An integrated micropaleontological and geochemical study was carried out on the Pliocene-age Bianco section located in Calabria, southern Italy. This section is somewhat unique for the Pliocene of the Mediterranean region in that it contains abundant calcareous and siliceous microfossils. Based on the biostratigraphic findings, it ranges in age from approximately 3.7-3.0 Ma. The Bianco section is composed of marly mudstones intercalated with diatomites, with the diatomites being particularly common in the upper 50 m of the section (above 3.1 Ma). The diatomites contain an abundant benthic foraminiferal assemblage and have a low organic carbon content indicating that bottom waters were fairly well-oxygenated during their deposition. Faunal and floral indicators suggest a cooling of surface waters in this region at 3.1 Ma. The diatom assemblages within the Bianco diatomites are very similar to those living in the Gulf of California, suggesting an upwelling origin for these silica-rich units. A model is proposed which attributes diatomite formation to upwelling induced by climatically controlled changes in local hydrography. ?? 1989.
Additional publication details
Stratigraphy and depositional history of the Pliocene Bianco section, Calabria, southern Italy