Abstract

The Late Cretaceous Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (OAE2) represents a major perturbation of the global carbon cycle caused by the widespread deposition of organic-rich black shales. Although the paleoceanographic response and the spatial extent of bottom-water anoxia in low and mid-paleolatitudes are reasonably well constrained for OAE2, similar data from high paleolatitudes are lacking. Here, we present palynostratigraphy and organic-carbon isotope stratigraphy from the Sverdrup Basin, Axel Heiberg Island (Canada). It is shown that episodes of high marine organic-carbon burial at paleolatitudes of ∼70°N is contemporaneous with the widely observed occurrence of black shale deposition during OAE2. Paleontological, lithological, and geochemical data indicate normal marine conditions with persistent anoxic bottom waters during OAE2. The results imply that the high marine primary productivity pulse during OAE2 may have caused massive organic-carbon burial on the Arctic shelf in general, with important implications for hydrocarbon source-rock distribution in the Arctic region.

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