Tracking Mesozoic Paleoclimate Events on the Nova Scotia Margin: Integrating Biostratigraphic Legacy Data with New Stable Carbon Isotope Analyses (part of the PAGEO research program)

This study will obtain empirical evidence for climatic perturbations and regional changes in oceanic circulation patterns by (1) acquiring an extensive dataset of stable isotope measurements from key wells located in the area of interest, (2) integrating these measurements with existing quantitative geobiological data from the same wells, and (3) comparing these combined results with existing in-house and published records.

The primary study objective is to establish a stable carbon isotope curve for the Jurassic–Cretaceous succession of the Nova Scotia Margin that may serve as standard reference curve for any future studies within the area. In addition, the project aims to obtain and document evidence for climatic perturbations and abrupt changes in the oceanic circulation patterns for the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In previous projects, TNO constructed reference curves for the Jurassic of northwestern Europe. These curves allow for stratigraphic correlation on a level more detailed than that of event-based biostratigraphy. Moreover, as these curves ideally represent paleo-atmospheric trends, these curves offer a truly independent correlation tool. As part of the proposed project, TNO aims to establish a new stable carbon isotope curve for the Jurassic–Cretaceous succession of the Nova Scotia Margin by splicing carbon isotope data from five wells at a resolution of one cuttings sample per 10 meters. TNO will study these existing data by applying multiple visualization and analyzing techniques including: (1) StrataBugs to produce closed SUM diagrams of selected groups of palynomorphs and foraminifera, (2) C2 and PAST to apply multi-variate techniques such as Principal Component Analysis (PCA) used to identify ecological parameters, such as sea surface temperature or run-off intensity in complex multi-variate data sets, (3) Quantitative analysis of organofacies to identify periods of water column stratification, and more.


  • Stable isotope reference curve scaled to absolute time
  • Stratabugs charts in sbg format or csv files
  • Maps and figures in scalable pdf format
  • Excel spreadsheets with the analytical results

Principal Investigators: Roel Verreussel, Alexander Houben, Renault Bouroullec, Friso Veenstra, Susanne Nelskamp, Kees Geel, Dario Ventra, TNO - Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), Utrecht, the Netherlands

November 2020 – November 2021