Some patterns of planktic foraminiferal assemblage turnover at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

Steven D'Hondt, Gerta Keller

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Three uppermost Cretaceous through basal Paleocene stratigraphic sequences are examined for planktic foraminiferal assemblage stability and temporal succession patterns. These sequences are at mid-latitude South Atlantic DSDP Site 528, then-equatorial Pacific DSDP Site 577 and the Tethyan shelf Ben Gurion section of the Negev, Israel. In order to better estimate biogeographic patterns and habitat preferences, the results of these analyses are compared to previous Cretaceous biogeographic studies and to previous analyses of Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary shelf and epicontinental sections. Results indicate that immediately following the K/T boundary, the examined epicontinental and open-ocean sites were exploited primarily by previously epicontinental planktic foraminiferal assemblages. This pattern of K/T boundary assemblage dominance suggests the geologically instantaneous break-down of Late Cretaceous epicontinental and open-ocean biogeographic provincialization. This shift in open-ocean foraminiferal assemblages is not consistent with models of non-selective K/T boundary extinctions, but is consistent with models of extinction resistence and offshore expansion of near-shore taxa. The re-establishment of stable biogeographic differences between open-ocean and epicontinental planktic foraminiferal assemblages occurs by the basalParvularugoglobigerina eugubina Zone. At open-ocean sites 528 and 577 and the outer-shelf Ben Gurion section, PO andP. eugubina Zone faunal records are marked by a pronounced alternation between Paleocene biserial- and non-biserial-dominated assemblages. This alternation appears strongly damped at shelf and epicontinental sections previously examined. The first appearance and peak magnitude of abundant earliest Paleocene trochospiral forms (Parvularugoglobigerina, Eoglobigerina, Morozovella, Globoconusa) also vary from site to site and may depend closely on levels of primary carbonate productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-118
Number of pages42
JournalMarine Micropaleontology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology


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