Dinoflagellate cyst stratigraphy and palaeoecology of the Pliocene in northern Belgium, southern North Sea Basin
Dinoflagellate cysts and other palynomorphs from the Pliocene Kattendijk and Lillo formations, exposed in two temporary outcrops in northern Belgium, provide new information on the biostratigraphic position and sequence stratigraphic interpretation of these units. Dinoflagellate cysts from the Kattendijk Formation indicate an age between about 5.0 Ma and 4.7–4.4 Ma (early Early Pliocene) in our sections, confirming a correlation with standard sequence 3.4 and implying a slightly greater age than the Ramsholt Member of the Coralline Crag Formation of eastern England. The unconformity at the base of the Kattendijk Formation was not seen, but presumably correlates with sequence boundary Me2 at 5.73 Ma. The overlying Lillo Formation is late Early Pliocene or early Late Pliocene (c. 4.2–2.6 Ma) in age, and the unconformity at its base may be correlated with sequence boundary Za2 at 4.04 Ma or Pia1 at 3.21 Ma. The Oorderen Sands and superjacent Kruisschans Sands members (Lillo Formation) are both part of the same depositional cycle. They were probably deposited before 2.74 Ma, and certainly before the onset of Northern Hemisphere cooling at c. 2.6 Ma. Evidence from dinoflagellate cysts indicates that both a shelly unit at the base of the Lillo Formation and the lower part of the overlying Oorderen Sands were deposited during a conspicuously cool climatic phase, with warmer temperatures returning during later deposition of the Oorderen Sands and Kruisschans Sands members. Many dinoflagellate cyst and acritarch species are reported here for the first time from the southern North Sea Basin. Selenopemphix conspicua (de Verteuil & Norris, 1992) stat. nov. is proposed.(Received December 5 2002)
(Revised November 18 2003)
(Accepted December 23 2003)
Key Words: palynology; dinoflagellate cysts; Pliocene; Belgium; North Sea.
c1 Author for correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
p1 Present address: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, UK.