Abstract

In order to precise the paleogeographic extension of the climatic variation known at the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, the sedimentary organic matter (palynofacies and Rock-Eval) and the clay minerals content of Berriasian sediments of the Sidi Kralif Formation are studied on the Jebel Meloussi section, central Tunisia. Standard sedimentological and palynofacies analysis allow to reconstruct the bathymetric curve and the sequence stratigraphic scheme. Using existing biostratigraphy based on calpionellids and ammonite zonation, the sequence stratigraphic interpretation can be correlated with the established eustatic chart. Clay mineral assemblages are characterized by a shift in the kaolinite content, recorded at the end of the calpionellid zone B, at the early/middle Berriasian boundary, at a time of high long-term sea-level (MFS Be2, second order eustatic peak). A contemporary change in the clay mineral assemblages, interpreted as a climatic change, is known from the boreal area, and from the northern margin of the Tethys Sea. That change is also documented southerly in southern Morocco (Agadir area), on the Atlantic domain. A late Tithonian to early Berriasian dry and cooler phase is replaced by a middle to late Berriasian more humid phase, indicated by a general increase in kaolinite in the clay mineral assemblages. The trend from a dry climatic phase to a more humid one, recorded on the boreal domain and along the northern margin of the Tethys is also recorded in lower paleolatitudes of Tunisia, on the southern margin of the Tethys, in better dated outcrops than the ones of Morocco. The results obtained in Tunisia show that the beginning of the climatic change was precisely synchronous on both margins, and occurred within the same long-term high sea-level context.

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