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Abstract:

A one-meter-thick marine red bed (Cretaceous oceanic red beds, CORBs) is reported from Early Turanian sediments associated with the Levant carbonate platform in central Jordan. These CORBs are of regional significance, in that deposits similar in facies and age are present in various sections of the Levant carbonate platform farther southwest in the Sinai. The red bed represents a rare shallow marine counterpart to the widely known deeper marine CORBs. The onset of sedimentation of these brick-red marls in a shallow sea (shallow subtidal) of the southern Tethys margin is shown to be synchronous with the Tethys-wide onset of marine red beds in oceanic settings in the latest Early Turonian. The transition into red marls marks a significant change in sedimentation from marly, gypsum-rich clay, representing lowstand deposits below, into a sequence including massive platform limestone beds forming a transgressive systems tract above the red bed. The sedimentary conditions on the Levant platform during red-bed deposition show some similarities to its deeper marine counterparts on the Northern Tethys margin: they are related to strongly fluctuating sedimentation rates, and they follow periods of high marine productivity, which occurred in the aftermath of OAE2. It is obvious that both strong synsedimentary fluctuations in water depth and accumulation rate and significant early and late evaporite diagenesis influenced the investigated section, so the cause of the red coloring is likely to be not solely a synsedimentary feature. The time-equivalent onset of shallow marine red beds and deep marine red beds in the Early Turonian indicates that both share common global prerequisites regardless of the paleobathymetry.

Key Words: Cretaceous oceanic red beds, diagenesis, shallow marine, Levant carbonate platform, Turonian

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