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Global correlation of Upper Campanian – Maastrichtian successions using carbon-isotope stratigraphy: development of a new Maastrichtian timescale

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Carbon-isotope stratigraphy has proven to be a powerful tool in the global correlation of Cretaceous successions. Here we present new, high-resolution carbon-isotope records for the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the Maastrichtian stage at Tercis les Bains (France), the Bottaccione and Contessa sections at Gubbio (Italy), and the coastal sections at Norfolk (UK) to provide a global δ13C correlation between shelf-sea and oceanic sites. The new δ13C records are correlated with δ13C-stratigraphies of the boreal chalk sea (Trunch borehole, Norfolk, UK, Lägerdorf-Kronsmoor-Hemmoor section, northern Germany, Stevns-1 core, Denmark), the tropical Pacific (ODP Hole 1210B, Shatsky Rise) and the South Atlantic and Southern Ocean (DSDP Hole 525A, ODP Hole 690C) by using an assembled Gubbio δ13C record as a reference curve. The global correlation allows the identification of significant high-frequency δ13C variations that occur superimposed on prominent Campanian – Maastrichtian events, namely the Late Campanian Event (LCE), the Campanian – Maastrichtian Boundary Event (CMBE), the mid-Maastrichtian Event (MME), and the Cretaceous-Paleogene transition (KPgE). The carbon-isotope events are correlated with the geomagnetic polarity scale recalculated using the astronomical 40Ar/39Ar calibration of the Fish Canyon sanidine. This technique allows the evaluation of the relative timing of base occurrences of stratigraphic index fossils such as ammonites, planktonic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils. Furthermore, the Campanian – Maastrichtian boundary, as defined in the stratotype at Tercis, can be precisely positioned relative to carbon-isotope stratigraphy and the geomagnetic polarity timescale. The average value for the age of the Campanian – Maastrichtian boundary is 72.1 ± 0.1 Ma, estimated by three independent approaches that utilize the Fish Canyon sanidine calibration and Option 2 of the Maastrichtian astronomical timescale. The CMBE covers a time span of 2.5 Myr and reflects changes in the global carbon cycle probably related to tectonic process rather than to glacio-eustasy. The duration of the high-frequency δ13C variations instead coincides with the frequency band of long eccentricity, indicative of orbital forcing of changes in climate and the global carbon cycle.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Newsletters on Stratigraphy is an international, peer-reviewed journal with a focus on stratigraphic issues that are relevant for a broad geoscientific community. Papers published in Newsletters on Stratigraphy use (and ideally integrate) stratigraphic methodologies from a wide field of disciplines, including (but not limited to) biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, chemostratigraphy, and magnetostratigraphy.

    The results have implications for paleogeographic reconstructions, paleoceanography, paleoclimate, biotic evolution, basin development, or regional and supraregional correlation.

    Papers published in Newsletters on Stratigraphy comprise original research articles, background information on ongoing work of e.g., the International Stratigraphic Commission (ICS) and the International Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification (ISSC), and review articles. There are no page charges for the publication of regular papers.
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