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Keywords:

  • Danian;
  • Paris Basin;
  • fluidized chalk;
  • resedimentation;
  • submarine fault scarp;
  • tectonics

Abstract

Danian marine sedimentation in the Paris Basin occurred between two major erosional phases. The earlier was responsible for the stripping of presumably deposited Maastrichtian sediments and of a variable thickness of Campanian chalk. The later occurred during the late Palaeocene and resulted in the erosion of almost all Danian deposits, which are now limited to small and scattered outcrops. One of these outcrops corresponds to reefal and peri-reefal limestones of middle to late Danian age, exposed in the quarries of Vigny (NW of Paris). Danian deposits here show intricate relations with the surrounding Campanian chalk. Danian sedimentation was contemporaneous with faulting, which generated signifiant sea-floor relief and resulted in contrasting depositional areas: topographic highs with coralgal reefs, and depressions where calcirudite channel fill accumulated. Normal faulting occurred along WNW–ESE master faults. The generation of submarine fault scarps gave rise to various types of gravity-driven phenomena, including the sliding and slumping of large blocks of reefal limestone and the deposition of carbonate debris flows. Along with the redeposition of the Danian carbonates, flows of fluidized and reworked Campanian chalk resulted from the peculiar physical properties of the undercompacted chalks. Erosion and faulting occurred predominantly during the Palaeocene and represent a major episode in the physiographic evolution of the Paris Basin.