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Palaeoenvironmental changes during the Valanginian: new insights from variations in phosphorus contents and bulk- and clay mineralogies in the western Tethys

Westermann, S., Duchamp-Alphonse, S., Fiet, N., Fleitmann, D., Matera, V., Adatte, T. and Follmi, K. B. (2013) Palaeoenvironmental changes during the Valanginian: new insights from variations in phosphorus contents and bulk- and clay mineralogies in the western Tethys. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 392. pp. 196-208. ISSN 0031-0182

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.09.017

Abstract/Summary

Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic changes during the Valanginian carbon isotopic excursion (CIE) have been investigated in the western Tethys. For this purpose, bulk-rock and clay mineralogies, as well as phosphorus (P) contents were evaluated in a selection of five sections located in the Vocontian Basin (Angles, SE France; Alvier, E Switzerland; Malleval, E France), and the Lombardian Basin (Capriolo, N Italy; Breggia, S Switzerland). Within the CIE interval, bulk-rock and clay mineralogies are inferred to reflect mostly climate change. The onset of the CIE (Busnardoites campylotoxus ammonite Zone) is characterized by higher detrital index (DI: sum of the detrital minerals divided by calcite contents) values and the presence of kaolinite in their clay-mineral assemblages. In the late Valanginian (from the Saynoceras verrucosum Zone up to the end of the Valanginian), the samples show relatively variable DI and lower values or the absence of kaolinite. The variation in the mineralogical composition is interpreted as reflecting a change from a climate characterized by optimal weathering conditions associated with an increase in terrigenous input on the southern European margin during the CIE towards an overall unstable climate associated with drier conditions in the late Valanginian. This is contrasted by a dissymmetry (proximal vs distal) along the studied transect, the northern Tethyan margin being more sensitive to changes in continental input compared to the distal environments. P accumulation rates (PAR) present similar features. In the Vocontian basin, P content variations are associated with changes in terrigenous influx, whereas in the Lombardian basin (i.e. Capriolo and Breggia), PAR values are less well correlated. This is mainly because the deeper part of the Tethys was less sensitive to changes in continental inputs. The onset of the CIE (top of the B. campylotoxus Zone) records a general increase in PAR suggesting an increase in marine nutrient levels. This is linked to higher continental weathering rates and the enhanced influx of nutrients into the ocean. In the period corresponding to the shift itself, P contents show a dissymmetry between the Vocontian and Lombardian basins (proximal vs distal). For the sections of Malleval, Alvier and Angles, a decrease in P concentrations associated to a decrease in detrital input is observed. In Capriolo and Breggia, PAR show maximum values during the plateau, indicating a more complex interaction between different P sources. The time interval including the top of S. verrucosum Zone up to the end of the Valanginian is characterized by variable PAR values, suggesting variable nutrient influxes. These changes are in agreement with an evolution towards seasonally contrasted conditions in the late Valanginian.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Past Climate Change
ID Code:40236
Publisher:Elsevier

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