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Palaeoenvironmental turnover across the Ypresian-Lutetian transition at the Agost section, Southastern Spain: In search of a marker event to define the Stratotype for the base of the Lutetian Stage
Ortiz, S.; Gonzalvo, C.; Eustoquio, M.; Rodriguez-Tovar, F. J.; Uchman, A.; Vandenberghe, N; Zeelmaekers, E. (2008). Palaeoenvironmental turnover across the Ypresian-Lutetian transition at the Agost section, Southastern Spain: In search of a marker event to define the Stratotype for the base of the Lutetian Stage. Mar. Micropaleontol. 69(3-4): 297-313.
In: Marine Micropaleontology. Elsevier: Amsterdam; New York; Oxford; Tokyo. ISSN 0377-8398, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 241150 [ OMA ]

    Foraminifera [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Lutetian; GSSP; Foraminifera; Trace fossils; Mineralogy; Palaeoenvironment; Agost; Southeastern Spain

Authors  Top 
  • Ortiz, S.
  • Gonzalvo, C.
  • Eustoquio, M.
  • Rodriguez-Tovar, F. J.
  • Uchman, A.
  • Vandenberghe, N, more
  • Zeelmaekers, E., more

    Marker events to define the stratotype for the base of the Lutetian Stage are poorly defined. To elucidate such markers and characterize palaeoenvironmental turnovers, we conducted an integrated study of the Ypresian–Lutetian (Y–L; early-middle Eocene) transition at the continuous Agost section (southeastern Spain). This 115-m-thick section, which consists of hemipelagic marls intercalated with hemipelagic limestones and turbidity sandstones, spans from planktic foraminiferal Zones P9 to P12 (E7 to E10) and calcareous nannofossil Zones CP11 to CP14a (NP13 to NP16). We report quantitative analyses of planktic and benthic foraminifera and characterization of trace fossil assemblages that are integrated with mineralogical analyses.Relative to benthic forms, planktic foraminifera constitute more than 80% of the foraminiferal assemblage. We found that the most abundant planktic species belong to the genera Acarinina, Morozovella, Subbotina, and Pseudohastigerina. Benthic foraminiferal assemblages are strongly dominated by calcareous taxa, with bolivinids being the most abundant group. Trace fossils showed the succession Nereites–Zoophycos–Cruziana ichnofacies throughout the Agost section. In addition to changes in palaeobathymetry, we deduced that quantity and quality of organic matter flux influenced by turbidity currents are the main factors controlling benthic assemblages. We distinguished several mineralogical boundaries at the Agost section, each associated with lithological facies changes suggesting a change in provenance rather than changes in weathering conditions. We made three observations that indicate an increase in sea water temperatures or a possible hyperthermal event related to the first occurrence (FO) of hantkeninids (i.e., the P9/P10 boundary): 1) a distinct peak in abundance of the benthic foraminifera Aragonia aragonensis; 2) the low-diversity of benthic foraminiferal assemblages; and 3) the occurrence of the planktic foraminifera Clavigerinella eocenica and Clavigerinella jarvisi. Benthic foraminiferal and trace fossil assemblages also suggest an associated relative fall of sea level from upper-middle bathyal to sublittoral depths. These characteristic indicators point to this boundary as a promising feature for defining the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Lutetian Stage. However, complementary magnetobiostratigraphic studies carried out at the Agost section point to the FO of calcareous nannofossil Blackites inflatus (base of CP12b), which occurred 3–5 Myr before the P9/P10 boundary, as the most suitable primary marker event. Whatever the marker event chosen, all the successive events recognized at the Agost section allow a complete characterization of the Y–L transition, and thus this section may be a suitable candidate to locate the GSSP for the Ypresian/Lutetian boundary.

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