Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
During a recent expedition at the Gorringe Bank (eastern Atlantic, 150 miles SW off Portugal), one of the rare sites in the ocean where mantle rocks crop out at very shallow depths (− 30 m), the Gettysburg and Ormonde seamounts, the two summits on the Gorringe Bank, were surveyed in detail. At Gettysburg seamount, within the modern bioclastic material, which is continually produced on the summit and exported to deep water, several examples of Mesozoic cephalopods were found. These fossils, reworked ‘in situ’, gave an age spanning from Kimmeridgian–Tithonian to Hauterivian (145–155 Ma) and recall some condensed Jurassic sequences of the Thetyan region compatible with shallow water (〈 200 m). The serendipitous discovery of such ancient faunas within modern sediments suggests that Gorringe Bank was a seamount at the early opening of the Atlantic Ocean and requires us to reassess the age of rifting along the Iberian margin and the importance of vertical tectonics for non-volcanic, mantle-rooted seamounts.
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