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Calcareous nannofossils of the Boreal Lower Cretaceous: Applications in biostratigraphy and palaeoceanography

Rutledge, David Charles; (1994) Calcareous nannofossils of the Boreal Lower Cretaceous: Applications in biostratigraphy and palaeoceanography. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The marine Lower Cretaceous sediments of northern, Boreal latitudes yield diverse and well-preserved calcareous nannofossil assemblages. The calcareous nannofloras of nine core and outcrop sections (of Ryazanian-Albian age) in England, Germany, the North Sea, and Barents Sea, are examined in detail (utilising 773 samples). Dense sampling of key outcrop sections (in particular, Speeton) enables calibration of the observed nannofossil events against ammonite zones. The Barents Sea sections, which are shown to be highly condensed, yield the northernmost Lower Cretaceous nannofossils to be described. The previously chaotic taxonomy of Lower Cretaceous nannofossils is revised, and a major rationalisation of genera proposed - this involves several generic emendations, and twenty five new combinations. Two new genera, Apertasphaera and Neoparhabdolithus, and nine new species are described - Apertasphaera jakubowskii, Calculites burnettiae, Clepsilithus maculosus, Cyclagelosphaera papilla, Nannoconus inornatus, Nannoconus pseudoseptentrionalis, Rucinolithus windleyae, Tegumentum bergeni and Tubodiscus parvus. In addition, one new subspecies - Rhagodiscus angustus parvus - is described, and a number of species are split into informal varieties, to avoid biostratigraphical ambiguity. Following these revisions, the suprageneric classification is reappraised, and a new family - Family Tubodiscaceae - is proposed. An updated nannofossil zonation scheme for the Ryazanian to Aptian of the Boreal area is presented; this comprises twenty two zones (labelled BCl to BC22, in ascending order), and a number of additional subzones. Biostratigraphical resolution in the Hauterivian- Barremian is comparable with current ammonite zonations, and enables detailed sequence stratigraphical interpretation. Following the publication of new data from Tethyan sections (Bergen, 1994), the potential for direct inter-regional correlation is investigated; the nannofossil datums utilised generally support traditional, ammonite-based correlations but suggest that, in Boreal areas, the Hauterivian-Barremian boundary should be placed at the top of the variabilis ammonite Zone, slightly higher than its current position. Finally, the palaeoceanographical applications of Lower Cretaceous nannofossils are considered, in the light of new data on modern nannoplankton. Surface water temperature is believed to have been the principal factor controlling species distribution, throughout the history of nannoplankton; the importance of surface water fertility has probably been exaggerated in previous palaeoceanographical studies, which have been hampered by broad taxonomic concepts. There remains much to be done, in deducing the environmental preferences of Cretaceous nannofossils, but the potential for their application to palaeoenvironmental studies is good.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Calcareous nannofossils of the Boreal Lower Cretaceous: Applications in biostratigraphy and palaeoceanography
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108862
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