​Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 36​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


​​Cretaceous and Cenozoic dinoflagellate cysts and other palynomorphs from the western and eastern margins of the Labrador–Baffin Seaway​​​

Robert A. Fensome, Henrik Nøhr-Hansen & Graham L. Williams

The Labrador–Baffin Seaway between Canada and Greenland is a key element in understanding the tectonic evolution of the North Atlantic region during late Mesozoic and Cenozoic times. The sedimentary rocks forming the continental margins on either side of this seaway represent a vast data source documenting the evolution of the region from the initial continental rifting to the formation of a strait linking the Atlantic and Arctic oceans. This sedimentary archive is important both for charting the geotectonic history and assessing the resource potential of the area. The study presented in Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletins 36 and 37 is a major contribution to our understanding of the development of the Labrador–Baffin Seaway. It is based on new palynological analysis of samples from 13 offshore wells on the Canadian margin and six wells from the Greenland margin, and is the first comprehensive study to present an integrated, consistent and fully documented biostratigraphic correlation across both continental margins.

This bulletin presents the formal taxonomy of the palynological record with illustrations of most taxa described herein. The systematic descriptions focus particularly on the dinoflagellate cysts: three new and five emended genera, 16 new species and six new combinations of species are proposed. A new acritarch species and a new miospore species are also described. This taxonomic documentation of the microflora forms the foundation both for detailed correlation across the Labrador–Baffin Seaway and for interpretation of changing environments and climatic conditions from Early Cretaceous to late Neogene times.

The full reference of the companion bulletin is: Nøhr-Hansen, H., Williams, G.L. & Fensome, R.A. 2016: Biostratigraphic correlation of the western and eastern margins of the Labrador–Baffin Seaway and implications for the regional geology. Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 37. Bulletin 37 will be published shortly.


New palynological analysis of samples from 13 offshore wells on the Canadian Margin and six wells on the West Greenland Margin has led to a new event biostratigraphic framework for Cretaceous–Cenozoic strata of the Labrador Sea – Davis Strait – Baffin Bay (Labrador–Baffin Seaway) region. This framework is based on about 150 dinoflagellate cyst taxa and 30 acritarch, algal, fungal and plant microfossil (mostly miospore) taxa. In the systematics we include three new genera of dinocysts (Scalenodinium, Simplicidinium and Taurodinium), 16 new species of dinocysts (Chiropteridium gilbertii, Chytroeisphaeridia hadra, Cleistosphaeridium elegantulum, Cleistosphaeridium palmatum, Dapsilidinium pseudoinsertum, Deflandrea borealis, Evittosphaerula? foraminosa, Ginginodinium? flexidentatum, Hystrichosphaeridium quadratum, Hystrichostrogylon digitus, Impletosphaeridium apodastum, Scalenodinium scalenum, Surculosphaeridium convocatum, Talladinium pellis, Taurodinium granulatum and Trithyrodinium? conservatum), four emendations of dinocyst genera (Alterbidinium, Chatangiella, Chiropteridium and Surculosphaeridium), six new combinations for dinocyst species (Alterbidinium biaperturum, Deflandrea majae, Kleithriasphaeridium mantellii, Simplicidinium insolitum, Spongodinium grossum, Spongodinium obscurum), one new acritarch species (Fromea quadrangularis), one new miospore species (Baculatisporites crenulatus) and one new combination for miospores (Tiliaepollenites crassipites). Most of the taxa included provide age information, almost exclusively last occurrences (range ‘tops’), but some are useful mainly for environmental interpretations. Collectively, they provide a powerful tool for helping to establish the geological history of the Labrador–Baffin Seaway.

The authors` addresses

R.A.F. & G.L.W.
Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic)
Natural Resources Canada, PO Box 1006, 1 Challenger Drive
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia B2Y 4A2, Canada.
Mail: rob.fensome@canada.ca

De Nationale Geologiske Undersøgelser for Danmark og Grønland
Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 København K.

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