Middle and late Cenomanian oceanic anoxic events in shallow and deeper shelf environments of western Morocco

Brian Gertsch, Thierry Adatte, Gerta Keller, Abdel Aziz A.M. Tantawy, Zsolt Berner, Haydon P. Mort, Dominik Fleitmann

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69 Scopus citations


The response of shallow-water sequences to oceanic anoxic event 2 and mid-Cenomanian events 1a and 1b was investigated along the west African margin of Morocco north of Agadir (Azazoul) and correlated with the deep-water sequence of the Tarfaya Basin (Mohammed Beach) based on biostratigraphy, mineralogy, phosphorus and stable isotopes. In the deeper Mohammed Beach section results show double peaks in δ13Corg for mid-Cenomanian events 1a and 1b (Rotalipora reicheli biozone, lower CC10a biozone), the characteristic oceanic anoxic event 2 δ13C excursion (Rotalipora cushmani extinction, top of CC10a biozone) and laminated (anoxic) black shale. In the shallow environment north of Agadir, a fluctuating sea-level associated with dysoxic, brackish and mesotrophic conditions prevailed during the middle to late Cenomanian, as indicated by oyster biostromes, nannofossils, planktonic and benthonic foraminiferal assemblages. Anoxic conditions characteristic of oceanic anoxic event 2 (for example, laminated black shales) did not reach into shallow-water environments until the maximum transgression of the early Turonian. Climate conditions decoupled along the western margin of Morocco between mid-Cenomanian event 1b and the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary, as also observed in eastern Tethys. North of Agadir alternating humid and dry seasonal conditions prevailed, whereas in the Tarfaya Basin the climate was dry and seasonal. This climatic decoupling can be attributed to variations in the Intertropical Convergence Zone and in the intensity of the north-east trade winds in tropical areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1462
Number of pages33
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


  • Middle Cenomanian event
  • Morocco
  • Oceanic anoxic event 2
  • Palaeoclimate
  • Shallow shelf environments


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