Late Campanian Climatic-Continental Weathering Assessment and Its Influence on Source Rocks Deposition in Southern Tethys, Egypt

Douaa Fathy, Rainer Abart, Michael Wagreich, Susanne Gier, Mohamed S. Ahmed, Mabrouk Sami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Climatic variability and silicate weathering are remarkable features throughout the Late Cretaceous period. Late Campanian black shale is considered the most significant silicate source rock in the southern Tethys. Here, we used mineralogical and geochemical data to evaluate the continental weathering intensity and climatic changes as well as their impact on the deposition of the Late Campanian black shale in the Western Desert of Egypt. The studied black shale has a relatively high concentration of Al, Fe, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ga, Co, Cr, and V when compared to the average Post-Archean Australian Shales (PAAS). The studied samples have elevated values of Ga/Rb, and low values of Rb/Sr, Sr/Cu, and K2O/Al2O3, supporting the deposition of Late Campanian shale under warm/humid conditions. Furthermore, the average chemical index of alteration (CIA, 78.6%), chemical index of weathering (CIW; 83.8%), C-value (1.26), Fe/Mn (408), and Mg/Ca (1.54) reveal the predominance of warm/humid climate. The chemical weathering proxies (CIA, CIW, PIA, LnAl2O3/Na2O) and ACNK diagram imply that the Late Campanian samples were exposed to a moderate grade of chemical alteration. The deposition of black shale occurred under high seawater salinity conditions based on Sr/Ba (Avg = 3.6). Additionally, the weathering indices are well correlated with paleoclimatic proxies, suggesting that weathering intensity is strongly affected by paleoclimate. However, chemical weathering during the Late Campanian has a weak influence on oceanic nutrient fluxes. No substantial impact of the paleoclimate during the deposition of Late Campanian black shale on water salinity was reported.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Abu Tartur
  • black shale
  • geochemistry
  • greenhouse climate
  • nutrients
  • paleoceanography
  • salinity
  • source rocks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


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