Data from: Blooms of aberrant planktic foraminifera across the K/Pg boundary in the Western Tethys: causes and evolutionary implications
Arenillas, Ignacio; Arz, José Antonio; Gilabert, Vicente (2018), Data from: Blooms of aberrant planktic foraminifera across the K/Pg boundary in the Western Tethys: causes and evolutionary implications, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n1q6527
Here we report a detailed study of the different categories and types of abnormal morphologies in planktic foraminifera recognizable in the lowermost Danian mainly from the El Kef and Aïn Settara sections, Tunisia. Various types of abnormalities in the test morphology were identified, including protuberances near the proloculus, abnormal chambers, double or twinned ultimate chambers, multiple ultimate chambers, abnormal apertures, distortion in test coiling, morphologically abnormal tests, attached twins or double tests, and general monstrosities. Detailed biostratigraphic and quantitative studies of the Tunisian sections documented a major proliferation of aberrant planktic foraminifera (between approximately 5 and 18% in relative abundance) during the first 200Kyr of the Danian, starting immediately after the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary mass extinction (spanning from the Guembelitria cretacea Zone to the lower part of the P. pseudobulloides Zone). This contrasts with the proportionately low frequency of aberrant tests (generally < 2%) identified within the uppermost Maastrichtian, suggesting more stable environmental conditions during the last ~50-100Kyr of the Cretaceous. Two main pulses with abundant aberrant tests were recognized in the earliest Danian, the one recorded in the well-known K/Pg boundary clay being the more intense of those (maxima of >18%). These main pulses of aberrants coincide approximately with relevant quantitative and evolutionary turnovers in the planktic foraminiferal assemblages. In this paper we explore the relation of these high values of the foraminiferal abnormality index with the environmental changes induced by the meteorite impact of Chicxulub in Yucatan, Mexico, and the massive eruptions of the Deccan Traps, India.