Dinoflagellate Cyst Biostratigraphy, Palynofacies and Paleoenvironmental Analysis of the Maastrichtian and Basal Danian, Brazon River, Texas



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This study aims to document the dinoflagellate cyst biostratigraphy and paleoenvironmental record of the Maastrichtian Neylandville and Corsicana Formations and the lower part of the Danian Kincaid Formation from the Brazos River, Texas. Rock samples are exposed to standard palynological methods for biostratigraphic interpretations. The quantitative data collected from palynological samples are combined with ?13C and ?18O stable isotope geochemistry and TEX86 and BIT Index organic geochemistry data for paleoenvironmental interpretations.

Biostratigraphically important species of dinoflagellates divide the section into three intervals. Interval 1 occurs within the Neylandville Formation, and the presence of Alterbidinium acutulum, Xenascus ceratioides and Isabelidinium cooksoniae indicate that this interval is not younger than early Maastrichtian. Interval 2 represents the Corsicana Formation. The presence of the late Maastrichtian species Disphaerogena carposphaeropsis, Palynodinium grallator and Deflandrea galeata at the base of the Corsicana Formation indicate that this interval is of late Maastrichtian age. Interval 3 occurs within the Kincaid Formation. The presence of Carpetalla cornuta and Damassadinium californicum at the base of the Kincaid Formation indicates that this interval is of Danian age. Previously published Gulf of Mexico palynology studies, as well as planktonic foraminifera and nannoplankton data confirm the age assignments of the studied interval.

Dinoflagellate species assemblages increase in diversity upwards from Interval 1 to Interval 2, and then show a small decrease above the K-Pg boundary within Interval 3, indicating that the K-Pg event was not catastrophic for the dinoflagellates. The Cerodinium spp. and Spiniferites spp. complex comprise a large proportion of the species within the section. High abundance peaks of Glaphyrocysta spp., Cribroperidinium spp., and Yolkinigymnium lanceolatum occur within Interval 2.

Two intervals in the section are dominated by peridinioid dinoflagellates, measured by the Peridinioid/Gonyaulacoid (P/G) ratio. The first one occurs within Interval 2 and contains peaks of the P/G ratio that correlate with increases in ?13C, suggestive of an increase in paleoproductivity. Two more peaks occur within Interval 3. Bottom water ?18O temperatures determined from benthic foraminifera and sea surface temperatures determined from TEX86 organic geochemistry show an overall cooling trend from Early Maastrichtian to the K-Pg boundary.