Calcareous nannofossil stratigraphy has been investigated in Lower Cretaceous Italian sections at Gorgo a Cerbara, Presale and Frontale (all in the Umbrian Apennines) and at Cismon (Southern Alps). A modified sample preparation technique has allowed a thorough stratigraphic study of the well-lithified Maiolica limestone and although nannofossil preservation is generally quite poor, the major Valanginian to Aptian marker species can be detected. Nine nannofossil events can be determined and correlated to magnetic stratigraphies previously established in these sections. Nannofossil stratigraphy confirms most magnetostratigraphic correlations made between sections and allows a more precise correlation of magnetic Chrons M-0 to M-11 with the Valanginian, Hauterivian, Barremian and Aptian stages. The results obtained differ considerably from previous timescales. Nannofossil events recorded in the various sections may be time-transgressive by as much as one magnetic chron, probably due to differential preservation.
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