EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 organic record in the South Iberian Paleomargin.

Carolina Fonseca1, João Graciano Mendonça Filho2, Matías Reolid3, Luís Vítor Duarte4, and Carine Lézin1
Carolina Fonseca et al.
  • 1Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier, Géosciences Environnement Toulouse, Toulouse, France (
  • 2Laboratório de Palinofácies e Fácies Orgânica, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 3Departamento de Geología and CEACT, Universidad de Jaén, Jaén, Spain
  • 4University of Coimbra, MARE - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Coimbra, Portugal

The Cenomanian—Turonian boundary is marked by one of the warmest periods of the Mesozoic, associated with high pCO2 levels and global sea-level highstands. Coupled to these extreme conditions is a massive magmatic episode, the establishment of worldwide marine anoxia, the deposition of organic-rich facies, and perturbations of the global carbon cycle, the so-called Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2). In order to define the organic facies variability, this stratigraphic interval was analysed in the Baños de la Hedionda, a reference section positioned in the W part of the Internal Subbetic, representing the sedimentary record of a pelagic plateau located in the most distal part of the South Iberian Paleomargin. Regarding this goal, a high resolution study was developed on the Capas Blancas Formation (Capas Blancas, Black radiolaritic shales, and Boquerón members – Mb.), using organic petrographic and geochemical techniques. Carbon isotopic profile, for the isolated kerogen (δ13Ckerogen), displays a positive excursion of ~2.5‰ observed in the Black radiolaritic shales Mb., which is in accordance with the worldwide recognized trend for the OAE2 isotopic record.

The pre-OAE2 is represented by the Capas Blancas Mb., with the majority of the samples of this unit showing no organic matter (OM) recovery (0.01—0.57 wt.% total organic carbon; TOC). Palynofacies analysis displayed an association co-dominated by the Amorphous and Palynomorph groups. The Amorphous Group is characterized mostly by marine phytoplankton-derived amorphous OM (AOM), while the Palynomorph Group is co-dominated by freshwater microplankton (Zygnemataceae and Closterium) and choanoflagellates, with some specimens of marine microplankton, sporomorphs, and zoomorphs being also identified. The mixture of freshwater and marine components suggest deposition in a platform environment with shallow depths and oscillating oxygen regimen (oxic to dysoxic conditions). The freshwater components are most likely transported into the marine system due to the lower amorphization state, with the source area being in high proximity.

The OAE2, represented by the Black radiolaritic shales Mb., is characterized by a dominance of: (i) marine phytoplankton-derived AOM; (ii) plate-like bacterial AOM; and, (iii) sheet-like bacterial AOM with a cratered aspect (0.36—31.48 wt.% TOC). Choanoflagelates (with high degree of amorphization) at the base of the unit, zooclasts, sporomorphs, and solid bitumen are also present. The change in the organic facies suggests the occurrence of a transgressive phase. This organic facies is indicative of a relative sea level rise, with O2 conditions deteriorating with the emplacement of reducing conditions, possibly related to an increase in primary productivity.

The post-OAE2, recognized in the Boquerón Mb., is characterized by a co-dominance of marine phytoplankton-derived AOM and palynomorphs, namely zoomorphs, and high percentages of opaque phytoclasts (below 0.25 wt.% TOC). Nevertheless, kerogen displays a reworked character and, therefore, data should be used with caution.

Furthermore, this study constitutes the first record of Closterium in sediments from the Cretaceous, and the first identification of choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of Metazoa, in the fossil record.

How to cite: Fonseca, C., Mendonça Filho, J. G., Reolid, M., Duarte, L. V., and Lézin, C.: The Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 organic record in the South Iberian Paleomargin., EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-11868,, 2021.

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