Muds deposited in large-scale epicontinental seaways provide deep insights into palaeoclimates, biogeochemical cycles, sedimentation processes, and organic carbon burial during exceptionally warm periods throughout the Phanerozoic. Temporal changes can be monitored at single locations but the key, larger-scale oceanographical and related biogeochemical processes are likely to be more clearly revealed by comparisons between individual sub-basins within seaways. Here, we compare inorganic geochemical records from the Jurassic (upper Pectinatites wheatleyensis to lower Pectinatites pectinatus ammonite zones) of the Swanworth Quarry 1 Core from the Wessex Basin (Dorset, UK) to time-equivalent records from the Ebberston 87 Core in the Cleveland Basin (Yorkshire, UK), 400 km apart. Our synthesis shows that while the Dorset sediments were deposited in an energetically more dynamic setting than the Yorkshire sediments, the overarching climatic and oceanographical processes responsible for variations in organic carbon enrichment and sedimentation, were similar. Intervals of coeval organic carbon-rich sedimentation occurred in both basins, and a particulate shuttle was intermittently active in both basins. Consistent with recent climate simulations, we conclude that tropical climate conditions, associated with enhanced nutrient supply, were key drivers of sedimentation between the Jurassic Wessex and Cleveland Basins.
Scientific editing by Yanni Gunnell