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Birth and death of the Late Cretaceous "La Luna Sea", and origin of the Tres Esquinas phosphorites

Erlich, R. N., Macsotay, O., Nederbragt, Alexandra J. and Lorente, M. A. 2000. Birth and death of the Late Cretaceous "La Luna Sea", and origin of the Tres Esquinas phosphorites. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 13 (1-2) , pp. 21-45. 10.1016/S0895-9811(00)00016-X

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Deposition of organic carbon-rich intervals of the La Luna and Navay formations of northwestern Venezuela was governed by the development of key paleobathymetric barriers (Santa Marta and Santander massifs, Paraguana Block, and ancestral Mérida Andes). These enhanced the development of anoxia in the “La Luna Sea” by causing poor circulation and limited ventilation. Anoxia was also promoted by high evaporation and low precipitation rates (high salinity bottom water), and high levels of marine algal productivity (high organic matter flux). Nutrient supply was augmented by infrequent fluvial sources. Bottom water oxygen levels increased from the Late Santonian through the end of the Cretaceous. Ventilation of anoxic bottom waters may have been enhanced by more frequent or intense seasonal upwelling (caused by higher wind stress) and catastrophic overturn, as well as the removal of a key paleobathymetric barrier. Common byproducts of overturn events were massive phytoplankton blooms, which produced red tides. Fish and marine reptile bone beds within the Tres Esquinas Member (La Luna Formation) are attributed to massive mortality during these events, and are correlative with similar Campanian units in eastern Colombia. During the Maastrichtian, increasing ventilation, combined with siliciclastic dilution, ultimately produced sediments with lower total organic carbon (TOC) content.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
Uncontrolled Keywords: Upper Cretaceous; La Luna Formation; Paleo-oceanography; Phosphate rocks; Organic carbon; Maracaibo Basin
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0895-9811
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:20

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