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Biostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental implications of an Early Cretaceous miospore assemblage from the Muling Formation, Jixi Basin, northeast China

Biostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental implications of an Early Cretaceous miospore assemblage from the Muling Formation, Jixi Basin, northeast China

Cretaceous Research 28(2): 339-347

ISSN/ISBN: 0195-6671

DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2006.07.008

In the Jixi Basin, eastern Heilongjiang Province, China, the lower part of the Lower Cretaceous succession consists of coal-bearing strata including the Muling Formation, which, in addition to plant megafossils, yields abundant spores and pollen grains and a few dinoflagellate cysts. The spore-pollen assemblage consists of more than 42 species belonging to 34 genera. Most of these are derived from pteridophytes and gymnosperms. The association of Aequitriradites echinatus, Cicatricosisporites australiensis, C. imbricatus, C. mediostriatus, C. undosus, Contignisporites glebulentus, Crybelosporites punctatus, Foranminisporis asymmetricus, Gleicheniidites laetus, Impardecispora purverulenta, Kuylisporites lunaris, Pilosisporites trichopapillosus and Triporoletes singularis suggests that the formation is unlikely to be older than late Hauterivian and younger than Aptian, with emphasis placed on the Barremian-early Aptian. The composition of the dinoflagellate cyst and plant megafossil assemblages is consistent with this determination. Based on palynofloral content, a comparison between the miospores recovered and the spores and pollen produced by extant plant taxa, the associated plant megafossils, and the sedimentary facies that characterize the Muling Formation, it is concluded that the source vegetation was dominated by ferns and that the climate was wet subtropical but seasonally dry.

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