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Millennial Resolution Record of the Late Cenomanian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE2) in the Tarfaya Basin (Morocco)

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Thomas Wagner


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High sedimentation rates (up to 12 cm/kyear) of laminated organic carbon-rich biogenic limestones in the Tarfaya Basin provide an unusually high (millennial) resolution record of the late Cenomanian oceanic anoxic event (OAE-2). The global positive carbon-isotope excursion across the Cenomanian–Turonian corresponds to 11 light/dark sedimentary cycles. We interpret these cycles as a response to orbital obliquity variation and estimate the duration of the complete excursion as 440 kyear or one long eccentricity cycle. On this timescale, the main increase in d13C values occurred over a short time interval of less than 20 kyear in the late Cenomanian and reached a first maximum approximately 15 kyear prior to the bulk (mainly coccoliths) d18O-derived sea surface maximum temperature that occurs coeval to the extinction of Rotalipora cushmani. Organic carbon-accumulation rates follow obliquity cycles, reaching a maximum approximately 10 year after the last occurrence of R. cushmani, then slowly decreasing during the early Turonian. Thus, the maximum temperature and the maximum organic carbon accumulation in the Tarfaya Basin lagged by at least 15 kyear behind the global carbon-isotope shift and a proposed reduction of atmospheric CO2 content. The climate change across the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary probably occurred independent of CO2 levels and may have been controlled by different greenhouse gases (water vapour and methane) and changes in oceancirculation (i.e., opening of the Equatorial Atlantic gateway).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kuhnt W, Luderer F, Nederbragt A, Thurow J, Wagner T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Earth Sciences

Year: 2005

Volume: 94

Issue: 1

Pages: 147-159

Print publication date: 01/02/2005

ISSN (print): 1437-3254

ISSN (electronic): 1437-3262

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00531-004-0440-5


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