Paleoenvironmental development of marls seams in the UK Chalk

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Paleoenvironmental development of marls seams in the UK Chalk

compare and contrast the mineralogy geochemistry and micropalaeontology of different marls seams within the Chalk in order to investigate the environment of deposition of different marl seams and how they impacted the Cretaceous marine environment.

 

Description

Paleoenvironmental development of marls seams in the UK Chalk

Overview:

The Upper Cretaceous of the UK and other areas of Northern Europe is dominated by the deposition of chalk – a micritic limestone composed of the shell fragments of calcareous algae (coccoliths). The deposition of the Chalk was interrupted by periods of enriched clay deposition forming marl seams.

These can be related to changes in climate (increased rainfall) ash fall from active volcanism and major changes in ocean chemistry. Some marl seams are laterally extensive and are useful as stratigraphic markers.

Project aim:

This project will compare and contrast the mineralogy geochemistry and micropalaeontology of different marls seams within the Chalk in order to investigate the environment of deposition of different marl seams and how they impacted the Cretaceous marine environment.

Potential titles:

  • Chemostratigraphy of the Chalk marls.
  • Palaeoenvironments of Chalk marl deposition.

Project logistics:

Review of the literature on the deposition of the Chalk marl seams. Collation of samples from the University collection in relation to published Chalk stratigraphy followed by geochemical and/or micropalaeontological analyses.

Potential of local area fieldwork to include logging and sampling of coastal and inland exposures of relevant sections once lockdown restrictions are eased.

Techniques / skills to be employed:

Rock description and geochemical analysis by PXRF ICP-OES ICP-MS. Mineralogy by FTIR and

potentially XRD. Micropalaeontology using a binocular microscope with camera. Field logging and

sampling of the Chalk