Cenomanian to Coniacian sea-level changes in the Lower Benue Trough (Nkalagu Area, Nigeria) and the Eastern Dahomey Basin: palaeontological and sedimentological evidence for eustasy and tectonism
Published:April 14, 2020
Holger Gebhardt, Samuel O. Akande, Olabisi A. Adekeye, 2020. "Cenomanian to Coniacian sea-level changes in the Lower Benue Trough (Nkalagu Area, Nigeria) and the Eastern Dahomey Basin: palaeontological and sedimentological evidence for eustasy and tectonism", Cretaceous Climate Events and Short-Term Sea-Level Changes, M. Wagreich, M. Hart, B. Sames, I. O. Yilmaz
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The Benue Trough formed in close relation to the opening of the South Atlantic and experienced sea-level fluctuations of different magnitudes during the Cenomanian to Coniacian interval. We identify depositional environments from outcrop sections and a drilling as control record. Lines of evidence for the interpretation include facies analyses, foraminiferal assemblage composition (P/B-ratio) and the presence of planktonic deep-water indicators. While the analysis of the well data from the Dahomey Basin indicates a continuous deep-water (bathyal) environment, the succession in the Nkalagu area of the Lower Benue Trough evolved in a different and more complex way. Beginning with latest Cenomanian shoreface to shelf deposits, a long period of subsidence lasted until the middle Turonian when pelagic shales and calcareous turbidites were deposited at upper to middle bathyal depths. These conditions continued during late Turonian and Coniacian times. The general deepening trend of the Lower Benue Trough was mainly controlled by tectonic subsidence and was superimposed by eustatic sea-level changes, resulting in periodically changing palaeowater depths. We were able to identify eight sea-level rises and falls that can be attributed to 405 kyr eccentricity cycles. The amplitudes of the sea-level changes were most likely in the range of several tens to a few hundred metres. The deposition of carbonate turbidites at Nkalagu was probably triggered by eustatic sea-level lowstands.
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Cretaceous Climate Events and Short-Term Sea-Level Changes
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Sea-level constitutes a critical planetary boundary for both geological processes and human life. Sea-level fluctuations during major greenhouse phases are still enigmatic and widely discussed in terms of changing climate systems. The geological record of the Cretaceous greenhouse period provides a deep-time view on greenhouse-phase Earth system processes that facilitates a much better understanding of the causes and consequences of global, geologically short-term, sea-level changes. In particular, Cretaceous hothouse periods can serve as a laboratory to better understand a near-future greenhouse Earth. This volume presents high-resolution sea-level records from globally distributed sedimentary archives of the Cretaceous involving a large group of scientists from the International Geoscience Programme IGCP 609. Marine to non-marine sedimentary successions were analysed for revised age constraints, the correlation of global palaeoclimate shifts and sea-level changes, tested for climate-driven cyclicities, and correlated within a high-resolution stratigraphic framework of the Geological Timescale. For hothouse periods, the hypothesis of significant global groundwater-related sea-level change, i.e. aquifer-eustasy as a major process, is reviewed and substantiated.