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Late Sakmarian to early Artinskian (Early Permian) carbonate deposition was widespread in the marine intracratonic rift basins that extended into the interior of Eastern Gondwana from Timor in the north to the northern Perth Basin in the south. These basins spanned about 20° of paleolatitude (approximately 35°S to 55°S). This study describes the type section of the Maubisse Limestone in Timor-Leste, and compares this unit with carbonate sections in the Canning Basin (Nura Nura Member of the Poole Sandstone), the Southern Carnarvon Basin (Callytharra Formation) and the northern Perth Basin (Fossil Cliff Member of the Holmwood Shale). The carbonate units have no glacial influence and formed part of a major depositional cycle that, in the southern basins, overlies glacially influenced strata and lies a short distance below mudstone containing marine fossils and scattered dropstones (perhaps indicative of sea ice). In the south marine conditions became more restricted and were replaced by coal measures at the top of the depositional sequence. In the north, the carbonate deposits are possibly bryozoan–crinoidal mounds; whereas in the southern basins they form thin laterally continuous relatively thin beds, deposited on a very low-gradient seafloor, at the tops of shale–limestone parasequences that thicken upward in parasequence sets. All marine deposition within the sequence took place under very shallow (inner neritic) conditions, and the limestones have similar grain composition. Bryozoan and crinoidal debris dominate the grain assemblages and brachiopod shell fragments, foraminifera and ostracod valves are usually common. Tubiphytes ranged as far south as the Southern Carnarvon Basin, albeit rarely, but is more common to the north. Gastropod and bivalve shell debris, echinoid spines, solitary rugose corals and trilobite carapace elements are rare. The uniformity of the grain assemblage and the lack of tropical elements such as larger fusulinid foraminifera, colonial corals or dasycladacean algae indicate temperate marine conditions with only a small increase in temperature to the north.

The depositional cycle containing the studied carbonate deposits represents a warmer phase than the preceding glacially influenced Asselian to early Sakmarian interval and the subsequent cool phase of the "mid" Artinskian that is followed by significant warming during the late Artinskian–early Kungurian. The timing of cooler and warmer intervals in the west Australian basins seems out-of-phase with the eastern Australian succession, but this may be a problem of chronostratigraphic miscorrelation due to endemic faunas and palynofloras.


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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, (In Press). doi: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.05.009