Abrupt and massive influx of terrestrial biomarkers into the marine environment at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, Caravaca, Spain

Tetsuya Arinobu, Ryoshi Ishiwatari, Kunio Kaiho, Marcos A. Lamolda, Hiroshi Seno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary ca. 65 million years ago caused a major change in the nature and abundance of global life in Earth history. We present the first vertical high-resolution records of molecular distributions of n-fatty acids across the K/T boundary at Caravaca (Spain). The results reveal that the first basal thin horizon (0 to + 0.5 cm; 0 = K/T boundary) of the K/T boundary-clay layer showed as much as a ∼35-fold increase in concentrations of terrestrial long-chain n-fatty acids (≥ C 20), representative of an eight-fold increase in mass accumulation rate, compared with the subjacent Cretaceous layers. Thereafter concentrations rapidly declined back to almost pre-boundary values within + 3 cm above the K/T boundary. The abrupt increase in supply of terrestrial organic matter into the marine environment at the K/T boundary could have been caused by an enhanced riverine flux, probably due to heavy rains associated with global warming, combined with enhanced fragments of terrestrial higher-plants withered by acid rain and/or by temporal darkness and cooling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-116
Number of pages9
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume224
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Aug 15

Keywords

  • Biomarker
  • Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary
  • Fatty acid
  • Terrestrial influx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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