Benthic foraminiferal assemblages from Demerara Rise (ODP Leg 207, western tropical Atlantic): possible evidence for a progressive opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway


Friedrich, O. and Erbacher, J. (2006) Benthic foraminiferal assemblages from Demerara Rise (ODP Leg 207, western tropical Atlantic): possible evidence for a progressive opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway. Cretaceous Research, 27, (3), 379-399. (doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2005.07.006).

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Description/Abstract

This paper is based on Santonian–Campanian sediments of Ocean Drilling Program Sites 1257 (2951 mbsl) and 1259 (2353 mbsl) from Demerara Rise (Leg 207, western tropical Atlantic, off Surinam). According to its position, Demerara Rise should have been influenced by the early opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway and the establishment of a bottom-water connection between the central and South Atlantic Oceans during the Late Cretaceous. The investigated benthic foraminiferal faunas demonstrate strong fluctuations in bottom-water oxygenation and organic-matter flux to the sea-floor. The Santonian–earliest Campanian interval is characterised by laminated black shales without benthic foraminifera in the lowermost part, followed by an increasing number of benthic foraminifera. These are indicative of anoxic to dysoxic bottom waters, high organic-matter fluxes and a position within the oxygen minimum zone. At the shallower Site 1259, benthic foraminifera occurred earlier (Santonian) than at the deeper Site 1257 (Early Campanian). This suggests that the shallower site was characterised by fluctuations in the oxygen minimum zone and that a re-oxygenation of the sea-floor started considerably earlier at shallower water-depths. We speculate that this re-oxygenation was related to the ongoing opening of the Equatorial Atlantic Gateway. A condensed glauconitic chalk interval of Early Campanian age (Nannofossil Zone CC18 of Sissingh) overlies the laminated shales at both sites. This interval contains benthic foraminiferal faunas reflecting increasing bottom-water oxygenation and reduced organic-matter flux. This glauconitic chalk is strongly condensed and contains most of the Lower and mid-Campanian. Benthic foraminiferal species indicative of well-oxygenated and more oligotrophic environments characterise the overlying mid- to Upper Campanian nannofossil chalk. During deposition of the nannofossil chalk, a permanent deep-water connection between the central and South Atlantic Oceans is proposed, leading to ventilated and well-oxygenated bottom waters. If this speculation is true, the establishment of a permanent deep-water connection between the central and South Atlantic Oceans terminated Oceanic Anoxic Event 3 “black shale” formation in the central and South Atlantic marginal basins during the Early Campanian (Nannofossil Zone CC18) and led to well-oxygenated bottom waters in the entire Atlantic Ocean during the Late Campanian (at least from Nannofossil Zone CC22 onwards).

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0195-6671 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: Benthic foraminifera; Oceanic Anoxic Event; Santonian; Campanian; Demerara Rise
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOC/SOES)
ePrint ID: 49990
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:33
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/49990

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