Carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopes as a tool to decipher marine and non-marine environments: Implications from a case study of cyclic Upper Cretaceous sediments
Gerald Hofer, Michael Wagreich, Christoph Spötl, 2013. "Carbon, oxygen and strontium isotopes as a tool to decipher marine and non-marine environments: Implications from a case study of cyclic Upper Cretaceous sediments", Isotopic Studies in Cretaceous Research, A.-V. Bojar, M. C. Melinte-Dobrinescu, J. Smit
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The interplay of Late Cretaceous basin subsidence and oscillations in sea level produced a mixed freshwater–marine succession within the Upper Cretaceous Gosau Group of the Northern Calcareous Alps. Cored sections from wells of the Glinzendorf and Gießhübl Syncline, as well as sediments from the outcrop area of Grünbach–Neue Welt and Slovakian equivalents have been investigated for their stable isotopic composition. Bulk carbonate δ13C and δ18O values of 116 fine-grained samples (shales, siltstones, marls) and 87Sr/86Sr values of 10 samples from the borehole Markgrafneusiedl T1 were analysed in order to distinguish between non-marine and marine deposits and to compare and correlate isotope characteristics of the different Gosau synclines and basins.
Non-marine samples have significantly lower mean δ13C values compared to the mean of marine samples. The discrimination between a marine and non-marine group using δ18O is also highly significant statistically, even though the difference between the average non-marine and marine values is small. Strontium isotope values of marine intervals are near the range of values of normal Upper Cretaceous sea water but show a trend towards higher ratios in marginal marine and non-marine deposits. Although diagenesis and the detrital carbonate admixture partly influence the isotopic composition, the original environmental signal can still be reliably identified.
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The Cretaceous was a period characterized by very warm climate, oceanic anoxic and oxic events and enhanced volcanic activity. The end of the Cretaceous is punctuated by a well-documented asteroid impact and the extinction of, among other groups, the dinosaurs. This volume elucidates various aspects of Cretaceous marine and continental environmental conditions. The articles in this book present a broad range of interdisciplinary contributions, which are grouped into sections on marine environments(including anoxic and oxic events, volcanism and the Cretaceous–Palaeocene boundary); mixed marine–freshwater environments and continental records. The isotopic data are combined with further geochemical, palaeontological, lithological and mineralogical proxies. The interdisciplinary approach offered here gives a solid investigation base for this fascinating period. There are examples from Europe, Asia, South and North America, and from the Early Cretaceous to the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary.