Dinoflagellate cysts and sequence stratigraphy are used to date accurately the Tunnel-Canal Dock section, which contains the most complete record of marine Pliocene deposits in the Antwerp harbour area. The Zanclean Kattendijk Formation was deposited between 5.0 and 4.4 Ma during warm-temperate conditions on a shelf influenced by open-marine waters. The overlying Lillo Formation is divided into four members. The lowest is the Luchtbal Sands Member, estimated to have been deposited between 3.71 and 3.21 Ma, under cooler conditions but with an open-water influence. The Oorderen Sands, Kruisschans Sands and Merksem Sands members of the Lillo Formation are considered a single depositional sequence, and biostratigraphically dated between 3.71 and c. 2.6 Ma, with the Oorderen Sands Member no younger than 2.72–2.74 Ma. Warm-temperate conditions had returned, but a cooling event is noted within the Oorderen Sands Member. Shoaling of the depositional environment is also evidenced, with the transgressive Oorderen Sands Member passing upwards into (near-)coastal high-stand deposits of the Kruisschans Sands and Merksem Sands members, as accommodation space decreased. Applying sequence stratigraphy to our section implies that the Kattendijk/Lillo Formation boundary corresponds to the sequence boundary (SB) Za2 (4.04 Ma), the Luchtbal/Oorderen sands boundary to SB Pia1 (3.21 Ma), and the top of the Merksem Sands to SB Pia2 (2.76 Ma). Finally, the Belgian deposits are compared with marine Pliocene deposits of eastern England.

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