The early to mid-Aptian was punctuated by episodic phases of organic-carbon burial in various oceanographic settings, which are possibly related to massive volcanism associated with the emplacement of the Ontong Java, Manihiki, and Hikurangi oceanic plateaus in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, inferred to have formed a single plateau called Ontong Java Nui. Sedimentary osmium (Os) isotopic compositions are one of the best proxies for determining the timing of voluminous submarine volcanic episodes. However, available Os isotopic records during the age are limited to a narrow interval in the earliest Aptian, which is insufficient for the reconstruction of long-term hydrothermal activity. We document the early to mid-Aptian Os isotopic record using pelagic Tethyan sediments deposited in the Poggio le Guaine (Umbria-Marche Basin, Italy) to precisely constrain the timing of massive volcanic episodes and to assess their impact on the marine environment. Our new Os isotopic data reveal three shifts to unradiogenic values, two of which correspond to black shale horizons in the lower to mid-Aptian, namely the Wezel (herein named) and Fallot Levels. These Os isotopic excursions are ascribed to massive inputs of unradiogenic Os to the ocean through hydrothermal activity. Combining the new Os isotopic record with published data from the lowermost Aptian organic-rich interval in the Gorgo a Cerbara section of the Umbria-Marche Basin, it can be inferred that Ontong Java Nui volcanic eruptions persisted for ∼5 m.y. during the early to mid-Aptian.

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