Bridging the Faraoni and Selli oceanic anoxic events: short and repetitive dys- and anaerobic episodes during the late Hauterivian to early Aptian in the central Tethys
1Institut de Géologie et Paléontologie, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
2Institut de Géologie et Hydrogéologie, Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
3Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Geophysik, Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany
4Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité, Vandoeuvre-Les-Nancy, France
5Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
6Institut de Minéralogie et Géochimie, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
*current address: Departement für Erdwissenschaften, ETH, Zürich, Switzerland
**current address: Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Abstract. A detailed stratigraphical and geochemical analysis was performed on the upper part of the Maiolica Formation outcropping in the Breggia (southern Switzerland) and Capriolo sections (northern Italy). In these localities, the Maiolica Formation consists of well-bedded, partly siliceous, pelagic, micritic carbonate, which lodges numerous thin, dark and organic-rich layers. Stable-isotope, phosphorus, organic-carbon and a suite of redox-sensitive trace-metal contents (RSTE: Mo, U, Co, V and As) were measured. Higher densities of organic-rich layers were identified in the uppermost Hauterivian, lower Barremian and the Barremian-Aptian boundary intervals, whereas the upper Barremian interval and the interval immediately following the Barremian-Aptian boundary interval are characterized by lower densities of organic-rich layers. TOC contents, RSTE pattern and Corg:Ptot ratios indicate that most layers were deposited under dysaerobic rather than anaerobic conditions and that latter conditions were likely restricted to short intervals in the latest Hauterivian, the early Barremian and the pre-Selli early Aptian.
Correlations are possible with organic-rich intervals in central Italy (the Gorgo a Cerbara section) and the Boreal northwest German Basin, and with the facies and drowning pattern in the evolution of the Helvetic segment of the northern Tethyan carbonate platform. Our data and correlations suggest that the latest Hauterivian witnessed the progressive installation of dysaerobic conditions in the Tethys, which went along with the onset in sediment condensation, phosphogenesis and platform drowning on the northern Tethyan margin, and which culminated in the Faraoni anoxic episode. This brief episode is followed by further episodes of dysaerobic conditions in the Tethys and the northwest German Basin, which became more frequent and progressively stronger in the late early Barremian. Platform drowning persisted and did not halt before the latest early Barremian. The late Barremian witnessed diminishing frequencies and intensities in dysaerobic conditions, which went along with the progressive installation of the Urgonian carbonate platform. Near the Barremian-Aptian boundary, the increasing density in dysaerobic episodes in the Tethyan and northwest German Basins is paralleled by a change towards heterozoan carbonate production on the northern Tethyan shelf. The following return to more oxygenated conditions is correlated with the second phase of Urgonian platform growth and the period immediately preceding and corresponding to the Selli anoxic episode is characterized by renewed platform drowning and the change to heterozoan carbonate production. Changes towards more humid climate conditions were likely the cause for the repetitive installation of dys- to anaerobic conditions in the Tethyan and Boreal basins and the accompanying changes in the evolution of the carbonate platform towards heterozoan carbonate-producing ecosystems and platform drowning.