Planktonic foraminiferal biostratigraphy and lithology of the Upper Cretaceous (upper Campanian-Maastrichtian) and Palaeogene succession of the Palmyrides (Syria)

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Vlasta Premec-Fućek
Morana Hernitz Kučenjak
Gabrijela Pecimotika


An upper Campanian to upper Oligocene stratigraphic succession has been examined from six deep exploration wells in the Palmyrides area of Syria. Most of the sedimentary succession contains rich and well to moderately preserved planktonic foraminiferal assemblages that enable successful age determination. The upper Campanian and Maastrichtian planktonic fauna is highly diverse with domination of warm water taxa such as Globotruncana aegyptiaca, Gansserina gansseri, Globotruncanella havanensis, Globotruncanita angulata and Pseudotextularia elegans. The most dramatic turnover occurred across the Cretaceous/Palaeocene boundary when most planktonic foraminiferal species became extinct. The oldest Palaeocene planktonic foraminiferal assemblage, rich in the number of specimens, but not very diverse, includes the following species: Eoglobigerina eobulloides, Globanomalina archeocompressa, Chiloguembelina morsei, Woodringina claytonensis and Parasubbotina pseudobulloides. The late Palaeocene is marked by origination of the morozovellids, acarininids and globanomalinids, while the early Eocene is characterized by a tropical assemblage, dominated by muricate species, and by intensive speciation of Acarinina and Subbotina in the latest part. Most of these species continue into the middle Eocene and become a significant component of the planktonic community. The middle Eocene is characterized by intensive speciation and domination of warm water genera such as Acarinina, Morozovelloides, and to a lesser degree Turborotalia, Globigerinatheka and Hantkenina. The middle/late Eocene boundary is marked by double extinction of the last muricate taxa Acarinina mcgowrani and Morozovelloides crasssatus, which indicate a variable climate, water column instability, and loss of surface habitats. In contrast, Turborotalia and Globigerinateheka become more important in the late Eocene. The Eocene/Oligocene boundary is marked by the extinction of most warm water taxa including Turborotalia cerroazulensis group, Hantkenina, Globigerinatheka and some subbotinids. The beginning of the early Oligocene is indicated by the domination of cool water taxa such as Dentoglobigerina, Globorotaloides, Tenuitella and Chiloguembelina. Speciation of the spinose surface dweller Ciperoella ciperoensis group reflects warming in the late Oligocene. The combined observations of lithology with the diversity and composition of planktonic foraminifera assemblages indicate that the Palmyrides area in Syria was a Tethyan bioprovince with a tropical to subtropical climate from the late Campanian to the end of the Eocene with deposition in deep sea environments (upper bathyal to outer shelf). In contrast, Oligocene deposits and their microfossil content suggest temperate to warm climate conditions and sedimentation in middle to inner shelf environments.


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