Abstract

The Umbrian sequence of pelagic carbonate rocks provides an opportunity for precise correlation between Paleogene biostratigraphy and geomagnetic polarity history. The red-to-pink, Paleocene to middle Eocene Scaglia Rossa limestone, the varicolored upper Eocene Scaglia Variegata limestone, and the gray-green Oligocene Scaglia Cinerea marlstone form a 250-m-thick, continuous exposure in the Contessa Valley near Gubbio, Italy. Magnetostratigraphic, lithostratigraphic, and biostratigraphic investigations in three sections covering the entire Paleogene have confirmed and dated the geomagnetic reversal sequence for most of this period. The ferromagnetic mineral in the Scaglia Cinerea is magnetite and AF demagnetization to peak fields of 20 mT is sufficient to define the characteristic remanent magnetization. The Scaglia Variegata and pink Scaglia Rossa samples contain an additional hematite component which is very pronounced in dark red Paleocene Scaglia Rossa samples. Changes of magnetic mineralogy take place in these limestones during heating, especially above 500 °C. However, thermal demagnetization is effective in isolating the characteristic remanence vectors, which form almost antipodal clusters of directions representing normal and reversed polarities. The directions are rotated counterclockwise, partly due to post-Oligocene tectonism. Paleontological zonations of planktic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils were hampered by poor preservation, but the major epoch and stage 29, as in the Gubbio Bottaccione section; Paleocene-Eocene, just above anomaly 25; Eocene-Oligocene, between anomalies 13 and 15; Oligocene-Miocene, just below anomaly 6C. These correlations require slight modifications to previous conclusions on Paleogene sea-floor spreading rates.

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