Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse     
Lozar F., Violanti D., Dela Pierre F., Bernardi E., Cavagna S., Clari P., Irace A., Martinetto E., Trenkwalder S. Calcareous nannofossils and foraminifers herald the Messinian salinity crisis: The Pollenzo section (Alba, Cuneo; NW Italy),. In: Geobios, vol. 43 (1) pp. 21 - 32. Elsevier, 2010.
During the Messinian, the Mediterranean area experienced fast and prominent paleoenvironmental changes, culminating in the so-called Messinian Salinity Crisis, with the deposition of the evaporitic series. This work investigates the micropaleontological assemblages in the pre-evaporitic sediments of the Sant'Agata Fossili Marls (SAF) of the Pollenzo section (Cuneo area, North Western Italy). A semiquantitative analysis is carried out on the upper part of the marly and pelitic sediments of the SAF underlying the first gypsum bed, ascribed to the Vena del Gesso Fm. (VDF). The studied interval belongs to the planktonic foraminifer Globorotalia conomiozea Zone and "non distinctive Zone" of Iaccarino and to the calcareous nannofossil MNN11b/c Zone of Raffi et al. (1998, 2003) ([Raffi et al., 1998] and [Raffi et al., 2003]). Decrease of diversity and abundance of the foraminifer and calcareous nannofossil assemblages is recorded 12 m below the VDG and clearly reflects environmental stress. From bottom to top, six paleoecological events are recorded: (1) the first peak abundance of "small" Reticulofenestra and the last recovery (LR) of planktonic foraminifers; (2) the peak abundance of Pontosphaera japonica and the last recovery of warm water taxa Discoaster spp.; (3) the last recovery of benthic foraminifers; (4) the co-occurring peak abundances of Helicosphaera carteri and Sphenolithus abies, and the last recovery of warm water taxa Amaurolithus spp.; (5) the second peak of "small" Reticulofenestra; (6) the definitive disappearance of calcareous nannofossils. These paleoecological events describe a progressive isolation of the basin from the world ocean and increasingly stressed environment (LR planktonic foraminifers; LR Discoaster spp.), increasing dysoxic to anoxic conditions at the sea floor (LR benthic foraminifers), shallowing of the water column (peak of H. carteri), increasing salinity in surface waters (peak of S. abies), and enhanced nutrient concentration in surface waters (peak of "small" Reticulofenestra); these are related to paleoenvironmental changes predating gypsum deposition at Pollenzo and affecting the whole Mediterranean basin.
URL: http://https://www.journals.elsevier.com/geobios
Subject calcareous nannofossils
salinity crisis
tertiary Piedmont basin

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