Dongen Formation

Formal (NAM & RGD 1980). Amended (Van Adrichem Boogaert & Kouwe 1994).
Lithological description

Dark-grey, green and brown, slightly calcareous clays, with an intercalated, glauconitic sand to sandstone body, which grades distally (north and northwest) into a marly unit. The lowermost part of the formation is characterised by tuffaceous clays and silts and is fine-grained (63-210 µm) sandy in a proximal position (mid and southern part NL).

Depositional setting

Marine deposit, with a transgressive basal part (reaching south of Paris). Mainly inner to outer neritic conditions. Max. waterdepth 200 m. Estuarine conditions are interpreted for the Brussels Sand Member when the North Sea basin was still in connection with the Paris Basin (Houthuys, 1990). Possible continental setting in the southwest of the Netherlands onshore.

Definition of lower boundary

Generally, the lowermost boundary is characterised by a sharp transition from the clay of the Liessel Member to the sandy or tuffaceous base of the Dongen Formation. The contact is conformable to mildly unconformable. In the southern Netherlands, where the underlying Landen Formation has a regressive sandy top, the boundary is less clear. In the easternmost parts of the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, the formation unconformably overlies Mesozoic deposits.

Definition of upper boundary

In areas where the succession is virtually complete, the upper boundary of the formation is marked by the usually clear transition from its upper argillaceous part to the unconformably overlying sands of the Berg Member of the Rupel Formation. Around the eroded ‘Southern Early Tertiary High’ and its northwestern extension into the North Sea, an unconformable contact with the overlying formations exists. Locally clay may be absent at the top of the unit and calcareous sand is covered by slightly or non-calcareous sand of the Rupel Formation. In those areas where the Berg Member is absent, the Boom Member rests directly on the clays of the Dongen Formation. In that case, determination of the boundary on lithological grounds may be difficult. However, on wire-line logs the Boom Member shows a somewhat higher gamma-ray response compared to clay of the Lower North Sea group. Biostratigraphical analysis is commonly applied to verify the transition.

Thickness indication
Up to 850 m.
Geographical distribution
Regional correlation
UK: -; GER: -; BEL: Maldegem Formation.
early Eocene (Ypresian) - late Eocene (Priabonian).
Depth (thickness) AH:
691 - 993 m AH (302m)
Depth (thickness) AH:
1007 - 1532 m AH (525 m)
Origin of name
Named after the Dutch municipality of Dongen in the province of Noord-Brabant.
Previous name(s)
Reviewed by (date)
Geert-Jan Vis (2019).
Houthuys, R., 1990, Vergelijkende studie van de afzettingsstruktuur van getijdenzanden uit het Eoceen en van de huidige Vlaamse Banken. Leuven Aardkundige Mededelingen, University Press, 5, 137 p.
NAM & RGD 1980. Stratigraphic nomenclature of The Netherlands. Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Nederlands Geologisch Mijnbouwkundig Genootschap 32, 77 p.
Van Adrichem Boogaert, H.A. & Kouwe, W.F.P. 1997. Stratigraphic nomenclature of The Netherlands, revision and update by RGD and NOGEPA, Section I, Tertiary. Mededelingen Rijks Geologische Dienst, 50, 1-39.
Cite as
TNO-GDN ([YEAR]). Dongen Formation. In: Stratigraphic Nomenclature of the Netherlands, TNO – Geological Survey of the Netherlands. Accessed on [DATE] from