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Morocco basin’s sedimentary record may provide correlations for Cretaceous paleoceanographic events worldwide

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Thomas Wagner, Dr Britta Beckmann


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More than 500 m of Upper Cretaceous laminated biogenic sediments, mainly consisting of calcareous nannoplankton, dispersed biogenic silica, planktonic foraminifers and marine organic matter were deposited in the depocenter of the Tarfaya-Laayoune Basin, near the town of Tarfaya in southern Morocco, with sedimentation rates exceeding 10cm/ky during transgressive phases. These sediments exhibit the world's highest accumulation rates of marine organic matter for the Cenomanian/Turonian, and allow investigation of paleoceanographic and climate events on a centennial time scale resolution, comparable to global change studies in the Quaternary. Correlation of over 80 cored wells and outcrop sections using orbital cyclostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and high-resolution carbon isotope stratigraphy reveals that the obliquity signal of the Milankovitch frequency band is most prominent in the record of organic matter and carbonate accumulation. Within the laminated sediment, sub-Milankovitch cycles of yet unknown origin with frequencies comparable to Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations and sunspot cycles are recognized. The record of the Tarfaya-Laayoune Basin has potential for correlation of globally recognized paleoceanographic events (i.e., isotope excursions, extinction, "anoxic events") to a Milankovitch framework and for assessment of the instantaneity and duration of these events on a centennial and even decadal scale.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kuhnt W, Chellai EH, Holbourn A, Luderer F, Thurow J, Wagner T, Albani EA, Beckmann B, Herbin JP, Kawamura H, Kolonic S, Nederbragt S, Street C, Ravilious K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: EOS: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union

Year: 2001

Volume: 82

Issue: 33

Pages: 361

ISSN (print): 0096-3941

Publisher: American Geophysical Union


DOI: 10.1029/01EO00223


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