Abstract

Three sequencing methods were used to calculate the most likely biozonation and the periodicity of sedimentary cycles in Lower Cretaceous pelagic strata of the Atlantic and Indian oceans.A database was built of 378 first and last stratigraphic occurrences of calcareous nannofossils, dinocysts, foraminifers, and geomagnetic reversals in highest Jurassic through Lower Cretaceous deep marine strata at 10 Atlantic Ocean and 3 Indian Ocean drilling sites. There are 135 different events in total, about one third of which are unique to either ocean. Using the complete data set, the quantitative stratigraphy methods STRATCOR and RASC calculated closely comparable optimum sequences of average first- and last-occurrence positions. The preferred zonal solution, based on the STRATCOR method, includes 56 events, each of which occurs at three or more sites. The events comprise 6 geomagnetic reversals, 25 nannofossils, 5 planktonic foraminifera, 8 benthic foraminifera, and 12 dinocysts occurrences. Nine assemblage zones have been recognized of Tithonian through Albian age. All but 2 of 18 nannofossil events in the Atlantic Ocean optimum sequence were reported in the same stratigraphic order in a standard Mesozoic nannofossil zonation.Our quantitative examination, using Walsh spectral analysis, of the Lower Cretaceous cyclic sequences at three Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) sites in the Atlantic Ocean generally supports the hypothesis that they are the product of cyclic climatic changes controlled by the Milankovitch orbital cycles. The peaks in the power spectra usually can be related to obliquity and precession cycles; some peaks seem to correspond to the eccentricity cycle. Obliquity seems to be the most important and persistent orbital element responsible for cyclic sedimentation in the Early Cretaceous Atlantic Ocean.The actual pelagic sedimentation rates were calculated for some cores using the results of spectral analysis. The correlation of the actual pelagic sedimentation rate with cyclic patterns and the occurrence of calcareous turbidites indicate that the changes in cycle pattern are the reflection of changes in the oceanographic setting. The changes in oceanographic setting are related to relative-sea-level fluctuations. The intervals dominated by laminated limestone were deposited during higher sea-level periods.

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