Cretaceous planktic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the Calera Limestone, Northern California, USA

Journal of Foraminiferal Research




The Calera Limestone is the largest, most stratigraphically extensive limestone unit of oceanic character included in the Franciscan Complex of northern California. The aim of this paper is to place the Calera Limestone at its type locality (Rockaway Beach, Pacifica) in a high-resolution biostratigraphy utilizing planktic foraminifers studied in thin section. A section, about 110 m-thick, was measured from the middle thrust slice exposed by quarrying on the southwest side of Calera Hill at Pacifica Quarry. Lithologically, the section is divided in two units; a lower unit with 73 m of black to dark-grey limestone, black chert and tuff, and an upper unit with 36.8 m of light-grey limestone and medium-grey chert. Two prominent black-shale layers rich in organic carbon occur 11 m below the top of the lower black unit and at the boundary with overlying light-grey unit, yielding a total organic content (TOC) of 4.7% and 1.8% t.w., respectively. The fossiliferous Calera Limestone section measured at Pacifica Quarry, from the lower black shale, contains eleven zones and three subzones that span approximately 26 m.y. from the early Aptian to the late Cenomanian. The zones indentified range from the Globigerinelloides blowi Zone to the Dicarinella algeriana Subzone of the Rotalipora cushmani Zone. Within this biostratigraphic interval, the Ticinella bejaouaensis and Hedbergella planispira Zones at the Aptian/Albian boundary are missing as are the Rotalipora subticinensis Subzone of the Biticinella breggiensis Zone and the overlying Rotalipora ticinensis Zone in the late Albian owing both to low-angle thrust faulting and to unconformities. The abundance and preservation of planktic foraminifers are poor in the lower part and improve only within the upper G. algerianus Zone. The faunal relationship indicate that the lower black shale occurs in the upper part of the G. blowi Zone and correlates with the Selli Event recognized at global scale in the early Aptian. The upper black shale occurs at or near the boundary between the G. ferreolensis and G. algerianus Zone in the late Aptian. This black layer, or Thalmann Event as named here, seems to represent the sedimentary expression, at the scale of Permanente Terrane, of a global perturbation of the carbon cycle.

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Cretaceous planktic foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the Calera Limestone, Northern California, USA
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Journal of Foraminiferal Research
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