Carbon isotope fluctuations of sedimentary organic matter along the two geological traverses in the Yezo Group, Hokkaido, northern Japan, elucidate a detailed chemostratigraphy for the Cenomanian Stage on the northwestern Pacific margin. Visual characterization of the kerogen from mudstone samples shows that the major constituents of sedimentary organic matter originated as terrestrial higher plants. The atomic hydrogen/carbon ratios of the kerogen suggest that the original δ13C values of terrestrial organic matter (TOM) have not been affected significantly by thermal diagenesis. The patterns in two δ13CTOM curves are similar and independent of changes in lithology and total organic carbon contents, which suggests that TOM was mixed sufficiently before the deposition in the Yezo forearc basin for the δ13C composition having been homogenized. In addition, this implies that the Hokkaido δ13CTOM profiles represent the averaged temporal δ13C variations of terrestrial higher-plant vegetation in the hinterlands of northeast Asia during Cenomanian time. Three shorter-term (ca. 0.1 my duration) positive-and-negative δ13CTOM fluctuations of ∼1‰ are present in the Lower to Middle Cenomanian interval in the Yezo Group. On the basis of the age-diagnostic taxa (ammonoids, inoceramids and planktic foraminifers), these discrete δ13 CTOM events are interpreted to be correlated with those in the δ13C curves of pelagic carbonates from European basins. The correlation of δ13C events between the European and Yezo Group sections suggests that the shorter-term δ13C fluctuations in Cenomanian ocean-atmosphere carbon reservoirs are useful for global chemostratigraphic correlation of marine strata. In particular, the correlation of δ13C fluctuations of the so-called 'Mid-Cenomanian event' (MCE) implies: (i) the δ13C variations of global carbon reservoir during the MCE are precisely recorded in the °13C TOM records; and (ii) the MCE °13CTOM event is an efficient chronostratigraphic index for the Lower/Middle Cenomanian boundary of the Mid-Cretaceous sequences.
- Carbon isotope stratigraphy
- terrestrial higher plants
- Yezo Group
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)