Faculté des sciences

The Cenomanian/Turonian anoxic event at the Bonarelli Level in Italy and Spain: enhanced productivity and/or better preservation?

Mort, Haydon ; Jacquat, Olivier ; Adatte, Thierry ; Steinmann, Philip ; Föllmi, Karl B. ; Matera, Virginie ; Berner, Zsolt ; Stüben, Doris

In: Cretaceous Research, 2007, vol. 28, no. 4, p. 597-612

The upper Cenomanian pelagic sediments of Furlo in the northern Apennines, Italy, are characterized by a 1.5-m-thick organic-rich stratigraphic horizon called the Bonarelli Level, which represents the second major oceanic anoxic event in the Cretaceous (OAE 2). The Bonarelli Level is depleted in carbonates and consists essentially of biogenic quartz, phyllosilicates, and organic matter, with... Plus

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    Summary
    The upper Cenomanian pelagic sediments of Furlo in the northern Apennines, Italy, are characterized by a 1.5-m-thick organic-rich stratigraphic horizon called the Bonarelli Level, which represents the second major oceanic anoxic event in the Cretaceous (OAE 2). The Bonarelli Level is depleted in carbonates and consists essentially of biogenic quartz, phyllosilicates, and organic matter, with values of TOC reaching 18%. The age of the Furlo section is constrained by correlating its δ13C curve with that of the well-dated Pueblo (USA) and Eastbourne (UK) sections. The presence of all the planktonic foraminiferid zones and details of the OAE 2 δ13C excursion indicates a relatively continuous but reduced sedimentation rate across the Cenomanian/Turonian (C/T) boundary. Sediment and TOC mass accumulation rates have been calculated and suggest a sedimentation break in the upper Bonarelli Level. This may be an artifact of the diachronous FAD of the planktonic foraminiferid Helvetoglobotruncana helvetica and suggests that in some sections the δ13C curve may provide more reliable age control for dating the C/T boundary. In order quantitatively to explain the carbon isotope curve and the measured TOC mass accumulation rate, a simple dynamic model of the isotope effects of organic versus inorganic carbon burial was developed. In order to verify the consistency of the model we correlated the modeled output of the Furlo section with that of the Manilva section, in southeast Spain. The modeling shows that increasing productivity only partially explains the measured δ13C excursion and is not the only factor relevant to black shales deposition. Preservation may play a central role, especially in the later stages of OAE 2. Phosphorus and TOC accumulation patterns in the Bonarelli Level in both Furlo and Manilva suggest a similar process although other factors may also be involved.