Benthic foraminiferal successions across Late Quaternary Mediterranean sapropels

Research areas:
Year:
1999
Authors:
Journal:
Marine Geology
Volume:
153
Number:
1-4
Pages:
91-101
BibTex:
Note:
cited By 114
Abstract:
Benthic foraminiferal records across Late Quaternary Mediterranean sapropels S6, S5 and S1 are reviewed and re-considered in the light of recent advances in foraminiferal ecology. It is suggested that the main factor controlling the foraminiferal successions that occur immediately before and after sapropel deposition is the amount of time involved in the onset of anoxic conditions and in the re-oxygenation of the benthic environment. Faunas dominated by deep infaunal taxa such as Globobulimina and Chilostomella reflect a very gradual decrease or increase of bottom water oxygenation. Post-sapropel faunas dominated by small biconvex, trochospiral taxa, which are inferred to have a much more opportunistic life strategy, are typical of a very rapid re-oxygenation of the benthic environment after sapropel deposition. The time involved in re-oxygenation depends upon the mechanism causing Sapropel formation. The faunal succession found above sapropel S5 suggests a basin with a strong density gradient in the upper part of the water column during sapropel deposition, followed by a rapid turnover of the following column and quick re-oxygenation of the benthic environment. In contrast, the faunal succession above sapropel S6 suggests a water column with a more gradual density gradient deeper in the basin, a progressive deepening of the halocline, and a very slow increase of bottom water oxygenation.