An integrated sedimentological, magnetostratigraphic, and paleontological study of the Vallcebre section (south eastern Pyrenees, Spain) is carried out in order to define and portray the transition from the Cretaceous to the Tertiary in a continental setting. A robust magnetostratigraphy is correlated to the standard polarity scale in light of known biochronological constraints (charophyte, marine invertebrates, eggshells and other dinosaur remains). Our results show that this section is among the thickest stratigraphic records for the continental Maastrichtian in the Old World. Sedimentology indicates a progressive regression from marine through lagoonal to entirely continental environments. The section is dominated by mudstones deposited under low energy conditions. Exceptionally, a basin-wide regression maximum is recorded some time before the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (K/T). This regression maximum is marked by the input of coarse-grained (alluvial) sediments that record a dramatic change in the landscape (quiet mud plains changed to sandy floodplains deposited by high-energy currents). After a period of renewed quiescence following the regression maximum, a Cenozoic flooding took place. Such terminal Cretaceous sequence of events has been recorded in shorter sections in several other basins from southwestern Europe. This energetic sediment input suggests that some time before the K/T event, a sudden paleoenvironmental reorganization took place in the continental basins of south western Europe. © 2007.
- K/T boundary