Early Paleogene Dinoflagellate Cysts from ODP Hole 959D, Côte D'ivoire-Ghana Transform Margin, West Africa: New Species, Biostratigraphy and Paleoenvironmental Implications


A nearly continuous sedimentary record from Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 959 (Hole 959D) in the Côte d'Ivoire-Ghana Transform Margin provides the opportunity to study Lower Paleogene palynology in this equatorial region. This paper presents data for 117 dinoflagellate cyst taxa recorded in 18 samples covering a 91-m interval from 867.60 mbsf to 776.32 mbsf. Preservation of dinoflagellate cysts varied from poor to excellent, and recovery was almost superabundant. Based on last or first occurrence of dinoflagellate cyst events, five zones (zone 1 to zone 5) were identified. The concentration of several dinoflagellate cyst events in the Thanetian interval suggests the presence of hiatuses or condensed horizons as inferred in previous studies of nearby localities. Frequent to common abundance of Apectodinium in the upper Thanetian sediments apparently records the global episodes of intense climatic warming that characterized the latest Paleocene to earliest Eocene time. An assemblage dominated by species of Operculodinium, Spiniferites, and Tectatodinium confirms the outer neritic to oceanic depositional setting of the drill hole as previously inferred from lithologic characteristics. Finally, four new dinoflagellate cyst taxa, Adnatosphaeridium ivoriense, Diphyes digitum, Eocladopyxis furculum and Tectatodinium nigeriaense that were observed only in the Paleocene interval, have been formally identified and described in detail.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Biostratigraphy and paleoenvironment; Côte d'Ivoire-Ghana Transform Margin; Dinoflagellate cysts; Early Paleocene to Early Eocene; ODP Hole 959D; Taxonomy; West Africa; new species; Ocean Drilling Program; Dinophyceae; Diphyes; Operculodinium; Spiniferites

Geographic Coverage

Côte d'Ivoire-Ghana

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2016