep open oceanic successions and shallow-water areas around island arcs. Generally, events are characterized by bituminous rocks, such as black limestones and shales within marine realms, but they do not necessarily occur everywhere (see Carmichael et al. 2016). So, the question was: “Can we recognize Palaeozoic event layers or equivalents in the CAOB?” If so, is this comparable to already published data? What might be the main trigger, as there are many reasons still in discussion? And finally, what has happened in the aftermath of those events as it seems that the CAOB may have acted as a refugium for at least some groups, such as for crinoids (Waters and Webster 2009; Tolokonnikova and Ernst 2010). In this thesis, I will provide data from isolated ecosystems from a rather unstudied region, which will complement studies from other parts of the World.

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Author:Ariuntogos Munkhjargal
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Andreas Mulch, Peter Königshof
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2022/01/26
Year of first Publication:2021
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2021/09/12
Release Date:2022/02/17
Page Number:156
Last Page:143
Kumulative Dissertation – enthält die akzeptierten Manuskriptversionen der folgenden Artikel:

Munkhjargal, A., Königshof, P., Hartenfels, S. et al. The Hushoot Shiveetiin gol section (Baruunhuurai Terrane, Mongolia): sedimentology and facies from a Late Devonian island arc setting. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 101, 663–687 (2021).

Crônier, C., Ariuntogos, M., Königshof, P. et al. Late Devonian (Famennian) phacopid trilobites from western Mongolia. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 101, 707–723 (2021). - This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review, and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use (, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:

Munkhjargal, A., Königshof, P., Waters, J.A. et al. The Mandalovoo–Gurvansayhan terranes in the southern Gobi of Mongolia: new insights from the Bayankhoshuu Ruins section. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 101, 755–780 (2021).
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht