Upper Albian OAE 1D Event in the Chihuahua Trough, New Mexico, U.S.A.


Oceanic anoxic events are clues to ocean processes and are correlation datums. In North America only OAE 1a and 2 are well documented. Based on a low-resolution sampling program, a multi-proxy geochemical approach constrained by a biostratigraphic framework was utilized to identify OAE 1d in the upper part of the upper Albian Mesilla Valley Formation near El Paso, Texas. Chronostratigraphic and biostratigraphic evidence indicate that the OAE 1d event in the Mesilla Valley section is located in the lower part of the upper Albian–Cenomanian Ovoidinium verrucosum zone, which correlates with the uppermost Albian Parathalmanninella appenninica and Stoliczkaia dispar zones. The chronostratigraphic age of the geochemical event in the Mesilla Valley Formation is uppermost Albian (97.39–97.30 Ma).

The classic geochemical signatures for OAEs are enriched total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations and coupled positive δ13C excursions. OAE 1d at this location records TOC values ranging from 0.25 to 0.69 wt.% throughout the Mesilla Valley Formation, where TOC increases during the OAE (21.0–40.0 m) to more than 0.40 wt.%. Interestingly, the organic matter in the Mesilla Valley is dominantly type III, which indicates a pervasive terrigenous source. Although marine organic matter is abundant from the base into the middle of the proposed OAE interval, it is progressively replaced by terrestrial material above the OAE section during progradation. The δ13Corganic values record a positive δ13C shift of +1.6‰ from −26.41 to −24.80‰ across the stratigraphic interval from 21.0 to 40.0 m, which correlates with OAE 1d.

Mn and Fe geochemistry suggest the depositional conditions of the Mesilla Valley Formation were dominated by anoxic and possibly Fe-rich bottom waters, specifically during the time period associated with the OAE 1d event. This interpretation is supported by the presence of Fe enrichment recorded by FeTotal/Al and FeHighly Reactive/FeT with the lack of Fepyrite/FeHighly Reactive associated with Mn depletion.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Upper Albian; OAE 1d; Graphic correlation; Carbon isotopes; Sequential iron; Chihuahua Trough

Geographic Coverage

New Mexico

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Article - Journal

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© 2013 Academic Press Inc., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2013


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