Continental weathering as a driver of Late Cretaceous cooling: new insights from clay mineralogy of Campanian sediments from the southern Tethyan margin to the Boreal realm

Elise Chenot, Jean François Deconinck, Emmanuelle Pucéat, Pierre Pellenard, Michel Guiraud, Maxime Jaubert, Ian Jarvis, Nicolas Thibault, Théophile Cocquerez, Ludovic Bruneau, Mohammad J. Razmjooei, Myriam Boussaha, James Richard, Jean Pierre Sizun, Lars Stemmerik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

New clay mineralogical analyses have been performed on Campanian sediments from the Tethyan and Boreal realms along a palaeolatitudinal transect from 45° to 20°N (Danish Basin, North Sea, Paris Basin, Mons Basin, Aquitaine Basin, Umbria-Marche Basin and Tunisian Atlas). Significant terrigenous inputs are evidenced by increasing proportions of detrital clay minerals such as illite, kaolinite and chlorite at various levels in the mid- to upper Campanian, while smectitic minerals predominate and represented the background of the Late Cretaceous clay sedimentation. Our new results highlight a distinct latitudinal distribution of clay minerals, with the occurrence of kaolinite in southern sections and an almost total absence of this mineral in northern areas. This latitudinal trend points to an at least partial climatic control on clay mineral sedimentation, with a humid zone developed between 20° and 35°N. The association and co-evolution of illite, chlorite and kaolinite in most sections suggest a reworking of these minerals from basement rocks weathered by hydrolysis, which we link to the formation of relief around the Tethys due to compression associated with incipient Tethyan closure. Diachronism in the occurrence of detrital minerals between sections, with detrital input starting earlier during the Santonian in the south than in the north, highlights the northward progression of the deformation related to the anticlockwise rotation of Africa. Increasing continental weathering and erosion, evidenced by our clay mineralogical data through the Campanian, may have resulted in enhanced CO2 consumption by silicate weathering, thereby contributing to Late Cretaceous climatic cooling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-312
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Campanian
  • Carbon isotope stratigraphy
  • Clay minerals
  • Climatic belt
  • Continental weathering
  • Late Cretaceous cooling

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources

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