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Palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental variations in the Callovian, Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian (Jurassic) of Britain.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 09:03 authored by Ann Cerys. Williams
Carbon and oxygen stable isotope analyses have been performed on well preserved calcareous fossils from Callovian, Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian (Jurassic) mudrock facies of Britain. Assemblages of ammonites, bivalves and belemnites have been sampled from the Lower Oxford Clay of the English Midlands, the Kimmeridge Clay of Wiltshire and the Dorset coast, and the Staffin Shale Formation of Skye. In this way it was hoped to cover a wide stratigraphic and geographic range. Carbon isotope stratigraphy reveals a positive excursion in the Callovian, which is interpreted as an oceanic anoxic event. On the basis of palaeontological and sedimentological evidence, the Callovian has long been viewed as a time of oxygen deficiency. These views are supported by this, the first detailed isotopic study of the stage. A comparison of the 613 C values of the ammonites and infaunal bivalves reveals a major anomaly, in that the latter show very positive values. Tentative suggestions are put forward to account for this. Oxygen isotope (and hence palaeotemperature) stratigraphy reveals a cooling through the Upper Callovian and Oxfordian, consistant with the "Boreal spread" of Arkell (1956), with a warming into the Lower Kimmeridgian. Palaeotemperature variations within individual assemblages raise important questions about palaeoecology. On the basis of this data, it appears that bivalves previously considered to be nekto - or pseudoplanktonic did not occupy the upper reaches of the water column. Suggestions have been made that ammonites were benthic rather than nektonic, but the evidence presented here implies that this was not the case. Relative to the rest of the assemblage, belemnite temperatures tend to be low, highlighting their migratory nature. Boreal ammonites are found to precipitate their shells in cooler waters than those from the Tethyan Realm. The significance of this, and other factors, in terms of controls on provinciality are discussed.


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University of Leicester

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD



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