ASGP (2007), vol. 77: 171-191


Krzysztof BĄK

Institute of Geography, Pedagogical University, Podchorążych 2, 30-084 Kraków, Poland, e-mail: sgbak at

Bąk, K., 2007. Environmental changes during the Cenomanian-Turonian Boundary Event in the Outer Carpathian basins: a synthesis of data from various tectonic-facies units. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 77: 171-191.

Abstract: The paper summarizes the results of author’s studies on the environmental changes around the Cenomanian-Turonian Boundary Event (CTBE) in the Outer Carpathian basins located close to the northern margin of the Western Tethys, whose sea floor was situated below the calcite compensation depth. The sedimen- tary, biotic and chemical records allowed to recognize the successions related to the oceanic anoxic event (OAE-2) and trace changes around this event sediments within the frame of the stable carbon isotope excursion and biostratigraphic datum events. The changes so traced included changes in: type of deep-water sedimentation, accumulation rate, productivity, oxygenation of bottom water and benthic foraminiferal assemblages.
Correlation of the palaeoenvironmental changes with the carbon isotope curve and biostratigraphic datum events allowed the comparisons between the various sedimentary areas in the Outer Carpathians, and with other areas of the Western Tethys. Most of the interpreted events around the CTBE were synchronous in the northern branch of the Western Tethys that extended to the Umbria-Marche and Sicily carbonate platforms. These events included: (1) an increase in productivity before the interval with the highest shift in d13C values, (2) the main interval of organic-rich sedimentation (Bonarelli level), (3) a rapid change to oxygenated sediments near the Cenomanian-Turonian (C-T) boundary and continued during the Early Turonian, (4) fluctuations in oxygen content in bottom waters with short intervals of anoxia during the earliest Turonian, (5) deposition of a thick bentonite layer, near the start of the d13C excursion, roughly synchronous with the phase of a positive shift in Pb isotopic compositions in the silicate sediment fraction in one of the Umbria-Marche sections, (6) an interval of extremely low hemipelagic sedimentation with hiatuses near the base of the C-T boundary and during the earliest Turonian, correlated with the maximum rise of the sea level.
The presented data from the Outer Carpathians suggest that the OAE-2 could be triggered by enhanced productivity; however, subaerial volcanic eruptions, accompanied by hydrothermal activity and formation of large igneous provinces could also be a factor which enriched the ocean-atmosphere system in CO2. Sluggish deep- water circulation, probably deteriorating through the Late Cenomanian, favoured preservation of organic matter during the latest Cenomanian. The mechanism of rapid oxygenation of bottom waters near the C-T boundary was related to recurrent inflows of (?)saline warm and oxygenated waters.