Abstract

A palynological investigation of a section dated by foraminifera, at Ouled Haddou, south-eastern Rifian Corridor, northern Morocco, revealed a rich and well-preserved dinoflagellate cyst assemblage that allowed a palynological separation of Maastrichtian from Danian deposits. The gradual change of the dinoflagellate cyst assemblages and the biostratigraphic resolution attained, suggest that the studied Maastrichtian–Danian section is continuous. The recognition of the latest Maastrichtian and earliest Danian is based on global dinoflagellate cyst events, including the first occurrence of the latest Maastrichtian species Disphaerogena carposphaeropsis, Glaphyrocysta perforata, and Manumiella seelandica, the latest Maastrichtian acme of Manumiella seelandica, and the first occurrence of the earliest Danian markers Carpatella cornuta, Damassadinium californicum, Eisenackia circumtabulata, Membranilarnacia tenella and Senoniasphaera inornata. The Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary is placed above the latest Maastrichtian events, mainly immediately above the acme of M. seelandica and below the earliest Danian events, particularly below the first occurrences of C. cornuta and D. californicum. The biostratigraphic interpretations are based on a comparison with calibrated dinoflagellate cyst ranges from several reference sections, mainly in the Northern Hemisphere middle latitudes. The Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary is not marked by a mass extinction of dinoflagellate cyst species, but shows important changes in the relative abundances of different species or groups of morphologically related species. These changes are paleoenvironmentally controlled. The peridinioid assemblage suggests deposition in a subtropical to warm temperate province. One dinoflagellate cyst species, Phelodinium elongatum, is formally described.

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