Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Pamela Hallock Muller.

Keywords

thin section, ODP Leg 194, subtropical carbonates, microfacies analysis

Abstract

The Marion Plateau is a carbonate-platform complex on the passive northeast Australian margin. During ODP Leg 194, a series of eight sites, on two transects, were drilled through Oligocene to Holocene mixed carbonate and siliciclastic sediments that record the depositional history of the Marion Plateau. Major sediment constituents, including benthic foraminifers, were counted from thin sections made from samples taken from three drilling sites: bryozoan-dominated northern highstand platform site 1193 and northern lowstand ramp site 1194, and coralline red algae-dominated southern platform site 1196. Quantitative multivariate analysis of benthic foraminiferal assemblages revealed three paleoenvironmentally relevant groups of taxa. The first group, dominated by Amphistegina and Lepidocyclina, was found at all three sites and is interpreted to be representative of euphotic open-shelf deposition in less than 50 m water depth.

The second group was dominated by Cycloclypeus, Operculina and planktonic foraminifers. This group was found at all three sites, but was more common from sites on the northern platform and is interpreted to represent deposition in deep, oligophotic water, in greater than 50 m water depth. The third group, consisting of soritids, alveolinids, Austrotrillina and Flosculinella, was found only in sediments from the southern platform and is interpreted to represent deposition in a restricted, shallow-marine environment, in less than 20 m water depth, consistent with a sea-grass meadow. These three groups of taxa record changing paleoenvironments on the Marion Plateau, and reveal the depositional histories of the Marion Plateau's carbonate platforms.

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