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Molluscan extinction patterns across the Cenomanian-Turonian Stage boundary in the western interior of the United States

  • William P. Elder (a1)

Abstract

High-resolution stratigraphic analysis of 18 sections spanning the Cenomanian–Turonian Stage boundary in the western interior of the United States has allowed determination of the magnitude and pattern of molluscan extinction and disruption. Composite range data from all sections show that the faunal turnover across the stage boundary occurs in a series of narrow stratigraphic zones, defined by multiple first and last occurrences, separated by intervals displaying little or no taxonomic turnover. Two of the apparent extinction steps (bottom and top of the Neocardioceras juddii Zone) may be intercontinentally developed. The additional steps apparently reflect cyclic changes in water mass and substrate characteristics in the western interior basin produced in response to orbital forcing of climate. An interval (ca. 10-100 k.y. duration) of changing community structure and general biotic deterioration is found below each of the two potentially intercontinentally developed extinction steps. The most affected mollusks were those having intercontinental distributions (ammonites and inoceramid bivalves), suggesting that disruption of planktotrophic larval dispersal may have played a role in increasing extinction and speciation rates near the C–T boundary. The nekto-benthic ammonites were affected earlier and to a greater degree than the pelagic forms, implying progressive upward expansion of the oxygen minimum zone preceding the stage boundary.

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Molluscan extinction patterns across the Cenomanian-Turonian Stage boundary in the western interior of the United States

  • William P. Elder (a1)

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