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Carme Boixa, Gianluca Frijiaa, Vicent Vicedoc, Josep M. Bernausd, Matteo Di Luciab, Esmeralda Causc, Mariano Parentee

Larger foraminifera distribution and strontium isotope stratigraphy of the La Cova

limestones (ConiacianeSantonian, “Serra del Montsec”, Pyrenees, NE Spain)

  1. Badley Ashton & Associates Ltd, Horcastle, United Kingdom
  2. Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften, Universität Potsdam, Germany
  3. Departament de Geologia (Paleontologia), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
  4. StatoilHydro ASA, Stavanger, Norway
  5. Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy

Cretaceous Research 32 (2011) 806e822



The Upper Cretaceous La Cova limestones (southern Pyrenees, Spain) host a rich and diverse larger

foraminiferal fauna, which represents the first diversification of K-strategists after the mass extinction at the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary.

The stratigraphic distribution of the main taxa of larger foraminifera defines two assemblages. The first assemblage is characterised by the first appearance of lacazinids (Pseudolacazina loeblichi) and meandropsinids (Eofallotia simplex), by the large agglutinated Montsechiana montsechiensis, and by several species of complex rotalids (Rotorbinella campaniola, Iberorotalia reicheli, Orbitokhatina wondersmitti and Calcarinella schaubi). The second assemblage is defined by the appearance of Lacazina pyrenaica, Palandrosina taxyae and Martiguesia cyclamminiformis.

A late Coniacian-early Santonian age was so far accepted for the La Cova limestones, based on indirect correlation with deep-water facies bearing planktic foraminifers of the Dicarinella concavata zone.

Strontium isotope stratigraphy, based on many samples of pristine biotic calcite of rudists and ostreids, indicates that the La Cova limestones span from the early Coniacian to the early-middle Santonian boundary. The first assemblage of larger foraminifera appears very close to the early-middle Coniacian boundary and reaches its full diversity by the middle Coniacian. The originations defining the second assemblage are dated as earliest Santonian: they represent important bioevents to define the Coniacian-Santonian boundary in the shallow-water facies of the South Pyrenean province.

By means of the calibration of strontium isotope stratigraphy to the Geological Time Scale, the larger foraminiferal assemblages of the La Cova limestones can be correlated to the standard biozonal scheme of ammonites, planktonic foraminifers and calcareous nannoplankton. This correlation is a first step toward a larger foraminifera standard biozonation for Upper Cretaceous carbonate platform facies.