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Abstract

The chalk succession of N.W. Europe provides a unique record of the evolution of benthic foraminifera over a time span of ∼ 30 Myr. While the chalk environment cannot be portrayed as uniform over this period of time, it was remarkably constant. Indeed, the clay-rich lower part of the Cenomanian succession is transitional from the underlying Gault Clay Formation (of Middle and Late Albian age), extending still further the range of this environmental uniformity. It is not surprising, therefore, that the benthic foraminifera give us a wonderful example of gradualistic evolution through this interval, punctuated by occasional “events”.

While the lineages of almost every genus recorded in the Late Cretaceous can be traced through the chalk succession, a number have provided quite detailed examples of well-documented evolutionary lineages. The most striking are the lineages of Arenobulimina, Gavelinella(and related taxa), Stensiöina, and Bolivinoides. All of these taxa have been used in every published zonation of the European Cretaceous based on benthic foraminifera. They have also been used extensively in applied stratigraphy. Arenobulimina and Gavelinella were used in the micropaleontological work (both site-investigation phase and construction phase) for the Channel Tunnel, while Gavelinella and Stensiöina were used in the site-investigation work for the Thames Barrier. In recent years Stensiöina, Bolivinoides, and many of the gavelinellids have been used in the creation of zonal schemes used in directional drilling of the chalk reservoirs in the North Sea Basin.

Geologic Problem Solving with Microfossils: A Volume in Honor of Garry D. Jones

SEPM Special Publication No. 93, Copyright © 2009

SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), ISBN 978-1-56576-137-7, p. 233–249.

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