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Abstract

Widespread biological, geochemical and sedimentological shifts within the Maastrichtian are well documented, but data are limited for the low-latitude Atlantic. New observations from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sites located on Blake Nose in the subtropical western North Atlantic increase information concerning the Maastrichtian history of this critical region. Planktonic δ18O results suggest up to 6 °C of local surface water warming (or 4‰ decrease in salinity) at the same time as most of the globe was cooling. Benthic δ13O and δ13C values of both planktonic and benthic taxa show little if any directional trend or excursions on long time scales; however, planktonic and benthic taxa exhibit strong δ13C and δ18O cycles (up to 0.8 and 0.6‰, respectively) across a short interval of high-resolution sampling. Other portions of the cores have not yet been studied at high resolution. The last occurrence of inoceramid shell fragments on Blake Nose matches previously documented global patterns, i. e. a mid-Maastrichtian extinction event that occurred later in low latitudes than in high southern latitudes. Models for Maastrichtian change seem to be converging on variation in intermediate to deep water ocean circulation as a unifying process. Blake Nose data are consistent with this conclusion, but demonstrate new regional patterns and emphasize the importance of precise and accurate chronostratigraphic correlation in understanding Maastrichtian change.

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