Abstract

During the latest Campanian–Maastrichtian the northwestern Australian margin was situated between the cool-water Austral Province to the south and the warm-water Tethyan Province to the north. The transitional nature of calcareous microfossil assemblages on the margin makes application of Tethyan biostratigraphic zonation schemes awkward, as many marker-species are missing or have different ranges. This study presents an integrated uppermost Campanian–Maastrichtian calcareous microfossil zonation based on two Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) holes on the Exmouth Plateau and eight petroleum exploration wells from the Vulcan Sub-basin. The zonation is refined and revised from the previously unpublished KCN (nannofossils), KPF (planktonic foraminifera), KBF (benthonic foraminifera) and KCCM (composite nannofossil and planktonic foraminifera) zonations, which are commonly used for petroleum exploration wells drilled on the northwestern margin. Revision of the zonations has highlighted a major Upper Campanian to lower Upper Maastrichtian disconformity on the Exmouth Plateau, which went largely unnoticed in previous examinations of the ODP material, but had been recorded previously elsewhere on the northwestern margin. The duration of the disconformity in the Vulcan Sub-basin is unclear, since intervals of the succession may be condensed in this area.

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