Principles and applications of inorganic mineralogy and geochemistry in reconstructing past environments in marine basins are summarized by means of two examples from North Atlantic deep-sea drilling sites. The first approach is chronological and permits, by comparing the Hatteras and Cape Verde basins since the Oxfordian, to identify the effects of continental and marine influences, land climate and morphological evolution, alternation of tectonically active and stable periods, ocean deepening and widening stages and latitudinal migration of lithospheric plates. The second approach, more recently developed, concerns the geographic distribution of paleoenvironments during Albian time, particularly the role of the Bermuda area as a submarine barrier separating the western and eastern detrital input, and the contrast between the stable American margin that favored pedologic processes on land and the unstable African margin characterized by strong erosion, resedimentation and volcanic processes. © 1984.
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