Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Terra Antartica. Copyright 2001, 8(4), 315-338 Terra Antartica, Universite de Siena.


Early Oligocene siliceous microfossils were recovered in the upper c. 193 m of the CRP-3 drillcore. Although abundance and preservation are highly variable through this section, approximately 130 siliceous microfossil taxa were identified, including diatoms, silicoflagellates, ebridians, chrysophycean cysts, and endoskeletal dinoflagellates. Well-preserved and abundant assemblages characterize samples in the upper c. 70 m and indicate deposition in a coastal setting with water depths between 50 and 200 m. Abundance fluctuations over narrow intervals in the upper c. 70 mbsf are interpreted to reflect environmental changes that were either conducive or deleterious to growth and preservation of siliceous microfossils. Only poorly-preserved (dissolved, replaced, and/or fragmented) siliceous microfossils are present from c. 70 to 193 mbsf. Diatom iostratigraphy indicates that the CRP-3 section down to c. 193 mbsf is early Oligocene in age. The lack of significant changes in composition of the siliceous microfossil assemblage suggests that no major hiatuses are present in this interval. The first occurrence (FO) of Cavitatus jouseanus at 48.44 mbsf marks the base of the Cavitatus jouseanus Zone. This datum is inferred to be near the base of Subchron C12n at c. 30.9 Ma. The FO of Rhizosolenia antarctica at 68.60 mbsf marks the base of the Rhizosolenia antarctica Zone. The FO of this taxon is correlated in deep-sea sections to Chron C13 (33.1 to 33.6 Ma). However, the lower range of R. antarctica is interpreted as incomplete in the CRP-3 drillcore, as it is truncated at an underlying interval of poor preservation; therefore, an age of c. 33.1 to 30.9 Ma is inferred for interval between c. 70 and 50 mbsf. The absence of Hemiaulus caracteristicus from diatombearing interval of CRP-3 further indicates an age younger than c. 33 Ma (Subchron C13n) for strata above c. 193 mbsf. Siliceous microfossil assemblages in CRP-3 are significantly different from the late Eocene assemblages reported CIROS-1 drillcore. The absence of H. caracteristicus, Stephanopyxis splendidus, and Pterotheca danica, and the ebridians Ebriopsis crenulata, Parebriopsis fallax, and Pseudammodochium dictyoides in CRP-3 indicates that the upper 200 m of the CRP-3 drillcore is equivalent to part of the stratigraphic interval missing within the unconformity at c. 366 mbsf in CIROS-1.