Abstract

Extinction patterns, paleobathymetric inferences, and paleoenvironmental changes based on benthic foraminifera were investigated across the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary at the Galanderud section (Northern Alborz, Iran), which contains one of the most continuous and expanded K/Pg transitions in the eastern Tethys. On the basis of benthic foraminiferal taxa abundance and distribution, an outer neritic to uppermost bathyal paleo-depositional setting is inferred. In addition, benthic foraminiferal assemblages and planktic/benthic ratios do not indicate any major change in relative sea level during latest Maastrichtian-early Danian time.

Changes in benthic foraminiferal assemblages, morphotypes, diversity, heterogeneity, and benthic foraminiferal oxygen index, coupled with statistical analyses, define three intervals. In the first interval (uppermost Maastrichtian Plummerita hantkeninoides Zone), benthic foraminiferal assemblages are moderately to well preserved and highly diverse, with a combination of epibenthic and endobenthic taxa indicating stable, mesotrophic to weakly eutrophic, normal marine conditions. A major change in benthic foraminiferal assemblages at the K/Pg boundary defines a second interval (basal Danian Guembelitria cretacea and lower part of Parvularugoglobigerina eugubina Zones) that is marked by a decrease in the endobenthic morphogroups as well as a decrease in diversity, heterogeneity, genus and species richness. This second interval denotes highly oligotrophic conditions and a collapse in productivity and food availability due to the extinction of some primary producers, with the exception of the three chalk beds representing short-lived blooms of calcareous dinoflagellates. Benthic foraminifera do not show significant extinction at the end of the Cretaceous at this section with only about an 8% loss of species. Additionally, the abundance of some opportunistic species, including Cibicidoides pseudoacutus and Tappanina selmensis, may reflect instability in the benthic foraminiferal assemblages. The third interval (middle-upper part of the Pv. eugubina Zone) is characterized by the dominance of epibenthic morphogroups (up to 70% of the assemblages) with a partial recovery of endobenthic groups. The characteristics of the benthic foraminiferal assemblages indicate that the flux of food to the benthos had not fully recovered during the early Danian.

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