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A model of cyclic recurrence (~ 0.6–1.2 myr) of three fusulinid assemblages in the Middle Pennsylvanian siliciclastic–carbonate succession of the Donets Basin is proposed. Each cycle records progressive turnover of assemblages in shallow marine environments in response to sea-level and regional climate change. A Hemifusulina-assemblage (A), adapted to cooler and reduced salinity seawater records the onset of sea level rise accompanied by humid climatic conditions. Sea level high stand is captured by the BeedeinaNeostaffellaOzawainellaTaitzehoella (or Beedeina-dominated) assemblage (B), characteristic of relatively deeper-water environments. The B assemblage is successively replaced by the most diverse population of the warm-water Fusulinella-dominated assemblage (C). This assemblage, which occurs in the upper limestones of each fusulinid cycle records the onset of sea level fall accompanied by a shift to drier conditions and likely increased seawater salinity.

The proposed model permits robust interbasinal correlation of the Pennsylvanian successions of the Tethyan realm. Fusulinids of the A and C2 assemblages are the most provincial and therefore the most useful for paleogeographic reconstructions. Specifically, they delineate originally contiguous regions that subsequently were dispersed hundreds to thousands of kilometers, whereas fusulinids of the B assemblage hold the highest potential for global correlation. Extinction at the Moscovian–Kasimovian transition of fusulinid genera of the A and B assemblages, which inhabited predominately cooler and normal salinity (perhaps hyposaline) waters, can be explained by the onset of global warming in the earliest Late Pennsylvanian. Fusulinid assemblages define various types of distribution patterns that differ by tectonic setting of the studied basins suggesting that fusulinid assemblage patterns hold potential for reconstructing the paleogeography and tectonic evolution of Pennsylvanian basins of eastern Laurasia.

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NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Vol. 396, (2014). DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.12.038