Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 in eastern England: further palynological and geochemical data from Melton Ross

Published on 2020-05-27T10:52:37Z (GMT) by
The lowermost 1.45 m of the Welton Chalk Formation, including the regional sedimentary record of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE-2), has been sampled at Melton Ross Quarry in eastern England, UK. The section is investigated for organic geochemistry and stable isotopes for the first time, while a detailed palynological study follows previously published preliminary results. It comprises a condensed interval that spans the Cenomanian–Turonian Stage boundary. A locally preserved, lower ‘anomalous’ succession (Beds I–VII) and a ‘Central Limestone’ (Bed A) are shown to correlate respectively with the pre-Plenus sequence and Plenus Bed at Misburg and Wunstorf in the Lower Saxony Basin (LSB), NW Germany. They are overlain by a succession of variegated marls (Bed B to Bed H), including the Black Band (Beds C–E), that can be correlated across eastern England. Based on a carbon isotope (δ<sup>13</sup>C) profile and dinoflagellate cyst and acritarch bio-event correlation, Beds B–H appear to be a highly attenuated post-Plenus equivalent of the LSB succession, including part of the ‘Fish Shale’. The δ<sup>13</sup>C profile shows possible 'precursor'/‘build-up’ events in the lower succession at Melton Ross, with the main OAE-2 δ<sup>13</sup>C excursion occurring in the Central Limestone and overlying Beds B–H. The darker coloured marls from the Black Band and Bed G contain 1.43–3.47% total organic carbon (TOC), hydrogen index values of 78–203 mg HC/g TOC and oxygen index values of 15–26 mg CO<sub>2</sub>/g TOC, indicating type III and type II–III organic matter, of mixed terrigenous and marine algal sources. The corresponding palynological assemblages are dominated by marine dinoflagellate cysts, comprising mainly gonyaulacoid taxa, with subordinate terrigenous miospores, mainly gymnosperm bisaccate pollen, consistent with a distal marine setting. The interbedded lighter-coloured marls contain less than 0.4% TOC and lower proportions of miospores and peridinioid dinoflagellate cysts compared with the darker layers. This is suggestive of moderately raised levels of productivity during deposition of the darker layers, possibly related to greater nutrient availability from land-derived sources. The occurrence of the peridinioid taxa <i>Eurydinium saxoniense</i> and <i>Bosedinia</i> spp., together with higher proportions of prasinophyte phycomata in the darker layers, may also point to stimulation of organic-walled phytoplankton productivity by reduced nitrogen chemo-species encroaching the photic zone, possibly by expansion of an oxygen-minimum zone. Exceptionally high concentrations of palynomorphs (in the tens of thousands to lower hundreds of thousands per gramme range) in the darker layers at Melton Ross and eight other eastern England localities is consistent with increased quality of sea floor preservation in a low oxygen environment, coupled with a high degree of stratigraphic condensation. Two new dinoflagellate cyst species are described from Melton Ross, <i>Canninginopsis? lindseyensis</i> sp. nov. and <i>Trithyrodinium maculatum</i> sp. nov., along with two taxa described in open nomenclature.

Cite this collection

Dodsworth, Paul; Eldrett, James S.; Hart, Malcom B. (2020): Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 in eastern England: further palynological and geochemical data from Melton Ross. Geological Society of London. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4987205.v2