Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences




Campanian-Maastrichtian (C-M) sediments in the Kalâat Senan area (north-western Tunisia) include rich microfauna. Small benthic foraminifera (SBF) analysis at the Wadi Necham (ON) section reveals significant biostratigraphic and palaeoecological changes during the C-M transition. A progressive evolutionary trend within the Bolivinoides lineage allowed us to establish the late Campanian B. decoratus Interval Range Zone (IRZ) and two successive zones in the early Maastrichtian, namely the B. miliaris IRZ and the B. draco Total Range Zone (TRZ), which span the standard planktonic foraminifera Gansserina gansseri IRZ. Foraminiferal semiquantitative data from the C-M transition interval at the studied section yield high values of planktonic/benthic (P/B) ratios (92%-98%) suggesting an upper to middle bathyal depositional palaeoenvironment. Assemblages of such a deep environment comprise diversified epibenthic and endobenthic taxa indicating major changes across and above the C-M transition. During the late Campanian (Bolivinoides decoratus Zone) endobenthic morphogroups dominate (71%) the assemblages as compared to epibenthic morphogroups, which reach 29%. In contrast, the abundance of epibenthic morphogroups increases to 40% just above the C/M boundary (Bolivinoides miliaris Zone) and suggests cooler and more oxygenated conditions on the sea floor. Epibenthic and endobenthic abundances fluctuate in opposite trends (40%-60%) throughout the early Maastrichtian (B. draco TRZ). These variations are interpreted to reflect mesotrophic conditions intermittently interrupted by eutrophic shifts associated with the early Maastrichtian cooling event. The relative proportion of endobenthics increased (60%-80%) again towards the late Maastrichtian (upper part of the B. draco TRZ), showing a particular increase in EnA morphogroups prevailing in the SBF assemblages. Moreover, test morphology analyses of SBF assemblages allowed us to distinguish six epibenthic (M1 to M6) and seven endobenthic (M7 to M13) morphogroups based on their mode of coiling. This classification reveals the flourishing of EpC M4 and M5 morphogroups during the early Maastrichtian due to more oxygenated conditions on the sea floor.

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