Abstract

This study presents benthic foraminiferal data from two sedimentary successions across the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) from Jordan. Calcareous nannofossil biozones NP9a, NP9b, and NP10 of latest Paleocene and earliest Eocene age were encountered in proximal (core OS–01) and distal (core OS–28) sites. Lithologically, the investigated sequence consists of marls, shales, and limestones attributed to the Muwaqqar Chalk-Marl Formation and the Um Rijam Chert Limestone Formation. The δ13Corg curve records the typical carbon isotope excursion (CIE) and shows four distinctive intervals (pre-CIE, CIE-“core”, CIE-“recovery”, post-CIE) over the entire PETM interval in both cores.

In the pre-CIE interval, the more proximal site (OS–01) shows high abundances of Neoeponides duwi co-occurring with an outer neritic Midway-type fauna. The fauna indicates meso- to eutrophic conditions in a middle- to outer-neritic setting. The more distal site (OS–28) is characterized by outer-neritic to upper-bathyal taxa (e.g., Cibicides pseudoacutus, Gavelinella beccariiformis, Nuttallides truempyi) suggesting well-ventilated, oligo- to mesotrophic seafloor conditions.

The earliest Eocene corresponds to the CIE-“core” interval and is marked by a negative δ13Corg signal, high TOC, low CaCO3 contents, and near absence of benthic foraminifera. Oxygen deficiency in bottom waters with increased organic flux is the most likely scenario to explain the elevated organic content at the seafloor.

The subsequent CIE-“recovery” interval of early Eocene age is marked by a restoration of oxygenated seafloor conditions. The proximal site is characterized by a relatively elevated TOC content and high abundance of Lenticulina spp., Valvulineria scrobiculata and common Anomalinoides zitteli, suggesting moderate oxygen conditions and mesotrophic bottom waters. The distal site is characterized by low TOC content and the presence of Lenticulina spp., Valvulineria scrobiculata, Anomalinoides zitteli and Oridorsalis plummerae, indicating a normalization of the organic flux and moderate oxygen concentrations near the seafloor.

The post-CIE interval is marked by low TOC content in both cores. Benthic foraminifera include abundant Anomalinoides zitteli and common Lenticulina spp., Valvulineria scrobiculata, Oridorsalis plummerae, Cibicidoides rigidus, Cibicidoides pharaonis, and Anomalinoides praeacutus in the proximal setting. Mesotrophic conditions and a better ventilation of bottom waters are suggested for this interval. Lenticulina spp., Valvulineria scrobiculata, and Oridorsalis plummerae are also associated with the post-CIE interval in the distal site, suggesting similar mesotrophic conditions with renewed oxygenation in bottom waters.

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