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Cyclostratigraphy, stratigraphic gaps and the duration of the Hettangian Stage (Jurassic): insights from the Blue Lias Formation of southern Britain

  • Graham P. Weedon (a1), Kevin N. Page (a2) and Hugh C. Jenkyns (a3)

Abstract

The lithostratigraphic characteristics of the iconic Blue Lias Formation of southern Britain are influenced by sedimentation rates and stratigraphic gaps. Evidence for regular sedimentary cycles is reassessed using logs of magnetic susceptibility from four sites as an inverse proxy for carbonate content. Standard spectral analysis, including allowing for false discovery rates, demonstrates several scales of regular cyclicity in depth. Bayesian probability spectra provide independent confirmation of at least one scale of regular cyclicity at all sites. The frequency ratios between the different scales of cyclicity are consistent with astronomical forcing of climate at the periods of the short eccentricity, obliquity and precession cycles. Using local tuned time scales, 62 ammonite biohorizons have minimum durations of 0.7 to 276 ka, with 94% of them <41 ka. The duration of the Hettangian Stage is ≥2.9 Ma according to data from the West Somerset and Devon/Dorset coasts individually, increasing to ≥3.7 Ma when combined with data from Glamorgan and Warwickshire. A composite time scale, constructed using the tuned time scales plus correlated biohorizon limits treated as time lines, allows for the integration of local stratigraphic gaps. This approach yields an improved duration for the Hettangian Stage of ≥4.1 Ma, a figure that is about twice that suggested in recent time scales.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Graham P. Weedon, Email: graham.weedon@metoffice.gov.uk

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Keywords

Cyclostratigraphy, stratigraphic gaps and the duration of the Hettangian Stage (Jurassic): insights from the Blue Lias Formation of southern Britain

  • Graham P. Weedon (a1), Kevin N. Page (a2) and Hugh C. Jenkyns (a3)

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