New drilling of the early Aptian OAE1a: The Cau core (Prebetic Zone, south-eastern Spain)

Pedro Alejandro Ruiz-Ortiz*, José Manuel Castro, Ginés Alfonso de Gea, Ian Jarvis, José Miguel Molina, Luis Miguel Nieto, Richard David Pancost, María Luisa Quijano, Matías Reolid, Peter William Skelton, Helmut Jürg Weissert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
300 Downloads (Pure)


The Cretaceous was punctuated by several episodes of accelerated global change, defined as Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAEs), that reflect abrupt changes in global carbon cycling. The Aptian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE1a; 120 Ma) represents an excellent example, recorded in all major ocean basins, and associated with massive burial of organic matter in marine sediments. The OAE1a is concomitant with the "nannoconid crisis", which is characterized by a major biotic turnover, and a widespread demise of carbonate platforms. Many studies have been published over the last decades on OAE1a's from different sections in the world, and provide a detailed C-isotope stratigraphy for the event. Nevertheless, new high-resolution studies across the event are essential to shed light on the precise timing and rates of the multiple environmental and biotic changes that occurred during this critical period of Earth history. Here we present a new drill core recovering an Aptian section spanning the OAE1a in southern Spain. The so-called Cau section was drilled in the last quarter of 2015. The Cau section is located in the easternmost part of the Prebetic Zone (Betic Cordillera), which represents platform deposits of the southern Iberian palaeomargin. The lower Aptian deposits of the Cau section belong to a hemipelagic unit (Almadich Formation), deposited in a highly subsident sector of the distal parts of the Prebetic Platform. Previous work on the early Aptian of the Cau succession has focused on stratigraphy, bioevents, C-isotope stratigraphy, and organic and elemental geochemistry. A more recent study based on biomarkers has presented a detailed record of the pCO2 evolution across the OAE1a (Naafs et al., 2016). All these studies reveal that the Cau section represents an excellent site to further investigate the OAE1a, based on its unusually high sedimentation rate and stratigraphic continuity, the quality and preservation of fossils, and the well-expressed geochemical signatures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalScientific Drilling
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2016


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