White Jurassic (Late Jurassic)

During the Late Jurassic, hill-like sponge patch reefs created considerable topographic relief on the seabed in the region of the present-day Swabian Alb, Tectonic uplift of the region brought these patch reefs closer to the sea surface, allowing settlement by reef-building corals. These corals live in symbiosis with unicellular algae, and thus require sunlight to grow. Some of the patch reefs also broke the surface, becoming islands.

Between the reefs and islands, deep and restricted lagoons were formed, in which finely layered lithographic limestone, the “Plattenkalk”, accumulated. Anoxia of the lower water layers limited decomposition and scavenging, resulting in outstanding fossil preservation.

The diversity of Late Jurassic environments, including sponge reefs, coral reefs, and lagoons allowed for an enormous number of species to inhabit the region.

Sponge reefs

Silica sopngeTremadictyon

Coral reefs

Coral: Enallhelia elegans

Reefs – ‘Cities’ under water

Lagoon sediment – Nusplingen limestone/Plattenkalk

Belemnite: Hibolithes semisulcatus

Cephalopod:Trachyteuthis hastiformis

Gyrodus circularis

Angelshark: Pseudorhina acanthoderma (formerly: Squatina acanthoderma)

Sea crocodiles

Pterosaur: Pterodactylus longicollum

Cycad: Cycadopteris jurensis

Dragonfly: Urogomphus nusplingensis