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Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary tsunamite on the Adriatic carbonate platform and possible source of a hypothetical Atlantic-to-western-Tethys megatsunami

By
Tvrtko Korbar
Tvrtko Korbar
Department of Geology, Croatian Geological Survey, Sachsova 2, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia
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Publication history
18 January 201901 May 2019

ABSTRACT

An unusual deposit at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary within the Adriatic carbonate platform shallow-water succession is interpreted as a major tsunamite, and a possible mechanism that links it to the Chicxulub asteroid impact on Yucatan (Mexico) is speculated. Although the K-Pg boundary hiatus is a common feature within the shallow-marine successions of the Adriatic carbonate platform, three exceptional sections were discovered that are characterized by continuous sedimentation and the event beds at the K-Pg boundary. Two sections include ~5-m-thick coarse-grained complex event beds intercalated within more than 100-m-thick successions of predominantly micritic carbonates deposited in the protected low-energy inner-platform setting, relatively proximal to the platform-margin embayments. The third section is characterized by an ~10-cm-thick event bed showing distinct soft-sediment bioturbation, and it is interpreted as a more distal section. It has been reported previously that the Chicxulub impact cratering generated an almost global tsunami, while the seismic waves caused collapses of the North American southeastern margins. It is hypothesized that the collapses could have generated a megatsunami in the Atlantic Ocean that could pass through a deep seaway between the Atlantic and western Tethys Oceans and finally terminate on the Adriatic carbonate platform, located ~10,000 km from the impact site. Considering the fact that there are potential sedimentological indications for such a huge sedimentary event in NW Africa (Morocco), focused research is needed in the region, along with landslide tsunami modeling, for a relevant evaluation of the hypothesis.

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GSA Special Papers

250 Million Years of Earth History in Central Italy: Celebrating 25 Years of the Geological Observatory of Coldigioco

Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:
9780813795423

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