NEW INSIGHTS INTO LAMINA-SCALE SEDIMENTARY AND PALEOECOLOGICAL PROCESSES AS RECORDED IN DIATOMITES FROM THE MIOCENE MONTEREY FORMATION, CALIFORNIA
Slabbed samples were imaged using light microscopy, X-radiography, and back-scattered scanning electron microscopy. This has resulted in a new classification of lamina and couplet styles based on couplet bimodality, lamina thickness, compositional domination, lamina spacing, and cyclicity. We recognize five distinct lamina types: (1) detrital laminae that consist of clay, silt, and robust diatoms that were deposited from continental runoff during rainy seasons; (2) thin biosiliceous laminae that consist of moderately preserved high-diversity diatom assemblages deposited during periods of rapid sedimentation; (3) thin biosiliceous laminae consisting of well-preserved monospecific diatom assemblages that likely experienced biologically-induced aggregation and rapid sedimentation without grazing; (4) thick discontinuous diatomaceous laminae consisting of either Thalassiothrix longissima mats or Chaetoceros setae and reflect vertically migrating diatom mats and high productivity, respectfully; (5) macerated biosiliceous laminae, consisting of highly fragmented biosilica from a variety of taxa, reflect intense zooplankton maceration and dissolution of diverse phytoplankton assemblages. Our results illustrate how different lamina types and associations can be used to proxy specific ecological and oceanographic conditions. This study provides a foundation for increased understanding of paleoenvironmental variability recorded by biological event strata in hemipelagic sediments.