Reports

Application of Carbon Isotope Stratigraphy to Late Miocene Shallow Marine Sediments, New Zealand

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Science  15 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4398, pp. 1196-1199
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4398.1196

Abstract

A distinct (0.5 per mil) carbon-13/carbon-12 isotopic shift in the light direction has been identified in a shallow marine sedimentary sequence of Late Miocene age at Blind River, New Zealand, and correlated with a similar shift in Late Miocene Deep Sea Drilling Project sequences throughout the Indo-Pacific. A dated piston core provides an age for the shift of 6.2 ± 0.1 million years. Correlations based on the carbon isotopic change require a revision of the previously established magnetostratigraphy at Blind River. The carbon shift at Blind River occurs between 6.2 and 6.3 ± 0.1 million years before present. A new chronology provides an age for the evolutionary first appearance datum of Globorotalia conomiozea at 6.1 ± 0.1 million years, the beginning of a distinct latest Miocene cooling event associated with the Kapitean stage at 6.2 ± 0.1 million years, and the beginning of a distinct shallowing of water depths at 6.1 ± 0.1 million years. The Miocene-Pliocene boundary as recognized in New Zealand is now dated at 5.3 ± 0.1 million years. Extension of carbon isotope stratigraphy to other shallow Late Miocene sequences should provide an important datum for international correlation of Late Miocene shallow and deep marine sequences.