The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary crisis at Zumaya (Northern Spain). Micropaleon-tological data

  • Lamolda Marcos A. 
Mesozoic/Cenozoic Events
Part of the Lecture Notes in Earth Sciences book series (LNEARTH, volume 30)


The Cretaceous-Tertiary (K/T) boundary sections in the Basque Country, mainly along cliff outcrops, are showing a key role in understanding the true nature of the End Mesozoic Biotic Crisis. The richness of their fossil associations — macro- and micro-fossils — and the sedimentologic conditions allow us to know a detailed biostratigraphy and the trends of fossil associations with regard to the K/T boundary. The well known Zumaya section has been a classic locality for the K/T boundary problems for more than 20 years. Furthermore, there are several others which match and complement the Zumaya section. Some planktonic foraminifera species disappeared before the K/T boundary — e.g. Abathomphalus mayaroensis (Bolli) — or underwent a strong decrease — e.g. Rosita contusa (Cushman), Rugoglobigerina rotundata Brönnimann. The total number of species decreased 15–20%, and the percentage of planktonic foraminifera was reduced from 92–95% to 84%, of all foraminifera. In addition, there is an increase of opportunistic species, both planktonic foraminifera and nannoflora species. These data allow us to recognize unstable conditions in the calcareous pelagic ecosystem, previous to the K/T boundary which is marked by geochemical anomalies. Therefore, our data do not fit well with causal models where extraterrestrial events are the only adduced causes.


Benthic Foraminifera Basque Country Planktonic Foraminifera Calcite Vein Geochemical Anomaly 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, L. G. (1975): Changes in foraminifera in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary crisis at Punta de San Telmo, Zumaya, Spain. — Unpublished B.A. thesis, Princeton University.Google Scholar
  2. Alvarez, L. W., Alvarez, W., Asaro, F. & Michel, H. V. (1982): Current status of the impact theory for the terminal Cretaceous extinction. — Geol. Soc. amer. spec. Paper, 190, 305–315.Google Scholar
  3. Bonte, Ph., Delacotte, O., Renard, M., Laj, C., Boclet, D., Jehano, C. & Rocchia, R. (1984): An iridium rich at the C/T boundary in the Bidart section (SW, France). — Geoph. Res. Let., 11 (5), 473–476.Google Scholar
  4. D'Hondt, A. V. & Keller, G. (1985): Late Cretaceous stepwise extinction of planktonic foraminifera. — Geol. Soc. Am. Abstr. Progr., 17, 557–558.Google Scholar
  5. Fischer, A. G. & Arthur, M. A. (1977): Secular variation in the pelagic realm. — SEPM Special publication, 25, 19–50.Google Scholar
  6. Herm, D. (1965): Mikropalaeontologische-stratigraphische Untersuchungen im Kreideflysch zwischen Deva und Zumaya (Prov. Guipúzcoa, Nordspanien). — Z. dtsch. Geol. Ges., 115, 277–348.Google Scholar
  7. Herm, D., Hillebrandt, A. V. & Perch-Nielsen, K. (1981): Die Kreide-Tertiär-Grenze im Lattengebirge (Nördliche Kalkalpen) in mikropaläontologischer Sicht. — Geologica Bavarica, 82, 319–344.Google Scholar
  8. Keller, G. (1988): Extended period of K/T boundary mass extinction in the marine realm. — Abstracts Global Catastrophes in earth History. Snowbird, Utah, October, 1988, 88–89.Google Scholar
  9. Lamolda, M. A. (1985): Fossil record and the Cretaceous-Tertiary Crisis at Zumaya (Northern Spain). — Gwatt Conference, Abstracts. Gwatt, may 1985.Google Scholar
  10. Lamolda, M. A. (1987): Fossil association changes and ecological nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary events. — Abstract 2nd Working Session I.G.C.P. project no 199 Rare Events in Geology, 15.Google Scholar
  11. Lamolda, M. A. (1988): Acontecimientos extraordinarios en Geología. — Abstract II Congreso Geológico de España, Junio 1988, 483–490.Google Scholar
  12. Lamolda, M. A., Orue-Etxebarria, X. & Proto-Decima, F. (1983): The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary in Sopelana (Biscay, Basque Country). — Zitteliana, 10, 663–670.Google Scholar
  13. Mathey, B. (1988): Paleogeographical evolution of the Basco-Cantabrian Domein during the Upper Cretaceous. — In: Lamolda, M. A. et al.: Revista Española de Paleontología, no extracordinario: Field-Guide excursion to the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary section at Zumaya (northern Spain).Google Scholar
  14. Mount, J. F., Margolis, S. V., Showers, W., Ward, P. & Doehne, E. (1986): Carbon and Oxygen isotope stratigraphy of the Upper Maastrichtian, Zumaya, Spain: A record of oceanographic and biologic changes at the end of the Cretaceous period. — Palaios, 1, 87–92.Google Scholar
  15. Perch-Nielsen, K., McKenzie, J. A. & He, Q. (1982): Biostratigraphy and isotope stratigraphy and the “Catastrophic ”extinction of calcareous nannoplankton at the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary. — In: Silver, L. T. & Shultz, P. H. (eds.): Geological Implications of impacts of large asteroids and comets on the Earth. — Geological Society of America, Spec. paper, 190, 353–371.Google Scholar
  16. Percival, S. F. & Fischer, A. G. (1977): Changes in calcareous nannoplankton in the Cretaceous-Tertiary biotic crisis at Zumaya Spain. — Evolutionary Theory, 2, 1–35.Google Scholar
  17. Romein, A. J. T. (1977): Calcareous nannofossils from the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary interval in the Barranco del Gredero (Caravaca, prov. Murcia, SE Spain). — Proceedings of the koninklijke Nederlandse Akademic van Wetensser, 80, 256–279.Google Scholar
  18. Smit, J. (1982): Extinction and evolution of planktonic foraminifera after a major impact at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. — Geol. Soc. Amer. spec. Paper, 190, 329–352.Google Scholar
  19. Smit, J. & ten Kate, W. G. H. Z. (1982): Trace element patterns at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Consequences of a large impact. — Cretaceous Research, 3, 307–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Smit, J., Klaver, G. & Van Kempen, Th. M. G. (1987): Three unusually complete spanish K/T boundary sections: Caravaca, Agost, Zumaya. — Abstracts Paleontology and evolution: Extinction events. — Leioa, 1987, p. 270.Google Scholar
  21. Ward, P. (1988): Maastrichtian ammonite and inoceramid ranges from bay of Biscay Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary sections. — Revista Española de Paleontología, no extraordinario.Google Scholar
  22. Ward, P. D., Wiedmann, J. & Mount, J. (1986): Maastrichtian molluscan biostratigraphy and extinction patterns in a Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary section exposed at Zumaya, Spain. — Geology, 14, 899–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wiedmann, J. (1969): The heteromorphs and ammonoids extinction. — Biological Reviews, 44, 563–602.Google Scholar
  24. Wiedmann, J. (1988): Ammonoid extinction and the “Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary Event”. — In: Wiedmann, J. & Kullmann, J. (eds.): Cephalopods — Present and Past. — 117–140, Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung; Stuttgart.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lamolda Marcos A. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Area de PaleontologíaUniversidad del País VascoBilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations