Rhaetian magneto-biostratigraphy from the Southern Alps (Italy): Constraints on Triassic chronology

Muttoni, Giovanni; Kent, Dennis V.; Jadoul, Flavio; Olsen, Paul E.; Rigo, Manuel; Galli, Maria Teresa; Nicora, Alda

New Late Triassic–earliest Jurassic magneto-biostratigraphic data have been obtained from three overlapping sections in the Southern Alps, Italy (Costa Imagna, Brumano, Italcementi Quarry), composed of ~ 520 m of shallow-marine carbonates outcropping in stratigraphic continuity. Characteristic magnetic components of presumed depositional age record a sequence of 9 normal and reverse polarity magnetozones (as defined by at least three stratigraphically superposed samples) linked by conodont and palynofloral evidence from this study and the literature to Rhaetian to Triassic–Jurassic boundary age. This represents a significantly larger number of polarity zones than previously recognized in more condensed Rhaetian sections from the literature, and by inference represents more time. These data are placed in a broader Late Triassic temporal framework by means of correlations to published magneto-biostratigraphic data from the Tethyan marine Pizzo Mondello section and the Newark astronomical polarity time scale (APTS). This framework is consistent with a position of the Norian–Rhaetian boundary (as defined at Brumano and Pizzo Mondello by the first appearance of Misikella posthernsteini) within Newark magnetozones E17r–E19r in the ~ 207–210 Ma time interval, in basic agreement with the position originally estimated in the Newark using pollen biostratigraphy (E18 at 208–209 Ma). This framework is also consistent with the position of the Triassic–Jurassic boundary interval (placed at Italcementi Quarry at the acme of Kraeuselisporites reissingeri coincident with a negative carbon isotope excursion) correlative to just above Newark magnetozone E23r and just below the oldest CAMP lavas dated at ~ 202 Ma. Hence, we estimate the duration of the Rhaetian to be ~ 5.5–8.5 Myr (or even longer if the Triassic–Jurassic boundary is instead placed above the negative carbon isotope excursion as at Kuhjoch, which is the designated GSSP for the base of the Hettangian), and encompassing 9 magnetozones. This duration contrasts with a duration of ~ 2 Myr and only ~ 4 magnetozones in several alternative published magneto-biostratigraphic schemes.

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Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

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Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
January 17, 2012