A new sedimentary and biostratigraphic framework for the Callovian-Oxfordian transition on the Atlantic margin of Morocco

Aude Marie Luce Fran Duval-Arnould, Luc Georges Bulot, Moussa Masrour, Mike Simmons, Alain Bonnot, Remi Charton, Jonathan Redfern, Stefan Schröder

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A major global marine transgression occurred during the Callovian to Early Kimmeridgian, which was interrupted locally by a hiatus during the Late Callovian to Early Oxfordian. The transgression may have been a major driver for extensive coral buildup development in the Oxfordian. The depositional hiatus may be related to a combination of eustasy, local tectonic activity and hinterland movements, highlighting the potential influence of tectonism on sedimentary evolution in sedimentary basins. Whilst a regional Late Callovian-Early Oxfordian hiatus has been recorded extensively in the Tethys realm, this study has improved the biostratigraphic and sedimentary record from Morocco, and for the first time documents the Late Callovian-Early Oxfordian depositional hiatus in the Atlantic realm. Detailed sedimentary facies analysis of Callovian to Oxfordian carbonates and siliciclastics (Ouanamane Formation) demonstrates a major transgression from continental and coastal sediments, through oolitic mid-inner ramp deposits, brachiopod-rich middle ramp deposits, and ultimately to outer ramp marls, sharply overlain by Middle Oxfordian coral buildups across the basin. Repeated hard- and firmgrounds and bioturbated bed tops highlight transgressive surfaces traceable basinwide, which suggests low sedimentation rates in the upper Ouanamane Formation. Localized siliciclastic input is evidence for episodes of erosion in the same interval. Collection of new fossil specimens (ammonites, brachiopods, echinoderms, foraminifera) and revision of existing fossil material suggest this interval corresponds to a hiatus or condensed section in the Callovian-Oxfordian transition. The uppermost part of the Ouanamane Formation is of early Middle Oxfordian age and is directly overlain by Middle Oxfordian coral buildups. Onset of buildup construction is considered synchronous based on the new biostratigraphic data. Observations in Moroco compare with the sedimentary evolution around the Tethys, and in particular with the Arabian Plate. The Callovian-Oxfordian depositional hiatus corresponds to eustatic sea level changes, which were possibly driven my global cooling, and was likely overprinted by local tectonics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105164
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Early online date21 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Biostratigraphy
  • Callovian-oxfordian transgression
  • Carbonate ramp
  • Coral buildup
  • Depositional hiatus


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