ABSTRACT: Here, we revise and update the biostratigraphy of larger foraminiferal assemblages in three sections of the Priabonian Sanetsch Formation in the Helvetic Nappes of theWestern Swiss Alps: The SexRouge (SE) and the Sanetsch Buvette (SA) sections in the Wildhorn Nappe Complex, and the Col des Essets (ETS) section in the most external Morcles Nappe. In the SE and SA sections, the Tsanfleuron and most of the Pierredar Limestone members of the formation are assigned to SBZ 19 (early Priabonian), while the uppermost part of the formation is assigned to SBZ 20 (late Priabonian). In the external ETS section the entire Sanetsch Formation contains assemblages characteristic of SBZ 19, suggesting an earlier, middle-late Priabonian onset of the hemipelagic Stad Formation (â€œGlobigerina Marlsâ€). Since it was established in 1998, the Shallow Benthic Zones (SBZ), a biozonation based on larger foraminifera, has been a useful tool in the biostratigraphy of the Paleogene. Biozonation proposals for the late middle-late Eocene are based mainly in biometrical subdivision of lineages of nummulitids and orthophragmines,which requiresmeasurements in oriented sections of isolated specimens. Here, we define previously unreported taxa from the Sanetsch Formation, which are considered characteristic for the Priabonian. They are easy to identify in random sections and thus useful biostratigraphical markers.We also describe a new orthophragminid genus, Virgasterocylina n. gen. (Orbitoclypeidae) characterized by the presence of rods, radial thickenings of calcite along ribs; a new species of Rotorbinella, R. epardi n. sp., and a new genus and new species of difficult suprageneric attribution, Sanetschella indeprensa n. gen., n. sp. We add the new taxa to the larger foraminiferal association characterizing the Priabonian (SBZ 19-20). The revision of the literature, together with our own sample collections revealed that these new taxa occur in Priabonian rocks from different basins in the western Tethys. Virgasterocylina n. gen. also occurs in the Caribbean bioprovince in the middle and upper Eocene. In the western Tethys, Virgasterocylina ferrandezi is subdivided into two subspecies, V. f. ferrandezi (Ozcan and Less) and V. f. lessi n. ssp., which characterize the SBZ 19 and 20 biozones respectively.
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