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Fakse Kalkbrud

Theme: Danian strata and boundary to Selandian  

Locality: Fakse Quarry
Description of a Danish GeoSite


Primary identification


1. GeoSite no.:
GS – 2-3.

2. National locality no.:
NGI - 166.

3. Geosite name:
Fakse Banke.

4. Location:
Denmark: Sjælland (Zealand), Penninsula of Stevns.

5. Co-ordinates UTM:
System ED50 Zone 32, x=698883, y=6127647.

6. Type of locality:
Quarry.


Primary geological features


7. Main topic:
Paleontology.

8. Geo(morpho)logy:
The Faxe limestone quarry is dug into a pronounced topographic bank in which a complex of interbedded coral and bryozoan limestone banks of Middle Danian age are exposed. The top of the Faxe banke has been abraded during the glacial ages. The Faxe limestone quarry and Stevns Klint are both type localities of the Danskekalk Formation and as such for the Danian stage.
The Faxe Banke has a rich fauna and many different varieties of limestones and diagenetic alterations. The individual coral banks are up to about 20 m high. The accumulate vertical succession of coral bank facies did probably never exceed 100 m.
The coral banks are reefal structures, which are predominantly built by 3 genera of ahermatypic scleratine corals: Dendrophyllia, Faksephyllia and Oculina. Other species of scleratines do, however, also occurr, as well as octocorals which e.g. are the dominating species in the so-called Moltkia limestone variety. Further stromatoporide sponges are frequent and there is a wealth of borings from sponges i the coral remains and epifaunal shells.
The epifauna is very diverse and the quarry continuously produces extraordinarily well preserved specimens.
There is evidence that the upper parts of the coralline limestone may have grown in the photic zone, possibly at a water depth of about 50 m. Some hardened horizons are bored by the bivalve Lithofaga, which may suggest a shallow depth of generation.
In the accumulated contemporaneous debris the fossils of the coral banks are mixed with the fossils of the bryozooan banks, in which there is, likewise, a very rich fauna of mollusks, echinoderms og brachiopods. It is estimated that there are more h

9. Frame / context:
North Sea near shore depositional speciality.

10. Chronostratigraphy:
Middle Danian (Middle Early Paleocene).

11. Primary value:
Reefal complex with corals, bryozooans, and other benthic fauna, as well as sedimentary facies and diagenesis.

12. Comparative evaluation:
The "coral reef" in Faxe is in its extraordinary development a unique feature in the Cenozoic succession in Northern Europe. In the Southern Sweedish Limhamn quarry build ups of coralline limestone in the same stratigraphic position are only up to a few metre in size. Similar small size coralline build ups have been encountered in the Øresund seabed during construction of the bridge. The closest recent analogy may be the Lophelia banks located at a water depth of a few hundred metres, e.g. along the Norwegian coast. The Lophelia banks stand up few tens of metres relative to the surrounding sea bed and living corals exist in scattered patches only.
A small number of teeth and a fragment of the neck of a croccodile, probalby Thoracosaurus, has been found in Faxe. A complete scull of Thoracosaurus has been found in the Limhamn limestone quarry.

13. Comparable GeoSites:
In Denmark: None. (Minor reefs in the Øresund sea bed. Outside of Denmark: Minor reefs in Southern Sweden, Skåne (Scania)).


Supplementary data in support of the locality


14. Delineation on a map:
...

15. Higth of the GeoSite:
~+40 to +70 m, profiles up to ~30m high.

16. Area of the GeoSite:
>1 km2.

17. Subordinate geological interests:
Diagenesis, glacial abrasion.

18. "Non"-geo interests:
Raw materials, Leasure activities.

19. References:
Berthelsen, O., 1962: Cheilostome Bryozoa in the Danian Deposits of East Denmark. Danmarks geologiske Undersøgelse, II Rk., Nr. 83, 290 s.
Desor, E., 1847: Sur le terrain danien, nouvel étage de la craie. Bull. Géol. Soc. France, Sér. 2,4, p 179-182.
Darwin, C., 1851: A Monograph on the Fossil Lepadidae, or, Pedunculated Cirripedes of Great Britain. 88 pp, London: The Palæontographical Society.
Floris, S., 1977: Selected bibliography concerning the Danian at its type locality in Fakse, Denmark. In: XVth European Micropaleontological Colloquium, Denmark, 9th-17th September 1977, p 132-136. København: Geologisk Centralinstitut, Københavns Universitet.
Floris, S., 1979: Maastrichtian and Danian corals from Denmark. In: Birkelund, T. & Bromley, R.G. (Eds.): Cretaceous Tertiary Boundary Events, Symposium. I. The Maastrichtian and Danian of Denmark, p 92-94. København: Københavns Universitet.
Floris, S., 1992: Foralbankerne i Fakses kalkbrud. Naturens Verden 1992, p 352-360.
Gravesen, P., 1993: Early Danian species of the echinoid genus Tylocidaris (Cidaridae, Psychocidarinae) from eastern Denmark. Contrib. Tert. and Quat. Geol. 30, p 41-73.
Jakobsen, S.L. and Collins, J.S.H., 1997: New Middle Danian species of anomurian and brachyuran crabs from Fakse, Denmark. Bull. Geol. Soc. Denmark 44, p 89-100.
Jakobsen og Christensen, 1991, Jakobsen, 1991, Willumsen, M., 1993: Early lithification in Danian azooxanthellate scleractinian tithoherms, Faxe Quarry, Denmark. Beiträge zur Paläeontologie 20, p 123-131.
Willumsen, M., 1995: De danske koralbanker. VARV 1993, 1, s 12-20.
Thomsen, E., 1995: Kalk og kridt i den danske undergrund. I: Nielsen, O.B. (Red.): Danmarks geologi fra Kridt til i dag (2nd edition), s 31-68. Århus: Geologisk Institut, Århus Universitet.

20. Data sources, collections:
The Geological Museum of Fakse (http://www.aabne-samlinger.dk/oestsjaellande/fakse.htm ). Unpublished theses at Copenhagen University. Museum of Faxe. Geological Museum, Copenhagen. Private collections of fossils.

21. Illustrations:


22. Proposers: Geological Society of Denmark and Royal Danish Geographical Society / Niels Bonde and Erik Thomsen.


23. Description by:
Modified from Niels Bonde.

24. Recommandation:
It's a GeoSite.

25. Comments:
-

26. Supplementary description:
The Faxe limestone quarry is dug into a pronounced topographic bank in which a complex of interbedded coral and bryozoan limestone banks of Middle Danian age are exposed. The Faxe limestone quarry and Stevns Klint are both type localities of the Danskekalk Formation and as such for the Danian stage, as suggested by Desor (1847).
The most extraordinary feature at Faxe is the great coral bank complex. In the Faxe bank, which is slightly elongate in the NW-SE direction and covers over 1 km2, has an immensely rich fauna and many different varieties of limestones and diagenetic alterations. The individual coral banks are up to about 20 m high, whereas the accumulate vertical succession of coral bank facies did probably not exceed 100 m. The coral banks are interbedded with bryozooan banks, which generally constitute the mainpart of the exposures. The top of the Faxe banke has been abraded during the glacial ages.
The coral banks are reefal structures, which are predominantly built by 3 genera of ahermatypic scleratine corals: Dendrophyllia, Faksephyllia og Oculina. Other species of scleratines do, however, also occurr, as well as octocorals which e.g. are the dominating species in the so-called Moltkia limestone variety. Further stromatoporide sponges are frequent and there is a wealth of borings from sponges i the coral remains and epifaunal shells.
The "coral reef" in Faxe is a unique feature in the Cenozoic succession in Northern Europe. In the Southern Sweedish Limhamn quarry build ups of coralline limestone in the same stratigraphic position only are up to a few metre in size, and similar coralline build ups have been encountered in the Øresund seabed during construction of the bridge. The closest recent analogy may be the Lophelia banks located at a water depth of a few hundred metres e.g. along the Norwegian coast. The Lophelia banks stand up few tens of metres relative to the surrounding sea bed and living corals exist in scattered patches only. In Faxe some evidence suggests that the upper parts of the coralline limestone may have grown in the photic zone, possibly at a depth of about 50 m (Floris 1996). Further the findings of Willumsen (1995) that some hardened horizons are bored by the bivalve Lithofaga (subject to the "danekræ" regulation), may suggest a shallow depth of generation.
An extract of the very rich fossil assemblage in the coral limestone is given by Gravesen (1993: 164-5). The associated fauna on the coral banks include in particular many mollusks, of which the diversity among the snailes is the greatest (the big Pleurotomaria are probably the most well known species), but there are many bivalves as well and 3 species of nautiles. Crabs, of which many families are described by Jakobsen & Collins (1997), are numerous, and the little Dromiopsis is possibly the associated fossil which is most frequently found. Rare decapod schrimps, such as a complete langoustine and a real lobster, have been protected as "danekræ". Also brachiopods are common, and there are many different (in particular regular) sea urchins, of which Tylocidaris bruennichi is guide fossil for the Middle Danien. A handpiece with a large flock of complete Temnocidaris danica with preserved dental system, as well as both large and small spines, was the first specimen to be protected according to the "danekræ" regulation (Jakobsen & Christensen 1991; Jakobsen 1991). There is also the peculiar little crinite Cyathidium without stalk, which is cemented to the roof of small cavities in the banks. Locally platelets from goose barnacles, Scalpellum, is present in accumulated debris. Some specimens from Faxe of this group are described and illustrated by Darwin in his monograph on fossil Cirripedi (1851).
In the accumulated contemporaneous debris the fossils of the coral banks are mixed with the fossils of the bryozooan banks, in which there is, likewise, a very rich fauna of mollusks, echinoderms og brachiopods. In the estimate of Håkansson (pers. comm) there are more hundred bryozooan species, out of which more than 100 have been described by Berthelsen (1962).
Shark teeth are relatively common in the bryozooan limestone. The theeth stem from about ten species of sharks. The biggest teeth are more than 5 cm high. They stem from Orthacodus lundgreni, which is the last representative of an extinct Mesozoic family. Most worthy of noting is, however, a unique find of a very big, ca. 2 cm høj, tricuspid tooth from a relative to the present frill shark living in relatively deep water.
A small number of teeth and a fragment of the neck of a croccodile, probalby Thoracosaurus, has been found. A complete scull of Thoracosaurus has been found in Limhamn limestone quarry.
Evaluation (Supplementary): Faxe bank is among the most well known examples of deep water coral reefs. It is extremely rich in fossils and has a great diversity in species. Fakse banke is one of the type localities of the Danien and in part the argument for chosing the name "Danien".
The Faxe bank is, as stated, a unike complex of ahermatypic coral banks and bryozooan banks of Middle Danien age (zone 5 and part of zone 6, Thomsen 1995). The locality is in part type locality for the Danskekalk Formation/the Danien, as suggested some 150 years ago. It is a classic and essential locality for the understanding of the Early Cenozoic in Northern Europe.
A large number of the rich fauna has their type locality in Faxe banke, and still unusually well preserved and new species, that contribute to the discussion about the environment of genesis of the bank, are encountered at the locality. Further the many different varieties of limestones that are present in the Faxe bank, and the diagenetic imprint of which have been investigated in many sedimentpetrographic studies, contribute to the environmental interpretation. The site is thus, both from a palaeoecological and palaeooceanographical point of view, internationally unique and essential.
The great interest in the limestone sedimentology and hydrogeology of the Faxe bank is further linked to its industrial value as raw material for the production of lime and as an aquifer ressource for the local brewery.
Despite investigations of the fossil assemblage in the course of limestone quarrying through some 200 years exceptionally well preserved and new species are still found in the quarry. Some of the finds have been subjugated under the "danekræ" regulation (e.g. the many complete Temnocidaris, Jakobsen & Christensen 1991).
The Faxe limestone quarry together with Stevns Klint og Møns Klint are probably the most intensively studied geological localities in Denmark. Therefore the Faxe limestone quarry must have a very high priority among Danish localities of national as well as international interest.

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