The toarcian oceanic anoxic event (Early Jurassic) in the Neuquén Basin, Argentina: A reassessment of age and carbon isotope stratigraphy

Aisha H. Al-Suwaidi, Stephen P. Hesselbo, Susana E. Damborenea, Miguel O. Manceñido, Hugh C. Jenkyns, Alberto C. Riccardi, Gladys N. Angelozzi, François Baudin

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The Toarcian oceanic anoxic event (T-OAE) is recorded by the presence of globally distributed marine organic carbon– rich black shales and a negative carbon isotope shift, with δ13Corg values as low as -33‰, interrupting an overarching positive excursion. Here we present new biostratigraphic data and high-resolution δ13Corg data from two Southern Hemisphere localities: Arroyo Serrucho in the north and Arroyo Lapa in the south of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Previous studies at these localities aimed to provide an accurate numerical age for the T-OAE and characterization of its carbon isotope stratigraphy. The new carbon isotope data and ammonite biostratigraphy presented here from Arroyo Serrucho show the T-OAE to be recorded lower in the section than supposed by previous authors, thus calling into question the published age of the T-OAE in this section. A newly investigated exposure at Arroyo Lapa North shows a complex carbon isotope record with at least three high-amplitude fluctuations in the hoelderi zone (equivalent to the serpentinum zone in northwestern Europe), with δ13Corg values of <-28‰, and two intervening positive isotope excursions, with δ13Corg values around -24‰. At Arroyo Lapa South, the characteristic major stepped negative carbon isotope excursion is recorded, with δ13Corg values of <-30‰ and total organic-carbon contents increasing to 11%; above this level an erosional surface of a submarine channel truncates the section. These new data are globally correlative and unambiguously illustrate the global reach of the T-OAE.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)171-193
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Geology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2016


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