The Palaeocene/Eocene boundary section at Zumaia (Basque-Cantabric Basin) revisited: new insights from high-resolution magnetic susceptibility and carbon isotope chemostratigraphy on organic matter (δ13Corg)


Jean-Yves Storme, FUNDP, University of Namur, Department of Geology, 61 rue de Bruxelles, 5000 Namur, Belgium. e-mail:


Terra Nova, 24, 310–317, 2012


The Zumaia section, the most complete and representative section of the early Palaeogene (hemi)-pelagic succession of the Pyrenees, is widely acknowledged as a key reference for the Palaeocene–Eocene boundary. New high-resolution δ13Corg of the Zumaia section (−23.8 to −28.8‰) confirms the position of the Carbon Isotope Excursion and enhances the distinction between the different steps of the CIE/PETM event. According to new magnetic susceptibility data and detailed cycle counting, the entire duration of the CIE/PETM in Zumaia is estimated in ∼168 ± 16 ka. Moreover, the investigation of palynofacies and low-field magnetic susceptibility reveal significant detrital influx during the interval. Several magnetic susceptibility phases and trends are recognised and are interpreted in terms of sea-level fluctuations before, during and after the PETM. Coupled with results from other sections, our data reveal the presence of an unconformity followed by an eustatic sea-level rise (TST) in the latest Palaeocene.