Calcareous nannofossil and foraminiferal analysis of the middle to upper cretaceous Bathurst Island Group, Northern Bonaparte Basin and Darwin Shelf, Northern Australia

Robert Campbell

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] The Northern Bonaparte Basin and adjacent Darwin Shelf form part of a major petroleum province on the northwestern margin of Australia. The middle to Late Cretaceous Bathurst Island Group consists of siliciclastic and pelagic carbonate strata that form the regional seal to underlying Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous reservoir sandstones. The Bathurst Island Group has previously been subdivided into four stratigraphic sequences or ‘play intervals’ bound by regional disconformities in the Valanginian (KV horizon), Lower Aptian (KA horizon), upper Lower Cenomanian (KC horizon), Middle Campanian (KSC horizon), and at the CretaceousPaleocene boundary (T horizon). Correlation of these sedimentary packages and stratigraphic surfaces requires high-resolution calcareous microfossil biostratigraphy, while palaeobathymetric determinations based on benthonic foraminiferal assemblages are important for determining the subsidence history of the area and relative sea-level changes. This study presents the first detailed stratigraphic distributions, taxonomic lists and illustrations of foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils from the Bathurst Island Group of the Northern Bonaparte Basin and Darwin Shelf. A biostratigraphic framework has been constructed for the study area incorporating ‘standard’ (Tethyan) Cretaceous planktonic foraminiferal and calcareous nannofossil events where applicable, and integrating locally defined events where necessary. This framework allows Cretaceous strata to be correlated regionally across the study area and to the global chronostratigraphic scale. Correlation of the Northern Bonaparte Basin and Darwin Shelf strata to the Cretaceous Stages and international time scale is based on recent ties of nannofossil and foraminiferal events to macrofossil zones and palaeomagnetic polarity chrons at ratified and proposed Global Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSPs). Calcareous nannofossil events recorded in the study area that are critical for defining stage boundaries include the lowest occurrences of Prediscosphaera columnata, Micula decussata, Lithastrinus grillii, and Aspidolithus parcus parcus, and the highest occurrences of Helenea chiastia, Lithastrinus moratus, Aspidolithus parcus constrictus, and Eiffellithus eximius. Important planktonic foraminiferal events for correlation include the lowest occurrences of Rotalipora gr. globotruncanoides, and Dicarinella asymetrica, and the highest occurrences of Planomalina buxtorfi, Rotalipora cushmani, and Dicarinella asymetrica.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003


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