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ABSTRACT

Palynological assemblages from the Al Khlata Formation (Oman) and the Unayzah Formation (Saudi Arabia) are correlated for the first time. Assemblages are also compared with those of Carboniferous-Permian glaciogene rocks in South America and Australia and with other assemblages in the Middle East. The assemblages of the upper part of the Amal-9 well and those of the studied intervals of the Amal-6 and Jufarah-1 (JFRH-1) wells are correlated with the upper part of Australian Stage 2 and the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone of the Chacoparana Basin, Argentina. Assemblages from the lower part of Amal-9 can be correlated with the lower part of Stage 2 (without Granulatisporites confluens) and possibly with the Potonieisporites-Lundbladispora Zone of the Chacoparana Basin.

INTRODUCTION

Al Khlata Formation

The Al Khlata Formation (the lower formation of the Haushi Group (Hughes-Clarke, 1988)) was deposited in a large basin which occupies much of the southern part of Oman south of the Oman Mountains; the northwestern extent of the basin, beneath the Rub ’Al-Khali, is not well known (Hughes-Clarke, 1988) and its eastern and southern limits are obscure due to erosion related to the Huqf axis high in eastern Oman. The formation is a complex of clastics, of great lateral variation in thickness and lithology (Hughes-Clarke, 1988), which is considered to have a glacial origin (Braakman et al., 1982; Al-Belushi et al., 1996). The basal part of the formation consists largely of diamictite (Besems and Schuurman, 1987; Hughes-Clarke, 1988; Alsharhan et al., 1993; Al-Belushi et al., 1996); the middle part is dominated by sandstones, pebbly sandstones, siltstones, shales and varved sediments with dropstones; these latter deposits are interpreted as glacio-fluvial and glacio-lacustrine sediments (Levell et al., 1988).

No macrofossils have been recorded from the Al Khlata Formation. Permian marine fossils, however, occur in the lower part of the overlying Gharif Formation (Hughes-Clarke, 1988). Miller and Furnish (1957) suggested a “Middle Permian” date for ammonoids from Haushi and Wadi Lusaba but gave no details of stratigraphy. Hudson and Sudbury (1959) dated the fauna of a marine limestone above the Al Khlata Formation at Mifrid in the Haushi outcrop area as Sakmarian-Artinskian. Brachiopod evidence (Angiolini in Broutin et al. (1995)) suggests an early late Sakmarian (early Sterlitamakian) age for the lower Saiwan Formation (equivalent to the lower member of the Gharif Formation).

For the Al Khlata Formation itself, only dating using palynostratigraphic schemes originating from the Gondwana region have been employed (Besems and Schuurman, 1987; Love, 1994; Stephenson, 1998). Besems and Schuurman (1987) and Love (1994) considered the formation to be late Westphalian to Sakmarian in age, mainly by comparison with the biozones of Kemp et al. (1977). Stephenson (1998), working on sub-surface core samples, suggested an Asselian-Sakmarian age for sediments in the upper part of the formation in the Amal-6 well in southern Oman, mainly on the basis of the occurrence of taxa indicative of the Granulatisporites confluens Oppel Zone of Foster and Waterhouse (1988).

Unayzah Formation

The term “Unayzah Formation” has not been used consistently with respect to its upper boundary (Ferguson and Chambers, 1991; McGillivray and Husseini, 1992; Al-Jallal, 1995; Senalp and Al-Duaiji, 1995). Saudi Aramco geologists use the term for beds beneath the first transgressive marine shale unit of the Khuff Formation, thus excluding transitional beds (the “basal Khuff clastics”), which A1-Laboun (1986) included in the Unayzah Formation. In the present study these transitional beds are excluded from the Unayzah Formation.

The Unayzah Formation rests on the pre-Unayzah Unconformity and as such overlies Devonian to Precambrian rocks (Al-Laboun, 1987). The Khuff Formation lies disconformably on the Unayzah Formation (McGillivray and Husseini, 1992). The latter authors consider the formation to be present, at sub-surface, as far east as the Arabian Gulf, and C. Heine (unpublished report, Saudi Aramco, 1998) considered it to be genetically related to the Al Khlata Formation and contiguous with the latter beneath the Rub ’Al-Khali (Figure 1).

Figure 1:

Palaeozoic outcrops on the Arabian Peninsula, and the location of wells discussed in this study.

Figure 1:

Palaeozoic outcrops on the Arabian Peninsula, and the location of wells discussed in this study.

At outcrop, the Unayzah Formation consists of a red-bed sequence of poorly sorted conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, mudstone, caliche and nodular anhydrite which is regarded as deposited in coalescing alluvial fans, braided streams and playa lakes under arid conditions (Senalp and Al-Duaiji, 1995).

In the sub-surface, the formation is divided into informal lower and upper units (McGillivray and Husseini, 1992). The latter authors considered the upper sequence (Unayzah A) to be of alluvial or fluviatile origin, but C. Heine (unpublished report, Saudi Aramco, 1998) considered it to be of aeolian origin. The lower sequence (Unayzah B) is coarser and wholly of fluviatile origin (McGillivray and Husseini, 1992).

Ages assigned to the Unayzah Formation units range from Late Carboniferous to Late Permian, according to the definition used for the upper boundary of the unit. On the basis of plant macrofossils from the Unayzah Plant Bed, El-Khayal et al. (1980) suggested a Westphalian to Early Permian age but conceded that the age could extend to the Late Permian. El-Khayal and Wagner (1985) and Lemoigne (1981) suggested that the Unayzah Plant Bed fossils indicated a Late Permian age.

On palynological evidence, Van der Eem (in McGillivray and Husseini, 1992) considered the formation to be Early Permian to Kazanian in age in the Hawtah area (central Saudi Arabia), and Early to Middle Carboniferous age east of Hawtah.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Core samples from wells Amal-6 and Amal-9 (Oman) and Jufarah-1 (Saudi Arabia) were provided by Petroleum Development Oman and Saudi Aramco, respectively. All sample depths in this paper are given in feet (ft).

The preparation of strew mounts for palynological analysis involved well-established procedures of crushing and hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid treatments (Wood et al., 1996). Post-hydrofluoric acid organic residues were oxidised with Schultze’s Solution and dilute nitric acid.

Counts of a minimum of 250 specimens per slide were made initially and slides were then scanned for accessory taxa. Preservation of the Amal-9 and Amal-6 assemblages is uniformly good; those of the Jufarah-1 well are more poorly preserved and more thermally mature.

The Appendix gives the full author citations of selected taxa recorded. Taxa which were not recorded but which are relevant to the discussion are given author citations in the text. Where the name of a taxon appears more than once, the generic name in the second and subsequent occurrences is abbreviated where appropriate. In the case of taxa such as Portalites gondwanensis and Plicatipollenites gondwanensis, full names are given throughout the text.

STRATIGRAPHIC PALYNOLOGY

Palynology of Amal-9 well

The Amal-9 well penetrated the Al Khlata Formation in southwestern Oman (Figure 1). The examined sequence spans 728 ft and was studied from four, relatively short, cored intervals (cores 5 to 8). Palynomorph assemblages from 48 samples contain 205 species. Figure 2 shows the abundance and distribution of stratigraphically significant taxa.

Figure 2:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

Figure 2:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

The palynological characteristics of the assemblages from the four cores suggest a subdivision into two stratigraphic associations. The lower three cores (8 (lowest), 7 and 6) are dominated by trilete spores of the genera Horriditriletes and Granulatisporites, and by members of the Densoisporites solidus-Lundbladispora braziliensis-Lundbladispora riobonitensis (D-L-L) complex. Less quantitatively important are zonate-camerate spores of the genera Vallatisporites and Cristatisporites, and laevigate trilete spores of the genera Punctatisporites and Calamospora. Radially symmetrical monosaccate constitute about 2-5% of the assemblages, and non-taeniate and taeniate bisaccate pollen are rare. Assemblages from cores 8, 7 and 6 are remarkably homogeneous in character, the only trends discernible being a slight increase in the abundance of Microbaculispora (mainly in the form of M. tentula), and a corresponding decrease in the D-L-L complex uphole, from core 8 to core 6. A small number of reworked specimens are consistently present in these lower cores.

Assemblages from the highest core (core 5) differ from the lower ones in having significant numbers of costate and taeniate pollen and a greater abundance of Cycadopites cymbatus. Members of the D-L-L complex become rare in the upper part of core 5. Some stratigraphically significant taxa become relatively important in core 5, notably Granulatisporites confluens. Most of the taxa present in the assemblages of cores 8, 7 and 6 are also present in core 5, though in lower numbers. The earliest and latest occurrences of stratigraphically significant species are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

First and last appearance (uphole) data for stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

First Appearance Datum (FAD)Last Appearance Datum (LAD)
Core 5
Barakarites rotatusPortalites gondwanensis
Hamiapollenites fusiformisLycospora pusilla
Vittatina costabilis
Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus
Vittatina cf. scutata
Core 6
Vittatina subsaccataAncistrospora verrucosa
Granulatisporites confluensSpelaeotriletes triangulus
Striatoabieites multistriatus
Core 7
Microbaculispora grandegranulata
Limitisporites rotundus
Alisporites indarraensis
Leiotriletes virkkii
Protohaploxypinus amplus
Core 8
Psomospora detecta
First Appearance Datum (FAD)Last Appearance Datum (LAD)
Core 5
Barakarites rotatusPortalites gondwanensis
Hamiapollenites fusiformisLycospora pusilla
Vittatina costabilis
Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus
Vittatina cf. scutata
Core 6
Vittatina subsaccataAncistrospora verrucosa
Granulatisporites confluensSpelaeotriletes triangulus
Striatoabieites multistriatus
Core 7
Microbaculispora grandegranulata
Limitisporites rotundus
Alisporites indarraensis
Leiotriletes virkkii
Protohaploxypinus amplus
Core 8
Psomospora detecta

Palynology of Amal-6 well

The Amal-6 well penetrated the Al Khlata Formation 4 kilometres (km) northeast of well Amal-9 (Figure 1). The interval studied spans 100 ft (between 3,824.0 and 3,924.0 ft); 12 samples were examined and the assemblages recovered contain 131 taxa. The stratigraphic ranges and abundances of stratigraphically significant taxa are shown in Figure 3. The assemblages are dominated by trilete spores of the D-L-L complex, the cheilocardioid complex (Microbaculispora tentula, Horriditriletes ramosus and Granulatisporites confluens) and zonate-camerate spores of the genera Vallatisporites and Cristatisporites. Taeniate and non-taeniate bisaccate pollen and Vittatina are rare, usually comprising less than 5% of each assemblage. Radially symmetrical monosaccate pollen occur in low but consistent numbers throughout the sequence. Two samples (from 3,923.0 ft and 3,924.0 ft, in core 8) yielded very sparse, poorly preserved assemblages; counts of 250 palynomorphs were not possible in these assemblages which are dominated by Calamospora spp., Punctatisporites spp., Vallatisporites spp., and Cristatisporites spp. and lack taeniate and costate pollen.

Figure 3:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-6 well, Oman.

Figure 3:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-6 well, Oman.

Palynology of Jufarah-1 well

The well is in central Saudi Arabia (Figure 1); six samples from cores 2 and 3 spanning 25.9 ft were studied from the Unayzah Formation. The assemblages contain 102 taxa; the ranges of stratigraphically significant taxa are shown in Figure 4. The assemblages are dominated by zonate-camerate spores of the D-L-L complex, the cheilocardioid complex (M. tentula, H. ramosus and G. confluens) and small monolete spores assignable to Punctatosporites granifer. Taeniate and non-taeniate bisaccate pollen and Vittatina are rare and usually constitute less than 3% of each assemblage. Radially symmetrical monosaccate pollen occur in low but consistent numbers throughout the sequence.

Figure 4:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Jufarah-1 well, Saudi Arabia.

Figure 4:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Jufarah-1 well, Saudi Arabia.

CORRELATION

Correlation of Amal-6 and Jufarah-1 with Amal-9

Assemblages from core 8 of Amal-6 are difficult to correlate with those of Amal-9 because of their low diversity. Samples yielding these assemblages consisted of diamictites and glaciogene sandstones whose depositional environments are unlikely to yield rich palynological assemblages. Core 8 of Amal-6 assemblages appear to lack taeniate pollen possibly because of poor preservation, and contain a single specimen of Anapiculatisporites concinnus which in Amal-9 was recorded only from cores 8 and 7, in assemblages with very low numbers of taeniate bisaccate pollen. These similarities suggest that core 8 of Amal-6 may correlate with cores 8 and 7 of Amal-9 (Figure 5).

Figure 5:

Diagrammatic correlation of studied intervals with Middle Eastern, South American and Australian sequences.

Figure 5:

Diagrammatic correlation of studied intervals with Middle Eastern, South American and Australian sequences.

The relative abundances of taeniate bisaccate pollen, M. tentula, G. confluens and Vittatina spp. suggest that cores 5, 4 and 2 of Amal-6 are correlatable with core 5 of Amal-9; this is supported by the recovery, from these cores of Vittatina costabilis, Barakarites rotatus, Vittatina cf. scutata, Vittatina subsaccata and Hamiapollenites fusiformis. However, assemblages from cores 5, 4 and 2 of Amal-6 contain sporadic occurrences of Lycospora pusilla, Ancistrospora verrucosa and Spelaeotriletes triangulus. In Amal-9, A. verrucosa and S. triangulus are present only in cores 8 to 6 and L. pusilla has a solitary occurrence in core 5. The presence of these species may therefore indicate that Amal-6 cores 5, 4 and 2 correlate with a level below core 5 but above core 6 of Amal-9 (Figure 5).

A similarity between Jufarah-1 and Amal-9 (core 5) is suggested by the presence in both sections of G. confluens, V. costabilis, Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus, Microbaculispora grandegranulata, M. mediogranulata, Brevitriletes parmatus and Alisporites indarraensis. This is supported by the absence from Jufarah-1 of Ancistrospora inordinata, A. verrucosa and S. triangulus which are present only in cores 8, 7 and 6 of Amal-9.

The relative abundance of taeniate bisaccate pollen is considerably greater in the Amal-9 core 5 assemblages than in those of Jufarah-1. Kemp et al. (1977) indicated that the taeniate bisaccate pollen content of assemblages increased upsequence in post-glacial sediments in Australia, and Balme (1980) has suggested that such changes may occur world-wide. Assuming that local facies controls are not responsible for the paucity of such pollen in Jufarah-1, it is possible that its assemblages are older than those of core 5 of Amal-9.

Correlation of the Amal-9 sequence with sequences outside Arabia

The stratigraphic range of the interval studied in Amal-9, together with the high diversity and well preserved nature of assemblages recovered, allow correlations with Carboniferous-Permian successions in other parts of the Middle East and elsewhere.

Oman

Besems and Schuurman (1987) investigated the palynostratigraphy of the Al Khlata Formation using outcrop samples from the Mifrid and Al Khlata localities in the Wadi Al Khlata outcrop area, 200 km northeast of Amal-9 (Figure 1). Taxon range and qualitative details of five sections are given by Besems and Schuurman (1987) though taxa are mainly identified only to generic level which makes direct correlation with Amal-9 assemblages difficult. A number of the specimens figured by Besems and Schuurman (1987: Plate 1, Figure 3; Plate 1, Figure 6) are similar and possibly identical with specimens here assigned respectively to Anapiculatisporites concinnus and Dibolisporites disfacies. In addition, many of the figured specimens of Vallatisporites and Cristatisporites (Besems and Schuurman, 1987: Plate 2, Figures 1 to 7) are similar and possibly identical with specimens here assigned to Vallatisporites arcuatus and Cristatisporites crassilabratus.

Assemblages from Amal-9 cores 8 to 6 are most similar to those of Assemblage Group A of Besems and Schuurman (1987) because trilete zonate spores, Microbaculispora, Horriditriletes, and monosaccate pollen are relatively common, and taeniate and non-taeniate bisaccate pollen are rare and occur inconsistently (Figure 5). Besems and Schuurman (1987) compared Assemblage Group A with Unit II of Kemp et al. (1977) and on this basis suggested a late Stephanian age for the biozone.

Assemblage Group B of Besems and Schuurman (1987) differs from the preceding zone in having more abundant taeniate and non-taeniate bisaccate pollen. Cycadopites cymbatus and Vittatina spp. are present but rare, and trilete zonate spores continue to be common. Although Besems and Schuurman (1987) do not give quantitative details of the taeniate bisaccate pollen, the percentage abundance of Protohaploxypinus spp. given in range charts is 5-24.9% which is similar to the mean taeniate pollen abundance of core 5 of Amal-9. Cycadopites cymbatus is, however, more abundant in core 5 than in Assemblage Group B.

Without more detail it is difficult to satisfactorily correlate core 5 with Assemblage Group В. Assemblage Group В was correlated by Besems and Schuurman (1987) with Western Australian Unit III on the basis of the abundance of bisaccate pollen within the zone.

Assemblages from Mifrid contain up to 50% taeniate bisaccate pollen (Besems and Schuurman, 1987). Though few details are given it seems likely that, on this fact alone, the Mifrid assemblages are younger than those of Amal-9. The Sakmarian-Artinskian age assigned to the overlying beds is an upper correlative limit for the Amal-9 assemblages.

Love (1994) documented four palynological assemblages from the Haushi Group. Details of the assemblages are few so that close comparisons cannot be made. The lowest Potonieisporites Assemblage is quantitatively and qualitatively unlike the Amal-9 assemblages in that Punctatisporites and monosaccate pollen are the dominant groups. The presence of M. tentula and H. ramosus, which are considered by Powis (1984) to be indicative of Stage 2, may suggest that the Potonieisporites Assemblage is younger than suggested by Love (1994). Love (1994) correlated his succeeding Microbaculispora Assemblage with Assemblage Group A of Besems and Schuurman (1987). The base of this assemblage is the level at which Microbaculispora and Horriditriletes increase in abundance (though the increase is not quantified by Love). Rare taeniate bisaccate pollen and common Horriditriletes and Microbaculispora are characteristic of the lower cores of Amal-9 and the Microbaculispora Assemblage. Rare Cycadopites cymbatus occurs only in the upper part of the Microbaculispora Assemblage whereas in the Amal-9 sequence it is present throughout cores 8 to 6. This suggests a broad correlation of the upper part of the Microbaculispora Assemblage Zone with the lower cores of Amal-9 (Figure 5).

The succeeding Cycadopites cymbatus Assemblage of Love (1994) has similarities with the assemblages of cores 6 and 5 of Amal-9 in that it contains abundant C. cymbatus, common Horriditriletes and Microbaculispora and rare Vittatina. Other species appearing are Kingiacolpites subcircularis Tiwari and Moiz, 1971, and Striatopodocarpites cancellatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1963. These species do not occur in the Amal-9 assemblages. S. cancellatus is characteristic of the S. fusus Biozone of the Collie Basin (Backhouse, 1991); equivalent to the upper part of Eastern Australian Stage 3a, and its presence may therefore indicate that the C. cymbatus Assemblage is younger than those of core 5. The previous records of K. subcircularis suggest that it is indicative of the Barakar Stage in India (Tiwari and Moiz, 1971) and may also indicate a younger age (although its presence in the C. cymbatus Assemblage may be due to caving (P. Osterloff, personal communication, 1999).

Saudi Arabia

Very few studies of Carboniferous-Permian palynostratigraphy have been carried out in Saudi Arabia; published work includes that of Stump and Van der Eem (1995) and McClure (1980).

McClure (1980) reported very limited details of assemblages from boreholes in the Wajid area of southwestern Saudi Arabia. Drill hole numbers 2, 3, and 4 contained taxa which occur in assemblages of Amal-9 including Cordaitina spp., Cristatisporites sp., Cyclogranisporites parvulus (sic, ?Cyclogranisporites parvus), Florinites spp., ?Plicatipollenites gondwanensis (recorded as Nuskoisporites gondwanensis, not figured by McClure), Potonieisporites novicus, Punctatisporites gretensis, Leiotriletes directus and Complexisporites polymorphus. These taxa indicate some similarity between assemblages but they are mainly long-ranging in Amal-9 and of little correlative value.

Stump and Van der Eem (1995) described assemblages from the Juwayl Formation in the Wajid area. The lower parts of the formation contain Vallatisporites, Cirratriradites, Cristatisporites, Densosporites, Radiizonates and Cycadopites cf. cymbatus while the upper parts contain Protohaploxypinus, Vittatina and Barakarites rotatus. While these details indicate similarity, they do not permit a confident correlation.

Libya

The palynostratigraphic scheme of Loboziak and Clayton (1988) is based on several wells in northeastern Libya. The base of the stratigraphically highest zone, the Strotersporites indicus-Protohaploxypinus goraiensis (IG) Biozone, is defined as the level of the first consistent appearance uphole of taeniate bisaccate pollen and as such is related to Eastern Australian Stage 2 (sensu Kemp et al., 1977) and the Cristatisporites Zone of the Chacoparana Basin whose bases are defined by the same criterion (see later discussion). The

IG Biozone is represented in the A1-14 and A1-NC92 boreholes, where it contains, in common with the Amal-9 assemblages: Spelaeotriletes triangulus, Barakarites spp., Strotersporites indicus, Limitisporites spp., Plicatipollenites gondwanensis (as P. malabarensis), Cannanoropollis janakii and Protohaploxypinus amplus (as Protohaploxypinus goraiensis). On the basis of these occurrences, cores 8 to 6 of Amal-9 broadly correlate with the IG Biozone (Figure 5). Many of the species used in this correlation are, however, extremely rare in the Amal-9 and the correlation is, therefore, tentative. Percentage abundances of taeniate pollen from the Libyan sequences are not given by Loboziak and Clayton (1988) and comparison with core 5 cannot be made on this basis. However, the absence of Vittatina spp. from the Libyan assemblages suggests that the IG Biozone may be older than the assemblages of core 5.

South America (Chacoparana Basin)

Russo et al. (1980) and Archangelsky et al. (1980) established a palynostratigraphic scheme for the Chacoparana Basin which was subsequently refined by Vergel (1993). The Potonieisporites-Lundbladispora (PL) Zone is characterised by a dominance of trilete spores which constitute 60% of typical assemblages (Archangelsky et al., 1980). The lower boundary of the succeeding Cristatisporites Zone is placed where taeniate pollen grains begin to show a constant uphole presence (Archangelsky et al., 1980; Russo et al., 1980), and is therefore closely related to that of Stage 2 (sensu Kemp et al., 1977, see later discussion). Archangelsky et al. (1980) noted that many of the taxa of the PL Zone continue into the Cristatisporites Zone and that the boundary between the two zones is gradational. The upper limit of the Cristatisporites Zone is marked by the sharp uphole increase in the abundance of taeniate pollen (to approximately 80%, Archangelsky et al., 1980). The succeeding zone is the Striatites Zone.

On the basis of these broad palynological characteristics, the Amal-9 assemblages correlate with the PL and Cristatisporites Zones. Taeniate pollen grains occur consistently in cores 7-5 and are present only sporadically in core 8. This suggests that core 8 is assignable to the PL Zone and cores 7-5 are assignable to the Cristatisporites Zone. This correlation is supported by overall quantitative similarity between the assemblages of core 8 and the PL Zone and that of cores 7 to 5 and the Cristatisporites Zone (Archangelsky et al., 1980). The abundance of taeniate pollen in core 5 does not reach levels characteristic of the Striatites Zone.

Plate 1:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Pachytriletes densus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, H21, FM 1751 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Dibolisporites disfacies Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, P46/1, FM 1752.

  • (c) Lycospora pusilla (Ibrahim) Somers, 1972. Amal-9, 4,620.0 ft, N44, FM 1753.

  • (d) Verrucosisporites andersonii (Anderson) Backhouse, 1988. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, L23/2, FM 1754.

  • (e, f) Granulatisporites confluens Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. (e) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, S39, FM 1755, lateral compression. (f) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, M27/2, FM 1756 (distal focus, non Nomarski).

  • (g) Raistrickia accinta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, D19/4, FM 1757.

  • (h) Brevitriletes leptoacaina Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H30/4, FM 1758.

  • (i) Rattiganispora apiculata Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,766.0 ft, J26/2, FM 1759.

  • (j) Verrucosisporites aspratilis Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H19/1, FM 1760.

  • (k) Densoisporites solidus Segroves, 1970. Amal-9, 4,607.0 ft, D23, FM 1761.

  • (l) Microbaculispora tentula Tiwari, 1965. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, G40/3, FM 1762.

  • (m) Brevitriletes parmatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H35/1, FM 1763.

  • (n) Retusotriletes nigritellus (Luber and Valts) Foster, 1979. Amal-9, 4,763.5 ft, Q40/4, FM 1764.

  • (o) Lundbladispora braziliensis (Pant and Srivastava) Marques-Toigo and Pons, 1976. Amal-9, 4,616.0 ft, M23, FM 1765.

  • (p, q) Discernisporites sp. A of Stephenson (1998, unpublished PhD thesis). (p) Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, C37/4, FM 1766. (q) Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D30/2, FM 1767.

  • (r) Anapiculatisporites concinnus Playford, 1962. Amal-9, 5,154.0 ft, D22/2, FM 1768.

  • (s) Microbaculispora mediogranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-6, 4,770.0 ft, E25, FM 1769.

  • (t) Vallatisporites arcuatus (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-6, 3,832.0 ft, R19, FM 1770.

  • (u) Microbaculispora grandegranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, E37/2, FM 1771.

Plate 1:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Pachytriletes densus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, H21, FM 1751 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Dibolisporites disfacies Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, P46/1, FM 1752.

  • (c) Lycospora pusilla (Ibrahim) Somers, 1972. Amal-9, 4,620.0 ft, N44, FM 1753.

  • (d) Verrucosisporites andersonii (Anderson) Backhouse, 1988. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, L23/2, FM 1754.

  • (e, f) Granulatisporites confluens Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. (e) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, S39, FM 1755, lateral compression. (f) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, M27/2, FM 1756 (distal focus, non Nomarski).

  • (g) Raistrickia accinta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, D19/4, FM 1757.

  • (h) Brevitriletes leptoacaina Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H30/4, FM 1758.

  • (i) Rattiganispora apiculata Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,766.0 ft, J26/2, FM 1759.

  • (j) Verrucosisporites aspratilis Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H19/1, FM 1760.

  • (k) Densoisporites solidus Segroves, 1970. Amal-9, 4,607.0 ft, D23, FM 1761.

  • (l) Microbaculispora tentula Tiwari, 1965. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, G40/3, FM 1762.

  • (m) Brevitriletes parmatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H35/1, FM 1763.

  • (n) Retusotriletes nigritellus (Luber and Valts) Foster, 1979. Amal-9, 4,763.5 ft, Q40/4, FM 1764.

  • (o) Lundbladispora braziliensis (Pant and Srivastava) Marques-Toigo and Pons, 1976. Amal-9, 4,616.0 ft, M23, FM 1765.

  • (p, q) Discernisporites sp. A of Stephenson (1998, unpublished PhD thesis). (p) Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, C37/4, FM 1766. (q) Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D30/2, FM 1767.

  • (r) Anapiculatisporites concinnus Playford, 1962. Amal-9, 5,154.0 ft, D22/2, FM 1768.

  • (s) Microbaculispora mediogranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-6, 4,770.0 ft, E25, FM 1769.

  • (t) Vallatisporites arcuatus (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-6, 3,832.0 ft, R19, FM 1770.

  • (u) Microbaculispora grandegranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, E37/2, FM 1771.

Vergel (1993) subdivided the Cristatisporites Zone of Archangelsky et al. (1980) and Russo et al. (1980). Vergel (1993) stated that base of the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone is marked by the first uphole appearance of Vittatina saccata (Hart) Jansonius, 1962, Protohaploxypinus perfectus (Naumova) Samoilovich 1953 and Marsupipollenites striatus and that Granulatisporites confluens and Lundbladispora braziliensis occur for the first time within the subzone. In the Amal-9 assemblages, G. confluens occurs in the middle of core 6 (rarely), and consistently in core 5, and M. striatus first occurs consistently in core 7. This suggests a correlation of cores 7-5 with the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone.

The quantitative composition of the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone is most similar to that of core 5 with spores constituting approximately 40%, monosaccate pollen constituting about 35% and non-taeniate and taeniate bisaccate pollen constituting about 25% of assemblages. On this basis only core 5 is assignable to the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone (Figure 5) though the assemblages of cores 7 and 6 appear to have characteristics intermediate between the PL Zone and Lower Cristatisporites Subzone. The nature of this boundary is consistent with that of the boundary in the Chacoparana Basin which is said to be gradational (Archangelsky et al., 1980).

The distinction made by Vergel (1993) between the Lower and Middle Cristatisporites Subzones is difficult to make in the Amal-9 assemblages because the critical taxa are not present in Amal-9. Vergel (1993), however, noted that an increase in the abundance of non-taeniate and taeniate bisaccates (to a total of 35% of typical assemblages) occurs in the Middle Cristatisporites Subzone. Except sporadically, such high levels of non-taeniate and taeniate bisaccates do not occur in the core 5 assemblages. This suggests that they are older than the Middle Cristatisporites Subzone.

The work of Césari et al. (1995), concerning the Las Mochas borehole, is particularly important in the correlation of the Amal-9 assemblages because the authors give relatively precise details of taxon ranges rather than generalised ranges as in the summary papers of Vergel (1993), Russo et al. (1980) and Archangelsky et al. (1980). Close qualitative similarities between the assemblages of the Las Mochas borehole and those of Amal-9 occur, together with remarkable consistency in the order of appearance of taxa which occur in both boreholes.

Plate 2:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Protohaploxypinus limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-9, 5,172.5 ft, F41/3, FM 1772.

  • (b) Protohaploxypinus amplus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart,1964. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, W48, FM 1773 (x550).

  • (c) Strotersporites indicus Tiwari, 1965. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, S51/1, FM 1774 (x550).

  • (d) Marsupipollenites striatus (Balme and Hennelly) Foster, 1975. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, N23, FM 1775.

  • (e) Marsupipollenites triradiatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956. Amal-9, 4,452.0 ft, Q43/4, FM 1776.

  • (f) Hamiapollenites fusiformis Marques-Toigo, 1974. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D41, FM 1777.

  • (g) Vittatina costabilis Wilson, 1962. Amal-9, 4,457.8 ft, G37/2, FM 1778.

  • (h) Portalites gondwanensis Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, N41/4, FM 1779.

  • (i) Vittatina cf. V. scutata (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj, 1962. Amal-9, 4,461.0 ft, E46, FM 1780.

  • (j) Caheniasaccites ovatus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,626.0 ft, V29/1, FM 1781 (x550).

  • (k) Cycadopites cymbatus (Balme and Hennelly) Segroves, 1970. Amal-6, 3,844.0 ft, D41/3, FM 1782.

  • (l) Sahnites gondwanensis (Mehta) Pant, 1955. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, J42/4, FM 1783 (x550).

  • (m) Protohaploxypinus cf. P. limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, L38/4, FM 1784.

  • (n) Vittatina subsaccata Samoilovich, 1953. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, C22/4 (x550), FM 1785.

  • (o) Striatoabieites multistriatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, Q46/1, FM 1786.

  • (p) Complexisporites polymorphus Jizba, 1962. Amal-9, 4,627.5 ft, P20, FM 1787.

Plate 2:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Protohaploxypinus limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-9, 5,172.5 ft, F41/3, FM 1772.

  • (b) Protohaploxypinus amplus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart,1964. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, W48, FM 1773 (x550).

  • (c) Strotersporites indicus Tiwari, 1965. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, S51/1, FM 1774 (x550).

  • (d) Marsupipollenites striatus (Balme and Hennelly) Foster, 1975. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, N23, FM 1775.

  • (e) Marsupipollenites triradiatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956. Amal-9, 4,452.0 ft, Q43/4, FM 1776.

  • (f) Hamiapollenites fusiformis Marques-Toigo, 1974. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D41, FM 1777.

  • (g) Vittatina costabilis Wilson, 1962. Amal-9, 4,457.8 ft, G37/2, FM 1778.

  • (h) Portalites gondwanensis Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, N41/4, FM 1779.

  • (i) Vittatina cf. V. scutata (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj, 1962. Amal-9, 4,461.0 ft, E46, FM 1780.

  • (j) Caheniasaccites ovatus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,626.0 ft, V29/1, FM 1781 (x550).

  • (k) Cycadopites cymbatus (Balme and Hennelly) Segroves, 1970. Amal-6, 3,844.0 ft, D41/3, FM 1782.

  • (l) Sahnites gondwanensis (Mehta) Pant, 1955. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, J42/4, FM 1783 (x550).

  • (m) Protohaploxypinus cf. P. limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, L38/4, FM 1784.

  • (n) Vittatina subsaccata Samoilovich, 1953. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, C22/4 (x550), FM 1785.

  • (o) Striatoabieites multistriatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, Q46/1, FM 1786.

  • (p) Complexisporites polymorphus Jizba, 1962. Amal-9, 4,627.5 ft, P20, FM 1787.

Core 8 correlates within the interval 2,250 metres (m) to 3,000 m in the Las Mochas borehole because the following taxa are present in both sections: M. tentula (as Granulatisporites austroamericanus), Spelaeotriletes triangulus (as S. ybertii), Potonieisporites novicus, Caheniasaccites ovatus, Potonieisporites brasiliensis, Lundbladispora riobonitensis and Cristatisporites crassilabratus; and because abundances of both taeniate bisaccate pollen and zonate-camerate spores in the two sequences are similar. Above about 2,250 m, in the Las Mochas well, taeniate pollen become more abundant than in core 8.

The occurrence of Limitisporites rotundus (as Protohaploxypinus paucitaeniatus), Leiotriletes virkkii, G. confluens and Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus (as Protohaploxypinus micros) within the interval 1,500-1,000 m and in cores 7-5 suggests that these sequences correlate.

The first appearances of Horriditriletes uruguayensis, M. tentula (as G. austroamericanus), Granulatisporites micronodosa Balme and Hennelly, 1956, and M. striatus in the Las Mochas borehole may have stratigraphic significance because closely similar spores are used by Powis (1979, 1984) to define the base of Eastern Australian Stage 2. These species all appear first at approximately 2,800 m in the Las Mochas borehole. This suggests that the Stage 1/2 boundary of Eastern Australia can be placed at this level (Figure 5). The distinctive spore Verrucosisporites pseudoreticulatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956, which is used in Australia as a marker for the base of Stage 3 is absent in Las Mochas and Amal-9 and so this boundary cannot be defined in the Las Mochas sequence.

Uruguay (Paraná Basin)

Recent work by Beri and Daners (1995, 1996), Beri (1988), de Santa Ana et al. (1993) and Beri and Goso (1996) has indicated the applicability of the zones of the Chacoparana Basin to the Paraná Basin in Uruguay. The basin contains the glaciogene San Gregorio Formation (Andreis et al., 1996) which is important biostratigraphically because it contains ammonoids. These were dated as mid Pennsylvanian (Closs, 1970) but this date has been disputed by palynologists (Marques-Toigo, 1972; Truswell, 1980), and the ammonoids were reinterpreted by Dickens (1985) who considered them to be no older than Asselian.

Beri and Goso (1996) studied the palynostratigraphy of a short stratigraphic interval in the DCLS No. 11 borehole which penetrated the San Gregorio Formation in eastern Uruguay and assigned it to the Lower Cristatisporites Subzone. The assemblages contain the following which were also recorded from Amal-9: Punctatisporites gretensis forma minor, Leiotriletes virkkii, Granulatisporites confluens, Horriditriletes uruguayensis, Cristatisporites crassilabratus, Vallatisporites arcuatus, Lundbladispora braziliensis, L. riobonitensis, Plicatipollenites gondwanensis, Potonieisporites brasiliensis, Cannanoropollis densus, Caheniasaccites ovatus, Vittatina costabilis, Striatoabieites multistriatus and Portalites gondwanensis; which suggests that they are most similar to the upper part of Amal-9 (cores 7 and above). The suprageneric composition of the assemblages of Beri and Goso (1996) suggest a correlation with those of cores 7-6 because zonate spores are abundant and taeniate pollen are relatively rare in both sections.

Beri and Daners (1996) investigated palynostratigraphy over a short stratigraphic interval in the borehole CLS No. 4 which penetrated the San Gregorio Formation in eastern Uruguay. Twenty species recorded by Beri and Daners (1996) are common to Amal-9, and most of these are also common to the assemblages of Beri and Goso (1996), indicating that the combined palynological composition of the San Gregorio Formation is closely similar to that of the Amal-9 sequence. Notable in the assemblages from CLS No. 4 is the presence of G. confluens, Vittatina subsaccata and Hamiapollenites fusiformis which suggests a comparison with assemblages from cores 6 and 5 from Amal-9. Beri and Daners (1996) reported the abundance of taeniate pollen to be less than 10% which is similar to that from the assemblages from core 6 and the lower part of core 5 from Amal-9. The San Gregorio Formation assemblages (Beri and Goso, 1996; Beri and Daners, 1996) have very high abundance of zonate spores like those from Amal-9 and those reported from other studies of Carboniferous-Permian assemblages from Arabia (Love, 1994; Besems and Schuurman, 1987).

Australia

The palynostratigraphy of Australian pre-glacial and periglacial Late Palaeozoic sediments is known in less detail than that of later Australian Permian sequences; Kemp et al. (1977) and Powis (1984) give generalised details of Stage 1, 2 and 3 palynofloras. Data from single sequences or small groups of sequences within this interval were supplied by Truswell (1978), Backhouse (1991, 1993) and Jones and Truswell (1992). The unpublished doctoral thesis of Powis (1979) concerning the pre-glacial and periglacial sediments of the Canning Basin, Western Australia, provides a comprehensive survey of the palynostratigraphy of such sediments.

(a) Canning Basin, Western Australia

Powis (1979) investigated the ranges of palynomorphs in 28 wells penetrating the Grant Formation and overlying marine Nura Nura Member of the Poole Sandstone. He erected four assemblage zones (in ascending order): the Spelaeotriletes ybertii Assemblage Zone, the Potonieisporites novicus Assemblage Zone, the Microbaculispora tentula Assemblage Zone and the Diatomozonotriletes townrowii Assemblage Zone. In addition, Powis divided the Microbaculispora tentula Assemblage Zone into two Assemblage Subzones: a lower Horriditriletes ramosus Assemblage Subzone and an upper Verrucosisporites pseudoreticulatus Assemblage Subzone (Figure 5). In a later paper Powis (1984) used the Horriditriletes ramosus Assemblage Subzone as the basis of his redefined Stage 2.

Twenty-eight species occur in both the Amal-9 well and the upper two assemblage zones of Powis (1979) including Cycadopites cymbatus, Microbaculispora tentula, Marsupipollenites striatus, Horriditriletes ramosus, Brevitriletes cornutus and Horriditriletes tereteangulatus (as Acanthotriletes tereteangulatus). Taeniate bisaccate pollen, present throughout the assemblages of Amal-9, occur only in the upper two assemblage Zones. These characteristics suggest that the assemblages of Amal-9 correlate with the Microbaculispora tentula Assemblage Zone of Powis (1979) and therefore that the sequence is of Stage 2 age or younger (Figure 5).

The rare occurrence in Amal-9 of seven species which occur only in the S. ybertii and P. novicus Assemblage Zones of Powis (1979) is inconsistent with this correlation. The seven species are: Verrucosisporites aspratilis, Punctatisporites lucidulus, Calamospora cf. microrugosa, Spelaeotriletes triangulus (=S. ybertii), Psomospora detecta, Raistrickia accinta and Anapiculatisporites concinnus. Punctatisporites lucidulus and P. detecta are reported by Jones and Truswell (1992) to be present throughout the Joe Joe Group (up to and including the Early Permian) and are therefore not confined to the equivalent of Powis′ lower biozones. Similarly C. cf. microrugosa and S. triangulus (as S. ybertii) are widely reported in Permian rocks (e.g. Foster, 1979; Marques-Toigo, 1972; Lindström, 1995). Raistrickia accinta, A. concinnus and V. aspratilis have been recorded from various Late Palaeozoic glaciogene formations (see Kyle (in Farabee et al., 1991; Besems and Schuurman, 1987; Jones and Truswell, 1992) but they do not appear to extend into the Permian.

If these latter taxa are considered to be indigenous rather than reworked, it might be argued that the cheilocardioid complex appears earlier in Oman than in the Canning Basin because it occurs alongside taxa indicative of older biozones. This would, in turn, suggest that the lower part of the Amal-9 sequence is older than the Horriditriletes ramosus Assemblage Subzone of Powis (1979) (i.e. older than Stage 2). Although further work is clearly required, such an interpretation of the taxon-ranges is considered by the present authors to be unlikely since the cheilocardioid complex is consistently abundant throughout the lower cores of Amal-9 while the “anachronistic” spores are few and likely to be reworked.

The bulk of the evidence, then, suggests that the lower correlative limit of the Amal-9 sequence lies within Stage 2 of Powis (1984) (Figure 5). An upper limit is more difficult to ascertain. This is because the species used by Powis (1979) to delineate his upper zones are absent in Amal-9, in particular, Verrucosisporites pseudoreticulatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956, and Verrucosisporites naumovae Hart, 1963. This absence may, of course, be due to the Amal-9 sequence, as a whole, being older than the Verrucosisporites pseudoreticulatus Assemblage Subzone of Powis (1979) (Figure 5). The occurrence of Marsupipollenites triradiatus in cores 7-5 indicates, however, that the upper cores of Amal-9 may be younger than the latter subzone (see later discussion) since it is recorded by Powis (1979) only from his Diatomozonotriletes townrowii Assemblage Zone.

In a separate study in the Canning Basin, Foster and Waterhouse (1988) investigated cored intervals from the Calytrix No. 1 Borehole which penetrated the Grant Formation. The restricted stratigraphic range of G. confluens in the latter borehole prompted the establishment of an oppel zone defined by the presence of at least four of fourteen spore and pollen species along with G. confluens. The associated marine fauna allowed assignment of a mid- to late Asselian (Kurmaian-Uskalikian) age. Revision of this fauna (Archbold, 1995; Archbold and Dickens, 1996) suggests a slightly younger Asselian to pre-Sterlitamakian age for the G. confluens Oppel Zone.

Foster and Waterhouse (1988) envisaged the G. confluens Oppel Zone as a biostratigraphic equivalent of Stage 2 of Kemp et al. (1977). Backhouse (1991, 1993), however, reported that G. confluens (as Pseudoreticulatispora confluens) does not have a stratigraphic range consistent with that of Stage 2 in the Collie and southern Perth Basins, Western Australia. In the latter basins, Backhouse (1991, 1993) reported that G. confluens is preceded by Stage 2 palyno-assemblages (without G. confluens) and succeeded by Stage 3 palyno-assemblages. Backhouse therefore considered the G. confluens Oppel Zone to be a biostratigraphic unit separate from Stage 2.

In the Amal-9 assemblages, G. confluens occurs sporadically in core 6 and then consistently in core 5. The associated assemblages contain all the taxa required for the assignment of the interval to the G. confluens Oppel Zone except for Stellapollenites which occurs in the lower part of core 7 and core 8. Cores 6 and 5 also contain Brevitriletes levis and Pachytriletes densus, considered by Lindström (1995) to be further indicative of the G. confluens Oppel Zone. The appearance of G. confluens in cores 6 and 5 and its absence in otherwise similar assemblages in core 7 suggests a similarity with the stratigraphic distributions of Stage 2 and the G. confluens Oppel Zone in the Collie Basin, Western Australia (Backhouse, 1991). This would suggest an assignment of cores 8 and 7 and the lower part of core 6 to Stage 2 (sensu Backhouse (1991)) and the upper part of core 6 and core 5 to the G. confluens Oppel Zone, in turn suggesting an Asselian-Sakmarian age for these latter cores.

Recent reports of the stratigraphic occurrence of G. confluens in South America suggest that the range of this taxon may be longer there than in Australia (Archangelsky and Vergel, 1996; Beri and Daners, 1996; Beri and Goso, 1996; S. Archangelsky, personal communication, 1998). In addition, the forms described by South American authors may be morphologically slightly different from those described by Backhouse (1991); the recombination suggested by the latter author was rejected by Césari et al. (1995).

In view of the disparity between Australian and South American ranges of G. confluens and the general similarity between the Amal-9 assemblages and those of South America, it is considered prudent to regard age determinations based entirely on the presence of G. confluens with some caution. However, the occurrence in cores 6 and 5, of all the other taxa required for the definition of the G. confluens Oppel Zone (including additional taxa proposed by Lindström (1995)) suggests a strong correlation with the latter zone.

Plate 3:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Lundbladispora riobonitensis Marques-Toigo and Picarelli, 1984. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, G28/3, FM 1788 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Psomospora detecta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, H39/4, FM 1789.

  • (c) Laevigatosporites vulgaris Ibrahim, 1933. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, U45/3, FM 1790 (x550).

  • (d) Spelaeotriletes triangulus Neves and Owens, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, S29/2, FM 1791 (x550).

  • (e) Punctatisporites lucidulus Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,455.1 ft, Q32, FM 1792.

  • (f) Ancistrospora verrucosa Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 4,770.0 ft, M37, FM 1793.

  • (g) Ancistrospora inordinata Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, J30, FM 1794.

  • (h) Barakarites rotatus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Tiwari, 1964. Amal-9, 4,471.7 ft, N24/1, FM 1795 (x550).

  • (i) Potonieisporites brasiliensis (Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, F36, FM 1796 (x550).

  • (j) Cristatisporites crassilabratus Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 5,175.0 ft, S27/4, FM 1797 (distal focus).

  • (k) Cannanoropollis janakii Potonié and Sah, 1960. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, S42/3, FM 1798 (x550).

Plate 3:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Lundbladispora riobonitensis Marques-Toigo and Picarelli, 1984. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, G28/3, FM 1788 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Psomospora detecta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, H39/4, FM 1789.

  • (c) Laevigatosporites vulgaris Ibrahim, 1933. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, U45/3, FM 1790 (x550).

  • (d) Spelaeotriletes triangulus Neves and Owens, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, S29/2, FM 1791 (x550).

  • (e) Punctatisporites lucidulus Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,455.1 ft, Q32, FM 1792.

  • (f) Ancistrospora verrucosa Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 4,770.0 ft, M37, FM 1793.

  • (g) Ancistrospora inordinata Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, J30, FM 1794.

  • (h) Barakarites rotatus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Tiwari, 1964. Amal-9, 4,471.7 ft, N24/1, FM 1795 (x550).

  • (i) Potonieisporites brasiliensis (Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, F36, FM 1796 (x550).

  • (j) Cristatisporites crassilabratus Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 5,175.0 ft, S27/4, FM 1797 (distal focus).

  • (k) Cannanoropollis janakii Potonié and Sah, 1960. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, S42/3, FM 1798 (x550).

Limitisporites rotundus Stapleton, 1977. Amal-9, 4,452.0 ft, P35/2, FM 1799.

(b) Collie Basin, Western Australia

Backhouse (1991) investigated assemblages from the Stockton Formation and Collie Coal Measures in the Collie Basin, Western Australia. A large number of boreholes were studied and taxon ranges are given in the form of a composite range chart; though quantitative data of assemblages is given for the GDD B and MH 4 boreholes. This latter data indicates similarities with Amal-9 in that C. cymbatus and M. tentula are relatively common in both sequences, but the overall abundance of radially symmetrical monosaccate pollen is higher in the GDD B and MH 4 assemblages than in those of Amal-9; and, conversely zonate-camerate spores are much more abundant in the Amal-9 assemblages.

Qualitative similarities between Amal-9 cores 5 and 6 and the Stage 2/G. confluens assemblages of Backhouse (1991) are high with the following taxa present in both: Verrucosisporites andersonii, Leiotriletes virkkii, Brevitriletes parmatus, Cycadopites cymbatus, Densosporites rotundidentatus, Pteruchipollenites gracilis, Sahnites gondwanensis (as Sahnites sp. A), Brevitriletes cornutus, B. levis, Horriditriletes ramosus, Limitisporites rectus, Marsupipollenites striatus, Microbaculispora tentula, Plicatipollenites spp., Alisporites spp., Protohaploxypinus amplus, Protohaploxypinus limpidus, Punctatisporites gretensis, Striatoabieites multistriatus, Horriditriletes tereteangulatus, Leiotriletes directus, Calamospora cf. C. microrugosa, Potonieisporites novicus and G. confluens (as Pseudoreticulatispora confluens). Only five species reported by Backhouse (1991) from the Stage 2/G. confluens interval do not occur in the cores 5 and 6 assemblages and two of these (species of Jayantisporites) are closely similar to forms here assigned to Cristatisporites. In strata above those assigned to the G. confluens Oppel Zone in the Collie Basin, diversification occurs; amongst the new taxa appearing, three are common to the assemblages of cores 6 and 5. These are Marsupipollenietes triradiatus, Densoisporites solidus and Laevigatosporites vulgaris (as Laevigatosporites colliensis). Most of the newly appearing taxa do not, however, occur in cores 6 and 5. The absence of such taxa indicates that the upper correlative range of cores 6 and 5, within the Collie Basin, is probably the base of the Pseudoreticulatispora pseudoreticulatus Zone of Backhouse (1991) (Figure 5). The presence in Amal-9 of M. triradiatus and Vittatina cf. scutata, may however, indicate that this correlative range extends into the latter zone, as may be the case in the Canning Basin (see earlier discussion). The lower correlative limit of cores 5 and 6, on the basis of the first occurrence of G. confluens, is the base of the G. confluens Oppel Zone in the Collie Basin (Figure 5).

The assemblages of cores 8 and 7 correlate with Stage 2 (sensu Backhouse, 1991) (Figure 5); their lower correlative limit cannot be ascertained with the taxon range information provided by Backhouse (1991).

(c) Galilee Basin, Eastern Australia

Information from a large number of borehole cores allowed establishment of five oppel zones within the Joe Joe Group of the Galilee Basin (Jones and Truswell, 1992). Assemblages from the Amal-9 sequence have the following taxa in common with those from the BMR Springsure 8, GSQ Jericho 1, GSQ Springsure 13 and GSQ Jericho 2 boreholes: Calamospora cf. C. microrugosa, Punctatisporites gretensis, Punctatisporites lucidulus, Retusotriletes nigritellus, Psomospora detecta, Verrucosisporites andersonii (as V. basiliscutis), Brevitriletes leptoacaina, Dibolisporites disfacies, Potonieisporites novicus, Plicatipollenites gondwanensis, Cannanoropollis janakii, Rattiganispora apiculata, Horriditriletes ramosus and Microbaculispora tentula. This suggests that the assemblages of the lower cores of Amal-9 compare with the Microbaculispora tentula Oppel Zone of Jones and Truswell (1992) (Figure 5). However the presence of V. aspratilis and A. concinnus in the assemblages of these cores is not consistent with such a comparison since these species do not occur above the preceding Asperispora reticulatispinosus Oppel Zone of Jones and Truswell (1992) (Figure 5), and neither have been recorded above the Upper Carboniferous. As suggested above (see Canning Basin) the presence of these “anachronistic” spores, if they are not reworked, may indicate a slightly greater age (?pre Stage 2 sensu Powis, 1984) for the lower cores of Amal-9.

It is not possible to set an upper correlative limit within the Joe Joe Group for the Amal-9 sequence since the core 5 assemblages, which are relatively rich in taeniate bisaccates, have no equivalent in those of Jones and Truswell (1992) and are therefore probably younger.

(d) Discussion of Australian correlations

Comparison of the Amal-9 assemblages with those from Australia suggest that cores 5 to 7 and probably core 8 have a lower correlative limit of Stage 2 (sensu Powis, 1984). This is based on close qualitative similarities with Stage 2 assemblages in Eastern Australia and Western Australia. The upper correlative limit of Amal-9 (which pertains to core 5) is more difficult to establish, mainly because the taxa used in Australia to delineate the zones above Stage 2 are absent in Amal-9. Their absence may suggest that all of Amal-9 can be assigned Stage 2; however the presence in the Amal-9 assemblages of Marsupipollenites triradiatus and Barakarites rotatus, and of some high levels of taeniate bisaccates in assemblages of core 5, possibly extend the upper correlative limit of Amal-9 into Stage 3.

CONCLUSIONS

The Jufarah-1 sequence (Saudi Arabia) and the Amal-6 sequence (Oman) correlate within the upper part of the Amal-9 sequence (Oman). The evidence overall suggests a correlation for the Amal-9 sequence with Lower Permian and possibly uppermost Carboniferous sequences in other regions (Figure 5). The correlative ranges of Amal-6 and Jufarah-1 within the Amal-9 sequence suggest that the former sequences are Early Permian in age.

The similarities between Australian and Arabian assemblages indicate the applicability of Australian palynostratigraphy in Arabia; however difficulties in correlation of upper parts of the Amal-9 sequence with sequences of Australia stem mainly from the absence of certain taxa which are stratigraphically significant in Australia, including Verrucosisporites pseudoreticulatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956, and Granulatisporites trisinus Balme and Hennelly, 1956.

Qualitative and quantitative similarities between the assemblages of Amal-6, Amal-9 and Jufarah-1 and glaciogene sediments of the Chacoparana Basin of Argentina and the San Gregorio Formation of Uruguay allow close correlations to be made between these sediments and those of Amal-9. The affinity suggests that South America and Arabia belonged to the same palaeophytogeographic province in the Carboniferous-Permian. The chief unifying factor in quantitative terms appears to be the high representation of zonate-camerate spores of the genera Lundbladispora, Vallatisporites and Cristatisporites.

APPENDIX

List of stratigraphically significant taxa recorded.

Alisporites indarraensis Segroves, 1969

Anapiculatisporites concinnus Playford, 1962

Ancistrospora inordinata Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972

Ancistrospora verrucosa Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972

Barakarites rotatus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Tiwari, 1964

Brevitriletes cornutus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991

Brevitriletes leptoacaina Jones and Truswell, 1992

Brevitriletes levis (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Salujah, 1969

Brevitriletes parmatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991

Calamospora cf. C. microrugosa (Ibrahim) Schopf et al., 1944

Caheniasaccites ovatus Bose and Kar, 1966

Cannanoropollis densus (Lele) Bose and Maheshwari, 1968

Cannanoropollis janakii Potonié and Sah, 1960

Complexisporites polymorphus Jizba, 1962

Cordaitina spp.

Cristatisporites crassilabratus Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979

Cycadopites cymbatus (Balme and Hennelly) Segroves, 1970

Cyclogranisporites parvus (Lakhanpal, Sah and Dube) Anderson, 1977

Densoisporites solidus Segroves, 1970

Densosporites rotundidentatus Segroves, 1970

Dibolisporites disfacies Jones and Truswell, 1992

Discernisporites sp. A of Stephenson (1998, unpublished PhD thesis)

Florinites spp.

Granulatisporites confluens Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979 Hamiapollenites bullaeformis (Samoilovich) Jansonius, 1962 Hamiapollenites fusiformis Marques-Toigo, 1974

Horriditriletes ramosus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Salujah, 1964

Horriditriletes tereteangulatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991

Horriditriletes uruguayensis (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979

Laevigatosporites vulgaris (Ibrahim) Ibrahim, 1933

Leiotriletes directus Balme and Hennelly, 1956

Leiotriletes virkkii Tiwari, 1965

Limitisporites rectus Leschik, 1956

Limitisporites rotundus Stapleton, 1977

Lundbladispora braziliensis (Pant and Srivastava) Marques-Toigo and Pons, 1976

Lundbladispora riobonitensis Marques-Toigo and Picarelli, 1984

Lycospora pusilla (Ibrahim) Somers, 1972

Marsupipollenites striatus (Balme and Henelly) Foster, 1975

Marsupipollenites triradiatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956a

Microbaculispora grandegranulata Anderson, 1977

Microbaculispora mediogranulata Anderson, 1977

Microbaculispora tentula Tiwari, 1965

Vallatisporites arcuatus (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979 Pachytriletes densus Bose and Kar, 1966

Plicatipollenites gondwanensis (Balme and Hennelly) Lele, 1964 Portalites gondwanensis Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert, 1968

Potonieisporites brasiliensis (Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979

Potonieisporites novicus Bharadwaj, 1954

Protohaploxypinus amplus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964

Protohaploxypinus cf. P. limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967

Protohaploxypinus limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967

Psomospora detecta Playford and Helby, 1968

Pteruchipollenites gracilis (Segroves) Foster, 1979

Punctatisporites gretensis Balme and Hennelly, 1956

Punctatisporites gretensis forma minor Hart, 1965

Punctatisporites lucidulus Playford and Helby, 1968

Punctatosporites granifer Potonié and Kremp, 1956

Raistrickia accinta Playford and Helby, 1968

Rattiganispora apiculata Playford and Helby, 1968

Retusotriletes nigritellus (Luber and Valts) Foster, 1979

Sahnites gondwanensis (Mehta) Pant, 1955

Spelaeotriletes triangulus Neves and Owens, 1966

Stellapollenites talchirensis Lele, 1965

Striatoabieites multistriatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964 Strotersporites indicus Tiwari, 1965 Verrucosisporites andersonii Backhouse, 1988 Verrucosisporites aspratilis Playford and Helby, 1968 Vittatina cf. V. scutata (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj, 1962 Vittatina costabilis Wilson, 1962 Vittatina subsaccata (Samoilovich) Jansonius, 1962

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The authors are grateful to the Ministries of Petroleum and Minerals of Saudi Arabia and Oman and the managements of Petroleum Development Oman and Saudi Aramco for permission to publish. B. Owens, A.H.V. Smith, R. Neves, S. Archangelsky, P. Osterloff and S. Al-Hajri are thanked for help and advice in preparation of the paper and G. Warrington is thanked for a thorough and constructive review. G.D. Powis gave permission to use unpublished material from his PhD thesis. M.H. Stephenson publishes with the permission of the Director, British Geological Survey.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Michael (Mike) H. Stephenson received a BSc in Geology from Imperial College in 1982 and an MSc in Palynology from the Centre for Palynology at the University of Sheffield in 1996. Mike worked in education and publishing between 1982 and 1995, mainly in southern Africa. He has recently completed his PhD project, based at the Centre for Palynology, University of Sheffield, concerning regional correlation of oil-bearing sediments in the Arabian Peninsula. Mike is a member of the AASP and is currently working with the British Geological Survey as a Stratigrapher.

John Filatoff (see page 167)

Figures & Tables

Figure 1:

Palaeozoic outcrops on the Arabian Peninsula, and the location of wells discussed in this study.

Figure 1:

Palaeozoic outcrops on the Arabian Peninsula, and the location of wells discussed in this study.

Figure 2:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

Figure 2:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

Figure 3:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-6 well, Oman.

Figure 3:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-6 well, Oman.

Figure 4:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Jufarah-1 well, Saudi Arabia.

Figure 4:

Stratigraphical distribution and abundance of stratigraphically significant taxa, Jufarah-1 well, Saudi Arabia.

Figure 5:

Diagrammatic correlation of studied intervals with Middle Eastern, South American and Australian sequences.

Figure 5:

Diagrammatic correlation of studied intervals with Middle Eastern, South American and Australian sequences.

Plate 1:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Pachytriletes densus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, H21, FM 1751 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Dibolisporites disfacies Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, P46/1, FM 1752.

  • (c) Lycospora pusilla (Ibrahim) Somers, 1972. Amal-9, 4,620.0 ft, N44, FM 1753.

  • (d) Verrucosisporites andersonii (Anderson) Backhouse, 1988. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, L23/2, FM 1754.

  • (e, f) Granulatisporites confluens Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. (e) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, S39, FM 1755, lateral compression. (f) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, M27/2, FM 1756 (distal focus, non Nomarski).

  • (g) Raistrickia accinta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, D19/4, FM 1757.

  • (h) Brevitriletes leptoacaina Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H30/4, FM 1758.

  • (i) Rattiganispora apiculata Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,766.0 ft, J26/2, FM 1759.

  • (j) Verrucosisporites aspratilis Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H19/1, FM 1760.

  • (k) Densoisporites solidus Segroves, 1970. Amal-9, 4,607.0 ft, D23, FM 1761.

  • (l) Microbaculispora tentula Tiwari, 1965. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, G40/3, FM 1762.

  • (m) Brevitriletes parmatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H35/1, FM 1763.

  • (n) Retusotriletes nigritellus (Luber and Valts) Foster, 1979. Amal-9, 4,763.5 ft, Q40/4, FM 1764.

  • (o) Lundbladispora braziliensis (Pant and Srivastava) Marques-Toigo and Pons, 1976. Amal-9, 4,616.0 ft, M23, FM 1765.

  • (p, q) Discernisporites sp. A of Stephenson (1998, unpublished PhD thesis). (p) Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, C37/4, FM 1766. (q) Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D30/2, FM 1767.

  • (r) Anapiculatisporites concinnus Playford, 1962. Amal-9, 5,154.0 ft, D22/2, FM 1768.

  • (s) Microbaculispora mediogranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-6, 4,770.0 ft, E25, FM 1769.

  • (t) Vallatisporites arcuatus (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-6, 3,832.0 ft, R19, FM 1770.

  • (u) Microbaculispora grandegranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, E37/2, FM 1771.

Plate 1:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Pachytriletes densus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, H21, FM 1751 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Dibolisporites disfacies Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, P46/1, FM 1752.

  • (c) Lycospora pusilla (Ibrahim) Somers, 1972. Amal-9, 4,620.0 ft, N44, FM 1753.

  • (d) Verrucosisporites andersonii (Anderson) Backhouse, 1988. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, L23/2, FM 1754.

  • (e, f) Granulatisporites confluens Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. (e) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, S39, FM 1755, lateral compression. (f) Amal-6, 3,824.0 ft, M27/2, FM 1756 (distal focus, non Nomarski).

  • (g) Raistrickia accinta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, D19/4, FM 1757.

  • (h) Brevitriletes leptoacaina Jones and Truswell, 1992. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H30/4, FM 1758.

  • (i) Rattiganispora apiculata Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,766.0 ft, J26/2, FM 1759.

  • (j) Verrucosisporites aspratilis Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H19/1, FM 1760.

  • (k) Densoisporites solidus Segroves, 1970. Amal-9, 4,607.0 ft, D23, FM 1761.

  • (l) Microbaculispora tentula Tiwari, 1965. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, G40/3, FM 1762.

  • (m) Brevitriletes parmatus (Balme and Hennelly) Backhouse, 1991. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, H35/1, FM 1763.

  • (n) Retusotriletes nigritellus (Luber and Valts) Foster, 1979. Amal-9, 4,763.5 ft, Q40/4, FM 1764.

  • (o) Lundbladispora braziliensis (Pant and Srivastava) Marques-Toigo and Pons, 1976. Amal-9, 4,616.0 ft, M23, FM 1765.

  • (p, q) Discernisporites sp. A of Stephenson (1998, unpublished PhD thesis). (p) Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, C37/4, FM 1766. (q) Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D30/2, FM 1767.

  • (r) Anapiculatisporites concinnus Playford, 1962. Amal-9, 5,154.0 ft, D22/2, FM 1768.

  • (s) Microbaculispora mediogranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-6, 4,770.0 ft, E25, FM 1769.

  • (t) Vallatisporites arcuatus (Marques-Toigo) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-6, 3,832.0 ft, R19, FM 1770.

  • (u) Microbaculispora grandegranulata Anderson, 1977. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, E37/2, FM 1771.

Plate 2:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Protohaploxypinus limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-9, 5,172.5 ft, F41/3, FM 1772.

  • (b) Protohaploxypinus amplus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart,1964. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, W48, FM 1773 (x550).

  • (c) Strotersporites indicus Tiwari, 1965. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, S51/1, FM 1774 (x550).

  • (d) Marsupipollenites striatus (Balme and Hennelly) Foster, 1975. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, N23, FM 1775.

  • (e) Marsupipollenites triradiatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956. Amal-9, 4,452.0 ft, Q43/4, FM 1776.

  • (f) Hamiapollenites fusiformis Marques-Toigo, 1974. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D41, FM 1777.

  • (g) Vittatina costabilis Wilson, 1962. Amal-9, 4,457.8 ft, G37/2, FM 1778.

  • (h) Portalites gondwanensis Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, N41/4, FM 1779.

  • (i) Vittatina cf. V. scutata (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj, 1962. Amal-9, 4,461.0 ft, E46, FM 1780.

  • (j) Caheniasaccites ovatus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,626.0 ft, V29/1, FM 1781 (x550).

  • (k) Cycadopites cymbatus (Balme and Hennelly) Segroves, 1970. Amal-6, 3,844.0 ft, D41/3, FM 1782.

  • (l) Sahnites gondwanensis (Mehta) Pant, 1955. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, J42/4, FM 1783 (x550).

  • (m) Protohaploxypinus cf. P. limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, L38/4, FM 1784.

  • (n) Vittatina subsaccata Samoilovich, 1953. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, C22/4 (x550), FM 1785.

  • (o) Striatoabieites multistriatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, Q46/1, FM 1786.

  • (p) Complexisporites polymorphus Jizba, 1962. Amal-9, 4,627.5 ft, P20, FM 1787.

Plate 2:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Protohaploxypinus limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-9, 5,172.5 ft, F41/3, FM 1772.

  • (b) Protohaploxypinus amplus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart,1964. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, W48, FM 1773 (x550).

  • (c) Strotersporites indicus Tiwari, 1965. Amal-6, 3,831.5 ft, S51/1, FM 1774 (x550).

  • (d) Marsupipollenites striatus (Balme and Hennelly) Foster, 1975. Amal-9, 4,480.0 ft, N23, FM 1775.

  • (e) Marsupipollenites triradiatus Balme and Hennelly, 1956. Amal-9, 4,452.0 ft, Q43/4, FM 1776.

  • (f) Hamiapollenites fusiformis Marques-Toigo, 1974. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, D41, FM 1777.

  • (g) Vittatina costabilis Wilson, 1962. Amal-9, 4,457.8 ft, G37/2, FM 1778.

  • (h) Portalites gondwanensis Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert, 1968. Amal-9, 5,179.0 ft, N41/4, FM 1779.

  • (i) Vittatina cf. V. scutata (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj, 1962. Amal-9, 4,461.0 ft, E46, FM 1780.

  • (j) Caheniasaccites ovatus Bose and Kar, 1966. Amal-9, 4,626.0 ft, V29/1, FM 1781 (x550).

  • (k) Cycadopites cymbatus (Balme and Hennelly) Segroves, 1970. Amal-6, 3,844.0 ft, D41/3, FM 1782.

  • (l) Sahnites gondwanensis (Mehta) Pant, 1955. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, J42/4, FM 1783 (x550).

  • (m) Protohaploxypinus cf. P. limpidus (Balme and Hennelly) Balme and Playford, 1967. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, L38/4, FM 1784.

  • (n) Vittatina subsaccata Samoilovich, 1953. Amal-9, 4,474.0 ft, C22/4 (x550), FM 1785.

  • (o) Striatoabieites multistriatus (Balme and Hennelly) Hart, 1964. Amal-6, 3,834.5 ft, Q46/1, FM 1786.

  • (p) Complexisporites polymorphus Jizba, 1962. Amal-9, 4,627.5 ft, P20, FM 1787.

Plate 3:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Lundbladispora riobonitensis Marques-Toigo and Picarelli, 1984. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, G28/3, FM 1788 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Psomospora detecta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, H39/4, FM 1789.

  • (c) Laevigatosporites vulgaris Ibrahim, 1933. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, U45/3, FM 1790 (x550).

  • (d) Spelaeotriletes triangulus Neves and Owens, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, S29/2, FM 1791 (x550).

  • (e) Punctatisporites lucidulus Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,455.1 ft, Q32, FM 1792.

  • (f) Ancistrospora verrucosa Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 4,770.0 ft, M37, FM 1793.

  • (g) Ancistrospora inordinata Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, J30, FM 1794.

  • (h) Barakarites rotatus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Tiwari, 1964. Amal-9, 4,471.7 ft, N24/1, FM 1795 (x550).

  • (i) Potonieisporites brasiliensis (Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, F36, FM 1796 (x550).

  • (j) Cristatisporites crassilabratus Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 5,175.0 ft, S27/4, FM 1797 (distal focus).

  • (k) Cannanoropollis janakii Potonié and Sah, 1960. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, S42/3, FM 1798 (x550).

Plate 3:

All specimens at magnification x880 and photographed with Nomarski differential interference contrast unless otherwise stated. Figured material is housed in the Palaeontological Collections of the Natural History Museum, London. Well names and sample depths are followed by England Finder co-ordinates and Museum Collection Number.

  • (a) Lundbladispora riobonitensis Marques-Toigo and Picarelli, 1984. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, G28/3, FM 1788 (non Nomarski).

  • (b) Psomospora detecta Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, H39/4, FM 1789.

  • (c) Laevigatosporites vulgaris Ibrahim, 1933. Amal-9, 5,161.0 ft, U45/3, FM 1790 (x550).

  • (d) Spelaeotriletes triangulus Neves and Owens, 1966. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, S29/2, FM 1791 (x550).

  • (e) Punctatisporites lucidulus Playford and Helby, 1968. Amal-9, 4,455.1 ft, Q32, FM 1792.

  • (f) Ancistrospora verrucosa Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 4,770.0 ft, M37, FM 1793.

  • (g) Ancistrospora inordinata Menéndez and Azcuy, 1972. Amal-9, 5,150.0 ft, J30, FM 1794.

  • (h) Barakarites rotatus (Balme and Hennelly) Bharadwaj and Tiwari, 1964. Amal-9, 4,471.7 ft, N24/1, FM 1795 (x550).

  • (i) Potonieisporites brasiliensis (Nahuys, Alpern and Ybert) Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 4,604.0 ft, F36, FM 1796 (x550).

  • (j) Cristatisporites crassilabratus Archangelsky and Gamerro, 1979. Amal-9, 5,175.0 ft, S27/4, FM 1797 (distal focus).

  • (k) Cannanoropollis janakii Potonié and Sah, 1960. Amal-6, 3,841.0 ft, S42/3, FM 1798 (x550).

Table 1

First and last appearance (uphole) data for stratigraphically significant taxa, Amal-9 well, Oman.

First Appearance Datum (FAD)Last Appearance Datum (LAD)
Core 5
Barakarites rotatusPortalites gondwanensis
Hamiapollenites fusiformisLycospora pusilla
Vittatina costabilis
Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus
Vittatina cf. scutata
Core 6
Vittatina subsaccataAncistrospora verrucosa
Granulatisporites confluensSpelaeotriletes triangulus
Striatoabieites multistriatus
Core 7
Microbaculispora grandegranulata
Limitisporites rotundus
Alisporites indarraensis
Leiotriletes virkkii
Protohaploxypinus amplus
Core 8
Psomospora detecta
First Appearance Datum (FAD)Last Appearance Datum (LAD)
Core 5
Barakarites rotatusPortalites gondwanensis
Hamiapollenites fusiformisLycospora pusilla
Vittatina costabilis
Protohaploxypinus cf. limpidus
Vittatina cf. scutata
Core 6
Vittatina subsaccataAncistrospora verrucosa
Granulatisporites confluensSpelaeotriletes triangulus
Striatoabieites multistriatus
Core 7
Microbaculispora grandegranulata
Limitisporites rotundus
Alisporites indarraensis
Leiotriletes virkkii
Protohaploxypinus amplus
Core 8
Psomospora detecta

Contents

GeoRef

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