Abstract

The stratotype section for the base of the Miocene is at a reversed (below) to normal (above) magnetic transition that is claimed to represent magnetic chron C6Cn.2n (o). Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 522 is the only location we are aware of that unambiguously records the three normal events of C6Cn. We have quantitatively determined the range of the short-lived nannofossil Sphenolithus delphix and the lower limit of S. disbelemnos in DSDP Holes 522 and 522A in order to calibrate their precise relationship to the magnetostratigraphy and to confirm the completeness of the record at this site. Astronomical tuning of Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Sites 926, 928, and 929 shows that S. disbelemnos appears at 22.67 Ma and that the entire range of S. delphix is from about 22.98 Ma to 23.24 Ma. Using these ages, linear interpolation in DSDP Site 522 suggests that the age of C6Cn.2n (o) and of the Oligocene-Miocene boundary is 22.92 ± 0.04 Ma. Our value, conservatively expressed as 22.9 ± 0.1 Ma, is 0.9 m.y. younger than the currently accepted age of the Oligocene-Miocene boundary and of C6Cn.2n (o), which was assigned an age of 23.8 Ma, based on an estimate of 23.8 ± 1 Ma for the Oligocene-Miocene boundary. The bulk-sediment carbon isotope data from DSDP Site 522 is correlated to the record from benthic foraminifera at ODP Site 929 to refine the calibration of magnetic reversals from C6Cn.1n (o) to C7n.2n (o) at DSDP Site 522 on the astronomical time scale.

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