Abstract

An integrated foraminiferal biostratigraphy and chemostratigraphy is presented for the Lower to Upper Cretaceous Querecual Formation exposed on Chimana Grande Island, Eastern Venezuela. The formation consists of >450 m alternating foraminiferal and organic-rich carbonates and laminated mudrocks, and is considered the main hydrocarbon source rock for the eastern Venezuela Basin. Biostratigraphic resolution within the Querecual Formation is poor, due to a paucity of keeled planktonic foraminifera and impoverished benthic faunas. Deposition occurred in a bathyal environment, with dysaerobic or anoxic bottom waters resulting from high rates of surface productivity associated with an upwelling environment. Biostratigraphic evidence indicates that the Querecual Formation ranges from the upper Albian Rotalipora ticinensis Zone to the Santonian Dicarinella asymetrica zone. Iron and Al contents fall through the Albian-Cenomanian indicating a progressive decrease in the detrital supply, driven by rising eustatic sea level. A Ca profile demonstrates variations in carbonate production and dissolution. High total organic carbon (TOC) intervals occur in the upper Albian to mid-Cenomanian and Turonian, and high Ba/Al and Si/Al ratios characterize mid-Cenomanian and younger sediments. Variations in these elements primarily reflect changes in marine productivity, but are also affected by diagenetic processes. A stable carbon isotope curve established from analysis of organic matter (delta 13 C org ) correlates well with published delta 13 C curves for carbonates from England and Italy. The Cenomanian/Turonian boundary cannot be identified using planktonic foraminifera, because key taxa are absent, but the base of the Turonian is clearly indicated by a sharp fall in delta 13 C immediately above a major positive excursion. The bottom of the Coniacian is placed below a delta 13 C minimum, towards the base of the Dicarinella concavata Zone. Combined with the foraminiferal data, the isotopic data enable much improved stratigraphic resolution compared to previous investigations of the formation.

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