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Abstract:

The deep-water Pindos Basin was characterized by siliceous sedimentation during Jurassic-Cretaceous times. Cretaceous siliceous oceanic red beds, i.e., red cherts and radiolarites 25 to 100 m in thickness, are present in the Katafito Formation (Valanginian-Coniacian), whereas the overlying Upper Cretaceous Platy Limestone Formation is characterized by red and gray pelagic carbonates and turbidites. The Katafito Formation consists of siliceous red claystones, ribbon radiolarites, cherts to marly claystones with an apparent red-green cyclicity, silicified mud, and radiolarian-sand turbidites. Sedimentation rates vary between 0.5 and 1.5 mm/kyr. In the siliceous CORB succession, five green to black levels have been recognized, composed of greenish claystones, mudstone turbidites, green to black layered or nodular cherts, and distinct black shales. These green to black intervals can be correlated to oceanic anoxic events, namely, the Late Valanginian Weissert Event, a latest Barremian event, and the Early Aptian OAE 1a, the Late Aptian to early Albian OAE 1b, and the Late Albian OAE 1c and OAE 1d events. From the Middle Cenomanian onwards, turbidites and mass-flow deposits increase in number, but red radiolarites remain the normal background sedimentation in the Pindos Basin. The overlying red marlstones and limestones of the basal Platy Limestone Formation, starting diachronously in the Coniacian to Santonian, record a shallowing of the basin to above the calcite compensation depth and again an increase in detrital carbonate input. The siliceous red beds of the Pindos Basin and other basins in the eastern Mediterranean indicate a long-term record of oxic sedimentation during the Early Cretaceous up to the Coniacian that was punctuated only by short-term anoxia during widespread oceanic anoxic events.

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