Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Geology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Geology, Faculty of science, University of Zanjan, Iran


Sea cows are exceptional fossil vertebrates recently discovered in the deposits of the Qom Formation. Yet, the Sirenia-bearing limestones are still poorly understood in terms of detail paleoenvironmental and micropaleontological investigations. In order to distinguish the temporal and paleoenvironmental context of the Sirenia (sea cow) bearing deposits of the Qom Formation in central Iran, three stratigraphic sections were studied in Hamedan (Ivak and Shirinsu) and Isfahan (Chahriseh) provinces. A total number of 47 thin sections were studied for micropaleontology, biozonation and carbonate microfacies analysis, as well as sedimentary environment recounstruction. Biostratigraphical investigations suggest that the Sirenia-bearing deposits are Aquitanian/Burdigalian in age, which implies restriction of sea cows remains to the Lower Miocene. We recognized nine microfacies (n=8 correspond to carbonate; n=1 correspond to siliciclastic) in the study areas. They are systematically grouped into two microfacies settings, representing inner and middle ramp environments. This is based on the facies associations and the distribution of skeletal components and rock textures.  The Sirenia-bearing limestone consists of peloid/algae bearing wackstone/packstone/floatstone. A carbonate (inner) ramp system under shallow water conditions is interpreted as the habitats of the Sirenian mammals during the Aquitanian/Burdigalian in Central Iran. This paleoenvironmental setting could be utilized for further exploration of Qom Formation deposits for discovering sea cows.