The Selli Level is a marker-bed in the Umbria-Marche Apennines that represe
nts the regional sedimentary expression of the Lower Aptian Oceanic Anoxic
Event la. This one to three-metre-thick interval shows a remarkable uniform
ity on a regional scale, with a green to grey marry lower part overlain by
black shales. Bulk geochemical studies and an examination of palynofacies w
ere carried out on three sections in order to characterise the distribution
and nature of the organic matter in the Selli Level which has been poorly
known hitherto. The organic content is medium (0.5 to 2.9% TOC) in the basa
l part and higher (4.5% on average, and up to 18% TOC) in the black shares.
Pyrolysis and palynological data indicate that the organic matter is mainl
y of marine origin. The geochemical characteristics of the Selli Level are
compared to other, more or less organic-rich marker-beds in the Cretaceous
succession of the Umbria-Marche Apennines. (C) 1998 Academic Press Limited.