Two sections, just below the Nivelle Horizon in the upper Gulpen Formation (Upper Maastrichtian), and seven kilometres apart (CBR-Lixhe and ENCI-Maastricht bv quarries) have been analysed (samples every 5 cm) for dinocyst, pollen grains and bioclast contents as well as for carbon and oxygen isotopic composition, to obtain better insight into the influence of weathering on these sediments. The CBR section lies above groundwater level, while that at the ENCI quarry is some metres below. At the former quarry we recognised the influences of weathering (karst) nearby.
At ENCI, palynological, bioclast and stable isotope results of the carbonate phase (mainly consisting of coccoliths) co-vary remarkably, displaying two cycles which may be interpreted tentatively as climatic fluctuations. The ∂18O curve varies roughly between −1.6‰ and −1.1‰ (on PDB scale), corresponding to a temperature change of about 2°C. Less negative values (i.e. cooler seawater) coincide with larger amounts of pollen of Normapolles and Triporates type assumed to represent temperate forest elements of a vegetation also containing tropical elements such as palms. Assuming the 5 cm sample intervals at ENCI to correspond to 1 ka, climatic maxima (and minima) may be 20–25 ka apart, obviously recalling Milankovitch precession cycles.
These are independent of a sharp sedimentological change noted in the upper part of the lowest cycle (samples 42 to 24). Upwards of sample 42, bioclast contents increase and dinocysts, Spiniferites in particular, decrease significantly, corresponding to a marked shallowing. This turning point is also recorded in the ∂13C curve at ENCI. Bioclast percentages appear to follow composite trends that are influenced by both climatic and sedimentological conditions.