A potential stratotype for the Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary: Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye, UK

Andrzej WIERZBOWSKI, Mark HOUNSLOW, Angela COE, Bronisław MATYJA, James OGG, Kevin PAGE, Hubert WIERZBOWSKI, John WRIGHT


A coastal exposure of the Staffin Shale Formation at Flodigarry, Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye, Scotland, UKfulfils the criteria for definition as the Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the base of the Kimmeridgian Stage (Upper Jurassic). This marine shale succession was deposited during a long-term transgression, and is part of a complete, relatively well-expanded stratigraphic succession. A rich fauna of ammonites above and below the Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary allows recognition of the Evoluta Subzone (Pseudocordata Zone) and Rosenkrantzi Subzone (Rosenkrantzi Zone) of the Subboreal and Boreal uppermost Oxfordian, and the Densicostata Subzone (Baylei Zone) and the Bauhini Zone of the Subboreal and Boreal lowermost Kimmeridgian). A suitable level for the boundary is thus marked by the replacement of the Subboreal [i]Ringsteadia [/i](M)/[i]Microbiplices [/i](m) by [i]Pictonia [/i](M)/[i]Prorasenia [/i](m), and by the first appearance of Boreal [i]Amoeboceras [/i]([i]Plasmatites[/i]). Detailed study of the microfossils reveals an excellent dinoflagellate succession. A variety of stratigraphically important dinoflagellates are found,the assemblages being intermediate in character between Boreal and Subboreal ones. The magnetostratigraphic data, though rather troublesome to extract, shows a polarity pattern which can be confidently correlated to other UK boundary sections. The upper boundary of a normal magnetozone falls at, or very near, the proposed Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary. The [sup]87[/sup]Sr/[sup]86[/sup]Sr ratio at the boundary, based on an analysis of belemnites, lies between 0,70689 and 0,70697, averaging 0.70693. Matching worldwide trends, no distinct change in the ratio is seen across the boundary. A lack of variations in the carbon isotope composition of belemnites across the Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary does not indicate perturbation in the global carbon cycle. However, high δ[sup]13[/sup]C values and their scatter suggestthe influence of local fractionation affecting isotope composition of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the partly isolated Boreal sea. A fall in the belemnite δ[sup]18[/sup]O values in the Upper Oxfordian and Lower Kimmeridgian compared to the Mid Oxfordian suggests a slight rise in seawater temperature.


ammonite succession; Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary; microfossils; isotope stratigraphy; magnetostratigraphy

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