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Extensive outcrops in the Umbria–Marche Basin of central Italy include some of the most complete successions of Palaeogene sediments known from the Tethyan Realm. Owing to the continuous deposition in a pelagic setting, a rather modest tectonic overprint, the availability of excellent age control through magneto-, bio-, chemo- and tephrostratigraphy, and direct radioisotopic dates from interbedded volcaniclastic layers, these sediments have played a prominent role in the establishment of standard Palaeogene time scales. We present here a complete and well-preserved Palaeogene pelagic composite succession of the Umbria–Marche Basin, which provides the means for an accurate and precise calibration of the Palaeogene time scale. As a necessary step towards the compilation of a more robust database on a wide scale so as to improve the magneto-, bio- and chronostratigraphic framework of the classical southern Tethyan zonations, enabling regional and supraregional correlations, we have constructed a record of reliable Palaeogene planktonic foraminifera, calcareous nannofossil and dinocyst biohorizons commonly used in tropical to subtropical Cenozoic zonations. In addition, an age model is provided for the Palaeogene pelagic composite succession based on magnetostratigraphy, planktonic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils, which contributes to an integrated chronology for the Palaeogene Tethyan sediments from c. 65.5 to 23 Ma.

Supplementary material:

Tables 1 to 13 which provide further details of the Palaeogene pelagic succession of the Umbria–Marche Basin (central Italy) are available at

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