Austrian Journal of Earth Sciences vol:105 issue:1 pages:154-160
Climate and Biota of the Early Paleogene edition:2012 location:Salzburg date:5-8 June 2011
The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) initiated a global biotic event with major evolutionary impacts. Since a series of minor δ C and O excursions, indicative of hyperthermals, now appears to characterize early Eocene climate, it remains to be investigated how the biosphere responded to these warming events. We studied the Esna Formation at Dababiya (Nile Basin, Egypt), in order to identify Eocene thermal maximum 2 (ETM-2) and to evaluate the foraminiferal and ostracode patterns. The studied interval generally consists of gray-brown marls and shales and is interrupted by a sequence of deviating lithologies, representing an early Eocene Egyptian environmental perturbation that can be linked to ETM-2. The ETM-2 interval consists of brownish shales (bed 1) to marls (bed 2) at the base that grade into a foraminifera-rich chalky limestone (bed 3) at the top. This conspicuous white limestone bed forms the base of the Abu Had Member. A distinct negative δ13C excursion of approximately 1.6‰ is recorded encompassing this interval and a second negative δ13C shift of 1‰ occurs 5 m higher. These two isotope events are situated respectively in the basal and lower part of the calcareous nannoplankton zone NP11 and appear to correlate with the H1 and H2(?) excursions observed in the deep-sea records. The lower δ13C excursion is associated with benthic foraminiferal and ostracode changes and settlement of impoverished anomalous foraminiferal (planktic and benthic) assemblages, indicating a transient environmental anomaly, disrupting the entire marine ecosystem during ETM-2. Our observations indicate some similarities between the sedimentary and biotic expressions of ETM-2 and the PETM at Dababiya, pointing to similar processes operating in the Egyptian Basin during these global warming events.