Environmental evolution and geological significance of the Miocene carbonates of the Eratosthenes Seamount (ODP Leg 160)

Giovanni Coletti, Daniela Basso, Christian Betzler, Alastair H.F. Robertson, Giulia Bosio, Akram El Kateb, Anneleen Foubert, Aaron Meilijson, Silvia Spezzaferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Miocene carbonates of the Eratosthenes Seamount, located offshore from Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean (ODP Leg 160, Site 966), have been re-analysed. The use of SEDEX sequential extraction to evaluate the nutrient concentrations and of CT-Scan for the identification of large benthic foraminifera has resulted in a more detailed palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and an improved stratigraphic framework. Three intervals are recognised in the succession and are attributed to the lower, middle and upper Miocene, respectively. The lower Miocene interval is dominated by large benthic foraminifera and echinoids. This association colonized the top of the seamount following its uplift from deep-water to the photic zone. The middle Miocene interval is characterised by rhodoliths and corals at its base and near the top, whereas seagrass/seaweed assemblages (with epiphytic foraminifera and hooked coralline-algal crusts) dominate its central part. The upper Miocene is represented by coral reef facies near its base and lagoonal facies toward its top. The succession was deposited in an oligotrophic environment and exhibits a general shallowing-upward trend that was mainly controlled by tectonic activity related to the northward subduction of the African plate. The succession of the Eratosthenes Seamount is characterised by a diverse large benthic foraminifera assemblage in its lower part and by corals in its uppermost part, whereas corallines characterise the central interval. This trend is common in Miocene Mediterranean carbonates and its occurrence on an isolated seamount confirms its connection with the general evolution of the basin. The decline of miogypsinids and lepidocyclinids after the early Miocene is notable because the Eratosthenes Seamount was geographically close to the Indo-Pacific Ocean where both groups also thrived during the middle Miocene. This decline was probably caused by the early Miocene closure of the deep-water connection between the Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the International Ocean Drilling Program for providing the samples used in this study. We thank Holger Kulmann for his assistance with sampling at the Bremen Core Repository. Antonino Briguglio, Yossi Mart and a third anonymous reviewer provided helpful comments on the originally submitted manuscript. Special thank also goes to Christoph Neururer, Stephanie Stainbank and Valentina Beccari for their assistance during CT-Scanning. Elisa Malinverno kindly provided funding for the Sr isotope analyses, Dieter Buhl performed the analyses in Bochum, John McArthur licensed to use the LOWESS 5, and Mariano Parente provided useful advices on Sr stratigraphy. We also thank Sergio Andò, Eduardo Garzanti and Giovanni Vezzoli (Laboratory for Provenance Studies of Milano-Bicocca University) for their help with Raman analyses and their useful suggestions. The first author participated to the Edimburgh University Field Trip in Cyprus and would like to thank Dick Kroon, Elizabeth Balmer, Louis Kinnear, Geoff Bromiley, Gillian McCay and Yili Yang, for their explanations on Cyprus geology. AM would like to thank the Israeli Ministry of Energy and the Maurice Hatter Foundation for their support for his travels and his research activity. This is a scientific contribution of Project MIUR - Dipartimenti di Eccellenza 2018-2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • CT-Scan
  • Coralline Algae
  • Corals
  • Large Benthic Foraminifera
  • Nutrients
  • Reefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Paleontology


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