Get access

Sea-level reconstructions from the Peri-Vocontian Zone (South-east France) point to Valanginian glacio-eustasy



The Valanginian is a period of global environmental change as illustrated by sedimentary, palaeontological, geochemical and climatic perturbations. A production crisis in most of the carbonate platforms suggests important changes in palaeoenvironmental conditions. During the same time interval, a major positive excursion in δ13C, the Weissert Event, suggests perturbations of the carbon cycle from the latest Early Valanginian to the Early Hauterivian. In order to better understand the link between these changes, sea-level fluctuations have been reconstructed in detail from the Middle Berriasian to the earliest Hauterivian. Sections from the Peri-Vocontian Zone (South-east France) have been investigated because of the good quality of outcrops on the carbonate platforms, their margins and in the Vocontian Basin. Sections ranging from the most proximal zone (Swiss Jura) to the basin were interpreted in terms of sequence stratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy, and correlated at high resolutions. Using the identified small, medium and large-scale sequences as well as depositional geometries, sea-level fluctuations were reconstructed. Two main trends are evidenced during the studied interval: (i) the peak amplitude (magnitude) of the sea-level fluctuations increased gradually from the Middle Berriasian to the Early Valanginian, and reached a maximum (more than 50 m) from the middle Early Valanginian to the Valanginian/Hauterivian boundary; and (ii) sea-level variations were quite symmetrical during the Late Berriasian, slightly asymmetrical during the Early Valanginian and strongly asymmetrical (fast sea-level rise, slow fall) from the latest Early Valanginian to the earliest Hauterivian. Moreover, three orders of sea-level fluctuations were recognized in the sedimentary rocks of the Peri-Vocontian Zone. Platform-basin correlations and cyclostratigraphic interpretations of the basinal sections evidence an astronomical control on the sea-level variations, mainly by the two eccentricity cycles of 100 and 400 kyr. The increase in the amplitude of the sea-level fluctuations and their change from symmetrical to asymmetrical can be related to the onset of a major cooling event in the Early Valanginian. Fast transgressions followed by slower regressions would correspond to waxing and waning of high-latitudinal ice during most of the Valanginian, especially from the latest Early Valanginian to the latest Late Valanginian. Glacio-eustatic sea-level fluctuations in tune with the 100 and 400 kyr eccentricity cycles are in agreement with glaciations during the Valanginian.