The Koshak section of the Mangyshlack Peninsula, Kazakhstan, is one of the most complete Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) transitions known from the boreal Paratethys. Cretaceous species richness is low (11 to 13 species), except for a peak of 20 species near the K/T boundary in the uppermost Maastrichtian (top 50 cm) that represents the temporary incursion of low-latitude taxa. This maximum species richness occurred during climatic warming associated with increased humidity, as suggested by clay mineral analyses. Biofacies analysis suggests external platform conditions at this time, followed by a more humid climate, a sea-level transgression, and deepening basinal facies in the lower Danian Subzone P1a. Shallower platform conditions resumed in Danian Subzones P1b and P1c, accompanied by a cooler and probably more arid climate. No abrupt mass extinction occurred at the Koshak K/T boundary which is marked by an Ir anomaly, a clay layer and the first appearance of Tertiary planktic foraminifera. The influx of lower-latitude species ends at or before the K/T boundary, whereas the majority of the indigenous Cretaceous assemblage survived into the Danian. These data suggest that long-term climatic changes may have been the principal factors in the progressive demise of the Cretaceous planktic foraminifera in the eastern boreal Paratethys.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Clay minerals
- K/T boundary
- Planktic foraminifera