Late Maastrichtian and K/T paleoenvironment of the eastern Tethys (Israel): Mineralogy, trace and platinum group elements, biostratigraphy and faunal turnovers

Thierry Adatte, Gerta Keller, Doris Stüben, Markus Harting, Utz Kramar, Wolfgang Stinnesbeck, Sigal Abramovich, Chaim Benjamini

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22 Scopus citations


The late Maastrichtian to early Danian at Mishor Rotem, Israel, was examined based on geochemistry, bulk rock and clay mineralogies, biostratigraphy and lithology. This section contains four red clay layers of suspect impact or volcanic origin interbedded in chalk and marly chalks. PGE anomalies indicate that only the K/T boundary red layer has an Ir dominated PGE anomaly indicative of an impact source. The late Maastrichtian red clays have Pd dominated PGE anomalies which coincide with increased trace elements of terrigenous and volcanogenic origins. Deccan or Syrian-Turkey arc volcanism is the likely source of volcanism in these clay layers. Glauconite, goethite and translucent amber spherules are present in the clay layers, but the Si-rich spherules reported by Rosenfeld et al. [1989] could not be confirmed. The absence of Cheto smectite indicates that no altered impact glass has been present. The red layers represent condensed sedimentation on topographic highs during sea level highstands. In the Negev area, during the late Maastrichtian, the climate ranged from seasonally wet to more arid conditions during zones CF3 and CF2, with more humid wet conditions in the latest Maastrichtian zone CF1 and in the early Danian, probably linked to greenhouse conditions. Planktic foraminifera experienced relatively high stress conditions during this time as indicated by the low species richness and low abundance of globotruncanids. Times of intensified stress are indicated by the disaster opportunist Guembelitria blooms, which can be correlated to central Egypt and also to Indian Ocean localities associated with mantle plume volcanism. Marine plankton thus support the mineralogical and geochemical observations of volcanic influx and reveal the detrimental biotic effects of intense volcanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-55
Number of pages19
JournalBulletin de la Societe Geologique de France
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Biostratigraphy
  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Clay mineralogy
  • Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary
  • Impact
  • Iridium
  • Israel
  • Paleoclimate and sea-level fluctuations
  • Volcanism


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