Original paper

A million-year-scale astronomical control on Late Cretaceous sea-level

Wendler, Jens E.; Meyers, Stephen R.; Wendler, Ines; Kuss, Jochen


An evaluation of the global synchronicity and duration of “3rd-order” sea-level fluctuations during the Cretaceous greenhouse has been hampered by poor constraints on potential climatic and tectonic drivers, and limitations of geochronology and chronostratigraphic correlation. To provide insight into the nature of such sea-level fluctuations, here we present a new Late Cretaceous record from the Jordanian Levant Platform, comprising a detailed physical-, bio-, chemo- and sequence stratigraphy. Carbonate content of these strata reflects overall sequence stratigraphic development, and demonstrates a dramatic 3rd-order-scale cycle that is also apparent in the δ°C record. Updated radioisotopic constraints and astrochronologic testing provide support for the inference of an ∼ 1 million year long sea-level oscillation associated with this 3rd-order cycle, which likely reflects a long-period obliquity (1.2 Myr) control on eustasy and stratigraphic sequence development, linked to the global carbon cycle. The observation of cyclic sea-level fluctuations on this time scale suggests sustained global modulation of continental fresh-water-storage. The hypothesized link between astronomical forcing and sea-level forms a baseline approach in the global correlation of sequence boundaries.


astronomical forcingcenomanian/turoniancyclostratigraphylate cretaceoussequence stratigraphytime series analysis