Recalibration of the Tethyan shallow-benthic zonation across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary: the Egyptian record


  • C. SCHEIBNER Universität Bremen FB5, P.O. Box 330440, 28334 Bremen, Germany.
  • R.P. SPEIJER Department of Earth and Environmental, K.U. Leuven Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.


Paleocene, Eocene, Shallow-benthic zonation, Stratigraphy


The Galala Mountains in Egypt provide an excellent platform-basin transect with deposits spanning the Paleocene/ Eocene (P/E) boundary. These interfingering deposits enable a recalibration between platform and open marine biostratigraphic schemes. We investigated 18 sections from a shallow-water carbonate platform margin, dominated by larger benthic foraminifera, to basinal marls with pelagic and deep marine biota. The Late Paleocene to Early Eocene development of larger foraminifera is well recorded in the Galala transect, in particular the Tethyan evolutionary event known as the larger foraminifera turnover (LFT). This turnover distinguishes Paleocene assemblages dominated by glomalveolinids, miscellanids and ranikothalids typical for shallow benthic Zone 4 (SBZ4) from those of SBZ5, dominated by alveolinids, nummulitids, and orbitolitids. Our data agree with previous studies that suggested that the larger foraminifera turnover (LFT) coincides with the Paleocene/ Eocene boundary, delineated by the carbon isotopic excursion (CIE) and that it correlates with the boundary between calcareous nannofossils subzones NP9a/b, the benthic extinction event in smaller benthic foraminifera and the boundary between planktic foraminifera Biozones P5/E1.