Tethyan magnetostratigraphy from Pizzo Mondello (Sicily) and correlation to the Late Triassic Newark astrochronological polarity time scale

Muttoni, Giovanni; Kent, Dennis V.; Olsen, Paul E.; Di Stefano, Piero; Lowrie, William; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Hernandez, Fatima Martin

We present the magnetostratigraphy and stable isotope stratigraphy from an expanded (∼430-m-thick) Upper Triassic marine limestone section at Pizzo Mondello, Sicily, and review published biostratigraphic information that can be used to define the location of the conodont Carnian-Norian and Norian-Rhaetian boundaries in this section. Pizzo Mondello offers good potential for magneto-stratigraphic correlation of marine biostratigraphic and chemostratigraphic data with the continental Newark astrochronological polarity time scale (APTS) for development of an integrated Late Triassic time scale. The relatively stable average values of δ18O centered on 0‰ are a strong indication that the Cherty Limestone at Pizzo Mondello suffered very little diagenetic overprinting. The conodont Carnian-Norian boundary is located 12.5 m above a positive shift of δ13C. A statistical approach was applied to evaluate various Pizzo Mondello to Newark magnetostratigraphic correlations. Two correlation options have the highest correlation coefficients. In option #1, the base of Pizzo Mondello correlates with the middle part of the Newark APTS, whereas in option #2, the base of Pizzo Mondello starts toward the early part of the Newark APTS. We prefer option #2 in which the Carnian-Norian boundary based on conodonts, as well as its closely associated positive δ13C shift, correspond to Newark magnetozone E7 at ca. 228–227 Ma (adopting Newark astrochronology), implying a long Norian with a duration of ∼20 m.y., and a Rhaetian of ∼6 m.y. duration. These ages are in fact not inconsistent with the few high-quality radiometric dates that are available for Late Triassic time scale calibration. Based on its good exposure, accessibility, stratigraphic thickness and continuity, and multiple chronostratigraphic correlation possibilities, we propose Pizzo Mondello as global stratigraphic section and point for the base of the Norian.

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Geological Society of America Bulletin

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
January 18, 2012