Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum environmental change in the New Jersey Coastal Plain; benthic foraminiferal biotic events

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doi: 10.1016/j.marmicro.2014.12.001
Author(s): Stassen, Peter; Thomas, Ellen
Author Affiliation(s): Primary:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Leuven, Belgium
Yale University, United States
Volume Title: Marine Micropaleontology
Volume Author(s): Speijer, Robert P.
Source: Marine Micropaleontology, Vol.115, p.1-23. Publisher: Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands. ISSN: 0377-8398 CODEN: MAMIDH
Note: In English. Includes appendix; NSF grant OCE-0902959. 112 refs.; illus., incl. strat. cols., 3 plates, 2 tables, geol. sketch map
Summary: The environmental impact of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) has been intensively studied in the New Jersey Coastal Plain, but the benthic foraminiferal response, reflecting bottom water conditions, has not been documented at high resolution. We use benthic foraminiferal data across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in cores from Wilson Lake (WL) and Bass River (BR) to recognize 5 foraminiferal associations (based on species clusters). Their varying abundances allow the identification of a stratigraphic succession of 8 distinct biofacies across the studied interval. Uppermost Paleocene biofacies 1 corresponds to the glauconitic sands of the Vincentown Formation and contains rare, small planktic foraminifera and a diverse benthic fauna. Sediments accumulated slowly in a sufficiently oxygenated, outer neritic setting (depth: 100-110 m at WL, 140-150 m at BR) under fairly oligotrophic conditions. The embayment was storm-dominated and influenced by strong currents, inhibiting deposition of suspended fine particles (e.g., planktic foraminifera, clay) and enhancing re-suspension. No significant pre-PETM environmental changes are detected in the benthic foraminiferal assemblages. Deposition of the fine-grained silty clays of the Marlboro Clay started at the onset of the PETM, with transitional lithology present at Wilson Lake. Gavelinella beccariiformis, common at deep shelfal to bathyal-abyssal depths, is the only taxon to become extinct at this level. Water depth increased during the PETM to a maximum of 130-150 m at WL. Planktic foraminifera increased strongly in abundance, while the benthic foraminiferal assemblage changed to a more opportunistic, less diverse assemblage dominated by stress-tolerant taxa (Tappanina selmensis, Pulsiphonina prima and Anomalinoides acutus, biofacies 2). Increased riverine influence may have reduced vertical mixing, initiating stratification of the water column, and establishment of a continuously dysoxic mud belt. Benthic diversity then gradually increased, indicating environmental recovery (biofacies 3 and 4; 40-95 kyr post PETM-onset). Riverine influence probably became more variable, generating peak abundances of specialized taxa in a mud belt system with increased accumulation rates. The latest PETM biofacies 5 (> 95 kyr post-onset) contains a poorly diverse Bulimina callahani assemblage, indicative of reoxygenated, but still eutrophic bottom water conditions, with renewed vertical mixing. The lower Eocene glauconitic sandy clays of the Manasquan Formation contain an outer neritic benthic fauna (biofacies 6-8, depth: 100-135 m at WL) indicative of persistent high primary production, with return of more vigorous currents. Higher abundances of buliminids may have been triggered by upwelling along frontal zones. Our environmental interpretations indicate relatively stable benthic foraminiferal ecosystems at persistently outer neritic water depths (100-150 m), despite distinct temporary changes during the PETM, including eustatic sea-level rise of up to ∼ 30 m, and widespread establishment of dysoxic conditions. Abstract Copyright (2015) Elsevier, B.V.
Year of Publication: 2015
Research Program: ODP Ocean Drilling Program
Key Words: 12 Stratigraphy, Historical Geology and Paleoecology; Assemblages; Atlantic Coastal Plain; Bass River; Benthic taxa; Biofacies; Burlington County New Jersey; Cenozoic; Central Atlantic Coastal Plain; Cores; Correspondence analysis; Eh; Fluvial environment; Foraminifera; Gloucester County New Jersey; Invertebrata; Lacustrine environment; Lake sediments; Leg 174AX; Lithostratigraphy; Marlboro Clay; Microfossils; Morphology; New Jersey; Ocean Drilling Program; Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum; Paleoecology; Paleoenvironment; Paleogene; Protista; Quantitative analysis; Sediments; Sequence stratigraphy; Statistical analysis; Stream sediments; Taphonomy; Tertiary; Tests; United States; Vincentown Formation; Wilson Lake
Coordinates: N393600 N394000 W0743600 W0750300
Record ID: 2015071058
Copyright Information: GeoRef, Copyright 2019 American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from CAPCAS, Elsevier Scientific Publishers, Amsterdam, Netherlands