Maastrichtian Chalk of North-West Europe—a Pelagic Shelf Sediment

  1. Kenneth J. Hsü and
  2. Hugh C. Jenkyns
  1. E. Håkansson,
  2. R. Bromley and
  3. K. Perch-Nielsen

Published Online: 29 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444304855.ch9

Pelagic Sediments: On Land and under the Sea

Pelagic Sediments: On Land and under the Sea

How to Cite

Håkansson, E., Bromley, R. and Perch-Nielsen, K. (1975) Maastrichtian Chalk of North-West Europe—a Pelagic Shelf Sediment, in Pelagic Sediments: On Land and under the Sea (eds K. J. Hsü and H. C. Jenkyns), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444304855.ch9

Author Information

  1. Geological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 29 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1975

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780632001675

Online ISBN: 9781444304855



  • Maastrichtian chalk;
  • flint layers, hardgrounds, prominent burrow horizons, different associations of trace fossils;
  • presence of angiosperms in the calcisiltites;
  • Kamptnerius magnificus;
  • Bioturbation and slumping


Towards the end of the Cretaceous the shelf sea covering much of northern Europe made a final transgression in Campanian times followed by a phased regression throughout the Maastrichtian. In late Maastrichtian times the chalk facies became restricted to Denmark and parts of the North Sea, surrounded by shallower or near-shore facies of skeletal limestones.

From a series of some hundreds of bulk samples taken from both the chalk and related facies of this basin, seven samples representing two well-defined time planes have been chosen. An analysis of these reveals that the chalk is an almost totally biogenic sediment with at least 75% planktonic components. It can therefore be classified as a pelagic sediment which is shown to have been deposited in moderately shallow water no deeper than approximately 250 m, but generally below the euphotic zone.

Diagenesis includes bioturbation, compaction, loss of aragonite and genesis of flint. However, cementation is generally absent except at hardground horizons.