Progressive palaeoenvironmental change during the Late Barremian-Early Aptian as prelude to Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a: Evidence from the Gorgo a Cerbara section (Umbria-Marche basin, central Italy)
Stein, M., Follmi, K. B., Westermann, S., Godet, A., Adatte, T., Matera, V., Fleitmann, D. and Berner, Z. (2011) Progressive palaeoenvironmental change during the Late Barremian-Early Aptian as prelude to Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a: Evidence from the Gorgo a Cerbara section (Umbria-Marche basin, central Italy). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 302 (3-4). pp. 396-406. ISSN 0031-0182
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2011.01.025
During Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (OAE 1a, 120 Ma; Li et al., 2008), organic carbon-rich layers were deposited in marine environments under anoxic conditions on a global scale. In this study, palaeoenvironmental conditions leading to this event are characterised by studying the Upper Barremian to the Lower Aptian succession of the Gorgo a Cerbara section (central Italy). For this, an integrated multi-proxy approach (δ13Ccarb; δ13Corg; δ18O; phosphorus; Total Organic Carbon, TOC; bulk-rock mineralogy, as well as redox-sensitive trace elements — RSTEs) has been applied. During the LateBarremian, thin organic-rich layers occur episodically, and associated Corg:Ptot ratios indicate the presence of intermittent dysoxic to anoxic conditions. Coarse correlations are observed between TOC, P and biogenic silica contents, indicating links between P availability, productivity, and TOC preservation. However, the corresponding δ13Ccarb and δ18O records remain quite stable, indicating that these brief periods of enhanced TOC preservation did not have sufficient impact on the marine carbon reservoir to deviate δ13C records. Around the Barremian–Aptian boundary, TOC-enriched layers become more frequent. These layers correlate with negative excursions in the δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg records, possibly due to a warming period as indicated by the δ18O record. During the earliest Aptian, this warming trend is reverted into a cooling trend, which is then followed by an important warming step near the onset of Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (OAE 1a). During this time period, organic-rich intervals occur, which are characterised by the progressive increase in RSTE. The warming step prior the onset of OAE 1a is associated with the well-known negative spike in δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg records, an important peak in P accumulation, RSTE enrichments and Corg:Ptot ratios indicating the prevalence of anoxic conditions. The Selli Level itself may document a cooling phase. RSTE enrichments and Corg:Ptot ratios confirm the importance of anoxic conditions during OAE 1a at this site. The Gorgo a Cerbara section is interpreted to reflect the progressive impact of palaeoenvironmental change related to the formation of the Ontong-Java plate-basalt plateau, which started already around the Barremian–Aptian boundary and culminated into OAE 1a.