Abstract

A thick, apparently continuous section recording events of the latest Paleocene thermal maximum in a neritic setting was drilled at Bass River State Forest, New Jersey as part of ODP Leg 174AX [Miller, Sugarman, Browning et al., 1998]. Integrated nannofossil and magneto-stratigraphy provides a firm chronology supplemented by planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy. This chronologic study indicates that this neritic section rivals the best deep-sea sections in providing a complete record of late Paleocene climatic events. Carbon and oxygen isotopes measured on benthic foraminifera show a major (4.0% in carbon, 2.3% in oxygen) negative shift correlative with the global latest Paleocene carbon isotope excursion (CIE). A sharp increase in kaolinite content coincides with the isotope shift in the Bass River section, analogous to increases found in several other records. Carbon and oxygen isotopes remain low and kaolinite content remains high for the remainder of the depositional sequence above the CIE (32.5 ft, 9.9 m), which we estimate to represent 300-500 k.y. We interpret these data as indicative of an abrupt shift to a warmer and wetter climate along the North American mid-Atlantic coast, in concert with global events associated with the CIE.

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