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Stratigraphic record of the asteroidal Veritas breakup in the Tortonian Monte dei Corvi section (Ancona, Italy)

Alessandro Montanari, Ken Farley, Philippe Claeys, David de Vleeschouwer, Niels de Winter, Stef Vansteenberge, Matthias Sinnesael and Christian Koeberl
Stratigraphic record of the asteroidal Veritas breakup in the Tortonian Monte dei Corvi section (Ancona, Italy)
Geological Society of America Bulletin (June 2017) 129 (9-10): 1357-1376


The discovery of elevated concentrations of the cosmogenic radionuclide (super 3) He in deep-sea sediments from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 926 (Atlantic Ocean) and ODP Site 757 (Indian Ocean) points toward accretion of extraterrestrial matter, probably as a result of the catastrophic disruption of a large asteroid that produced the Veritas family of asteroids at ca. 8.3 + or - 0.5 Ma, and which may have had important effects on the global climatic and ecologic systems. Here, we investigated the signatures possibly related to the Veritas event by performing a high-resolution multiproxy stratigraphic analysis through the late Tortonian-early Messinian Monte dei Corvi section near Ancona, Italy. Closely spaced bulk-rock samples through a 36-m-thick section, approximately spanning from ca. 9.9 Ma to ca. 6.4 Ma, show an approximately 5-fold (super 3) He anomaly starting at ca. 8.5 Ma and returning to background values at ca. 6.9 Ma, confirming the global nature of the event. We then analyzed, at 5 cm intervals, bulk-rock samples for sedimentary and environmental proxies such as magnetic susceptibility, calcium carbonate content, total organic carbon, and bulk carbonate delta (super 18) O and delta (super 13) C, through a 21-m-thick section encompassing the (super 3) He anomaly. Available high-resolution sea-surface temperature data (via alkenone analyses) for this site show a temperature decrease starting exactly at the inception of the (super 3) He anomaly. Cyclostratigraphic fast-Fourier-transform spectral analyses of the proxies indicate an age of 8.47 + or - 0.05 Ma for the inception of the (super 3) He anomaly. A search for impact ejecta (analogous to what is present in the late Eocene, where both a (super 3) He anomaly and large-scale impact events are recorded) was not successful. Detailed cyclostratigraphic analyses of our data suggest that the changes in the stable isotope series and environmental proxy series through this late Tortonian time interval had a common forcing agent, and that perturbations of orbitally forced climate cycles are present exactly through the interval with the enhanced influx of extraterrestrial (super 3) He. Thus, the chemostratigraphic evidence for a collisional event that created the Veritas family of asteroids, coinciding with climate perturbations on Earth, suggests yet another form of interaction between Earth and the solar system.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 129
Serial Issue: 9-10
Title: Stratigraphic record of the asteroidal Veritas breakup in the Tortonian Monte dei Corvi section (Ancona, Italy)
Affiliation: Osservatorio Geologico di Coldigioco, Apiro, Italy
Pages: 1357-1376
Published: 20170623
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
Accession Number: 2017-090183
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2017149
S17°01'28" - S17°01'23", E88°10'48" - E88°10'54"
N43°34'60" - N43°35'15", E13°33'30" - E13°34'30"
Secondary Affiliation: California Institute of Technology, USA, United StatesUniversiteit Brussel, BEL, BelgiumCenter for Marine Environmental Science, DEU, GermanyUniversity of Vienna, AUT, Austria
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 201747
Program Name: ODPOcean Drilling Program
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