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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / The Zemst borehole, first record of the EECO in the North Sea Basin and implications for Belgian Ypresian-Lutetian stratigraphy

Etienne Steurbaut, Chris King, Johan Matthijs, Corentin Noiret, Johan Yans and Stefaan Van Simaeys (2015)

The Zemst borehole, first record of the EECO in the North Sea Basin and implications for Belgian Ypresian-Lutetian stratigraphy

Geologica Belgica, 18(2-4):147-159.

Integration of new data in sedimentology, micropalaeontology and organic carbon isotope analysis of upper Ypresian strata in central Belgium (Zemst hole) enables differentiation of a series of biotic events and carbon isotope trends, which are believed to be associated with the 1.5-million-year-long period of global warming, known as the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO). The relatively low values in δ13Corg (-26.5‰ to -27.1‰) in the interval from the Panisel Sand to the Merelbeke Clay Members (upper NP12-lower NP13) are shown to be coinciding with a fairly high frequency in Apectodinium (>3%, up to 14%) and a Discoaster-bloom (16%-50%, essentially D. kuepperi). This is quite analogous, although less prominent, to what has been observed during the Paleocene- Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM: Apectodinium abundance of 75% at middle and high latitudes and Discoaster blooms in tropical areas). The abrupt positive shift of up to 1‰ in δ13Corg values at the base of the overlying Pittem Clay Member (mid-NP13, mid-chron C22r), which is coincident with the virtual disappearances of Apectodinium (<0.1%) and Discoaster (<0.5%) seems to mark the end of the EECO in the southern North Sea Basin. The Zemst data allow the identification of the NP12/NP13 boundary, virtually coinciding with chron C23n/C22r boundary, at the depositional break between the Panisel Sand Member and the overlying Kwatrecht Member. The new data also allow to substantially refine the calcareous nannofossil stratigraphy during Biochron NP15 (mid-Lutetian) at middle latitudes. This is corroborated by additional data from Belgium, which furthermore reveal that the primary criterion for identifying the base of the Lutetian (LO of Blackites inflatus), as adopted in the Gorrondatxe GSSP (Spain), cannot be applied in the North Sea Basin s.s. (excluding the Paris Basin) and that there is an urgent need for defining appropriate substitutes for this boundary at these latitudes.
RBINS Publication(s), Peer Review, Open Access, Impact Factor, RBINS Collection(s)
belgium, Paleontology, Geology
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