HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LATE MAASTRICHTIAN GRAND FINALE IN WESTERN TETHYS
Carbonate dissolution intervals are recorded in the topmost ~50 cm at Agost and Caravaca (Spain), ~40 cm in Gamsbach and ~150 cm at Zumaiya (Spain). These correlate with the ~60 cm thick Deccan benchmark interval at Bidart (uppermost Maastrichtian zone CF1). Increased abundance (>40%) of dwarfed Guembelitria (<63μm fraction) in the suspect interval at Bidart, Zumaya and Caravaca associated with pulsed mercury peaks (>20 ppb, background values are <0.1 ppb) suggest high faunal stress and ongoing volcanism. The most expanded known KPB transition at Elles (Tunisia) yields a tentative event onset age of ~ 50 ky pre-KPB. The correlative intertrappean sediments between lava mega-flows in the Krishna-Godavari basin (eastern India) record acute carbonate dissolution and rapid diversity decline in planktic foraminifera. The new findings lend strength to a link between intensified Deccan volcanism and the faunal stress build up in the final ~50 ky, leading up to the KPB mass extinction.