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Global biotic events evident in the Paleogene marine strata of the eastern San Francisco Bay area, California

September 7, 2021

Paleogene marine strata in the eastern San Francisco Bay area are exposed in discontinuous outcrops in the various tectonic blocks. Although there are many missing intervals, the strata were previously thought to span most of the Paleocene and Eocene. Revision of biochronology and calibration to the international time scale as well as to the global oxygen isotope curve and sea-level curves indicate that the strata are latest Paleocene through middle Eocene in age and contain faunal changes that are linked to the overall global climate trends and hyperthermals of that time. The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, third Eocene thermal maximum, early Eocene climatic optimum, and middle Eocene climatic optimum are all identified in the eastern San Francisco Bay marine strata. The dominance of smoothly finished, dissolution-resistant agglutinated benthic foraminiferal species corresponds with a rapid shoaling and rapid deepening (overcorrection) of the calcium compensation depth associated with the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. The benthic foraminiferal extinction event was a dramatic turnover of benthic foraminiferal species that occurred shortly after the onset of the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Opportunistic species such as Bulimina, which indicate environmental stress and lower oxygen conditions, are commonly associated with the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum. Environmental changes similar to those observed during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum also characterize the third Eocene thermal maximum, based on the agglutinated and opportunistic species. The early Eocene climatic optimum is noted by the presence of foraminiferal assemblages that indicate a stable, warmer water mass, abundant food, and an influx of terrigenous material. The onset and end of the middle Eocene climatic optimum are recognized by the dominance of siliceous microfossils. This research updates the age and environmental interpretations of the Paleogene formations occurring in the vicinity of Mount Diablo, eastern San Francisco Bay area. The revised interpretations, which are based on foraminifers and calcareous nannoplankton, make it possible to identify various global climatic and biotic events.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Global biotic events evident in the Paleogene marine strata of the eastern San Francisco Bay area, California
DOI 10.1130/2021.1217(12)
Authors Kristin McDougall-Reid
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geological Society of America Memoir
Series Number
Index ID 70223787
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center

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