Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Florentin Maurrasse

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Martin Quirke

Third Advisor's Name

Rosemary Hickey-Vargas

Fourth Advisor's Name

Laurel Collins

Fifth Advisor's Name

William Anderson Jr.


Cretaceous, Anoxic Events, OAE-1a, Stratigraphy, Aptian, Geochemistry, Chemostratigraphy

Date of Defense



An important episode of carbon sequestration, Oceanic Anoxic Event 1a (OAE-1a), characterizes the Lower Aptian worldwide, and is mostly known from deeper-water settings. The present work of two Lower Aptian deposits, Madotz (N Spain) and Curití Quarry (Colombia), is a multiproxy study that includes fossil assemblages, microfacies, X-ray diffraction bulk and clay mineralogy, elemental analyses (major, minor, trace elements), Rock-Eval pyrolysis, biomarkers, inorganic and organic carbon content, and stable carbon isotopes. The results provide baseline evidence of the local and global controlling environmental factors influencing OAE-1a in shallow-water settings. The data also improve our general understanding of the conditions under which organic-carbon-rich deposits accumulate.

The sequence at Madotz includes four intervals (Unit 1; Subunits 2a, 2b and 2c) that overlap the times prior to, during and after the occurrence of OAE-1a. The Lower Unit 1(3m thick) is essentially siliciclastic, and Subunit 2a (20m) contains Urgonian carbonate facies that document abruptly changing platform conditions prior to OAE-1a. Subunit 2b (24.4 m) is a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic facies with orbitolinid-rich levels that coincides with OAE-1a δ13C stages C4-C6, and is coeval with the upper part of the Deshayesites forbesi ammonite zone. Levels with pyrite and the highest TOC values (0.4-0.97%), interpreted as accumulating under suboxic conditions, and are restricted to δ13C stages C4 and C5. The best development of the suboxic facies is at the level representing the peak of the transgression. Subunit 2c, within δ13C stage C7, shows a return of the Urgonian facies.

The 23.35-m section at Curití includes a 6.3-m interval at the base of the Paja Formation dominated by organic-rich marlstones and shales lacking benthic fossils and bioturbation, with TOC values as high as 8.84%. The interval overlies a level containing reworked and phosphatized assemblages of middle Barremian to lowest Aptian ammonites. The range of values and the overall pattern of the δ13Corg (-22.05‰ to -20.47‰) in the 6.3m-interval is comparable with Lower Aptian δ13C stage C7. Thus, conditions of oxygen depletion at this site also occurred after Oceanic Anoxic Event-1a, which developed between carbon isotope stages C3 and C6. Both sites, Madotz and Curití, attest to the importance of terrigenous and nutrient fluxes in increasing OM productivity that led to episodic oxygen deficiency.



Files over 15MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save as..."



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).