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First evidence for the Cenomanian–Turonian oceanic anoxic event (OAE2, ‘Bonarelli’ event) from the Ionian Zone, western continental Greece

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  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science


Integrated biostratigraphic (planktonic foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils), chemostratigraphic (bulk C and O isotopes) and compound-specific organic geochemical studies of a mid-Cretaceous pelagic carbonate—black shale succession of the Ionian Zone (western Greece), provide the first evidence for the Cenomanian–Turonian oceanic anoxic event (OAE2, ‘Bonarelli’ event) in mainland Greece. The event is manifested by the occurrence of a relatively thin (35 cm), yet exceptionally organic carbon-rich (44.5 wt% TOC), carbonate-free black shale, near the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary within the Vigla limestone formation (Berriasian–Turonian). Compared to the ‘Bonarelli’ black-shale interval from the type locality of OAE2 in Marche–Umbria, Italy, this black shale exhibits greatly reduced stratigraphic thickness, coupled with a considerable relative enrichment in TOC. Isotopically, enriched δ[superscript 13]C values for both bulk organic matter (−22.2‰) and specific organic compounds are up to 5‰ higher than those of underlying organic-rich strata of the Aptian-lower Albian Vigla Shale member, and thus compare very well with similar values of Cenomanian–Turonian black shale occurrences elsewhere. The relative predominance of bacterial hopanoids in the saturated, apolar lipid fraction of the OAE2 black shale of the Ionian Zone supports recent findings suggesting the abundance of N[subscript 2]-fixing cyanobacteria in Cretaceous oceans during the Cenomanian–Turonian and early Aptian oceanic anoxic events.

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