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Foraminifera from flint meals and ‘rotten’ flints: the choice of an eclectic

H. W. Bailey
H. W. Bailey
Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd, Harvest House, Cranborne Road, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire EN6 3JF, UK
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C. J. Clayton
C. J. Clayton
Geochemistry Consultant, High Bank House, Eardiston, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire WR15 8JJ, UK
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January 01, 2010


The recovery of well-preserved microfossil remains, both as flint meal faunas and from ‘rotten flints’, intrigued Dennis Curry to such a degree that he set about thoroughly investigating their occurrences, which were otherwise largely overlooked by other micropalaeontologists. His analyses were quantitative and from geographically widespread locations, lending them a significance that is still valid. His results proved that a greater abundance of planktonic foraminif-eral taxa is seen in flint meals when compared with ‘normal’ chalk samples from the same strati-graphic levels and that higher abundances are recorded from the Yorkshire samples when compared with those from southern England. He speculated on the factors causing differential preservation between chalk and flint meal microfaunas, the origins of flint and also on the strati-graphic and palaeogeographic distribution of planktonic foraminifera. Similarly, analysis of Upper Cretaceous foraminiferal associations derived from ‘rotten flints’ obtained from Palaeogene sediments helped him to formulate his ideas on the post-Cretaceous erosion of Upper Cretaceous Chalks around southern England. Curry's 1982 hypothesis that the greater abundance of micro-fauna in flint meals results from selective preservation has proved to be correct. The selective replacement of microfossils, and particularly foraminifera, is the earliest stage of flint formation and predates a phase of large-scale carbonate dissolution and opal-CT lepisphere precipitation and subsequent cementation with interstitial chalcedony. Hence, variably silicified microfossils are preserved in the poorly silicified chalks associated with flint meals and particularly in carious flints, where the preserved fauna is protected from any subsequent dissolution that affected the host sediment.

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The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications

Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: a Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912–2001)

Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2010




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