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Integrated Paleopedology and Palynology from Alluvial Paleosols of the Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Dunvegan Formation, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada: Paleoenvironmental and Stratigraphic Implications

By
Jacob R. Mongrain
Jacob R. Mongrain
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Paul J. McCarthy
Paul J. McCarthy
Department of Geology & Geophysics, and Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5780, USA Present address: Shell Exploration and Production Company, Houston, Texas 77079-1115, USA Jacob.Mongrain@shell.com
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A. Guy Plint
A. Guy Plint
Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7, Canada
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Sarah J. Fowell
Sarah J. Fowell
Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-5780, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2013

Abstract

The Dunvegan Formation is a mid-Cretaceous alluvial plain-deltaic deposit exposed along the Rocky Mountain Foothills and Peace River Valley of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada. A multiproxy approach, combining paleosol micromorphology, geochemistry, and mineralogy with palynology, is used to reconstruct the climatic, pedogenic, and depositional history of this high-latitude setting during a greenhouse climate regime. Intrinsic features of paleosols within the Dunvegan Formation suggest a warm to cool temperate paleoclimate. These paleosols experienced multiple depositional phases superimposed on pedogenic phases that resulted in complicated compound, complex, and welded paleosol profiles. Well-preserved palynomorph assemblages within the paleosols are composed primarily of fern spores, with small percentages of gymnosperm pollen. The palynomorphs suggest a humid paleoclimate ranging from cool temperate to subtropical. The abundance of fern spores in all of the paleosol profiles suggests early successional colonization of the floodplain. Better-developed interfluve paleosols contain greater percentages of tree pollen, indicating the presence of nearby forests. Within interfluve paleosols, intervals barren of pollen coincide with sequence boundaries identified on the basis of micromorphology and geochemistry. Our combined paleopedological and palynological data sets, together with macrofloral and geochemical paleoclimate indicators, suggest that the Dunvegan alluvial-coastal plain complex probably formed under a humid, warm to cool temperate paleoclimate with a mean annual temperature (MAT) between 12 and 14° C and mean annual precipitation (MAP) between 1200 and 1300 mm yr-1. These integrated data sets also provide a better understanding of the stratigraphic development of the coastal plains.

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SEPM Special Publication

New Frontiers in Paleopedology and Terrestrial Paleoclimatology: Paleosols and Soil Surface Analog Systems

Steven G. Driese
Steven G. Driese
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Lee C. Nordt
Lee C. Nordt
Department of Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, Texas 76798-7354, USA
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
104
ISBN electronic:
9781565763036
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

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