The global stratotype sections and points for the bases of the Selandian (Middle Paleocene) and thanetian (Upper Paleocene) stages at Zumaia, Spain

Birger Schmitz, Victoriano Pujalte, Eustoquio Molina, Simonetta Monechi, Xabier Orue-Etxebarria, Robert P. Speijer, Laia Alegret, Estibaliz Apellaniz, Ignacio Arenillas, Marie Pierre Aubry, Juan Ignacio Baceta, William A. Berggren, Gilen Bernaola, Fernando Caballero, Anne Clemmensen, Jaume Dinarès-Turell, Christian Dupuis, Claus Heilmann-Clausen, Asier Hilario Orús, Robert KnoxMaite Martín-Rubio, Silvia Ortiz, Aitor Payros, Maria Rose Petrizzo, Katharina Von Salis, Jorinde Sprong, Etienne Steurbaut, Erik Thomsen

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Abstract

The global stratotype sections and points for the bases of the Selandian (Middle Paleocene) and Thanetian (Upper Paleocene) stages have been defined in the coastal cliff along the ltzurun Beach at the town of Zumaia in the Basque Country, northern Spain. In the hemipelagic section exposed at Zumaia the base of the Selandian Stage has been placed at the base of the ltzurun Formation, ca. 49 m above the Cretaceous/ Paleogene boundary. At the base of the Selandian, marls replace the succession of Danian red limestone and limestone-marl couplets. The best marine, global correlation criterion for the basal Selandian is the second radiation of the important calcareous nannofossil group, the fasciculiths. Species such as Fasciculithus ulii, F. billii, F. janii, F. involutus, F. pileatus and F. tympaniformis have their first appearance in the interval from a few decimetres below up to 1.1 m above the base of the Selandian. The marker species for nannofossil Zone NP5, F. tympaniformis, first occurs 1.1 m above the base. Excellent cyclostratigraphy and magnetostratigraphy in the section creates further correlation potential, with the base of the Selandian occuring 30 precession cycles (630 kyr) above the top of magnetochron C27n. Profound changes in sedimentology related to a major sea-level fall characterize the Danian-Selandian transition in sections along the margins of the North Atlantic. The base of the Thanetian Stage is placed in the same section ca. 78 m above the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary. It is defined at a level 2.8 m or eight precession cycles above the base of the core of the distinct clay-rich interval associated with the Mid-Paleocene Biotic Event, and it corresponds to the base of magnetochron C26n in the section. The base of the Thanetian is not associated with any significant change in marine micro-fauna or flora. The calcareous nannofossil Zone NP6, marked by the first occurrence of Heliolithus kleinpelli starts ca. 6.5 m below the base of the Thanetian. The definitions of the global stratotype points for the bases of the Selandian and Thanetian stages are in good agreements with the definitions in the historical stratotype sections in Denmark and England, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-243
Number of pages24
JournalEpisodes
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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