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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Earth and Planetary Science LettersEarth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 286, Number 3-4, p.514-525 (2009)




CAMP, ENA synrift basins, Nova Scotia, organic matter, palynology, Triassic-Jurassic boundary


In this paper we investigate the stratigraphic relationship between the emplacement of the CAMP basalts and the Triassic-Jurassic (Tr-J) boundary in the Fundy Basin (Nova Scotia, Canada). This is one of the best exposed of the synrift basins of eastern North America (ENA) formed as a consequence of the rifting that led to the formation of the Atlantic Ocean. The Triassic palynological assemblages found in the sedimentary rocks below (uppermost Blomidon Formation) and just above the North Mountain Basalt (Scots Bay Member of the McCoy Brook Formation) indicate that CAMP volcanism, at least in Nova Scotia, is entirely of Triassic age, occurred in a very short time span, and may have triggered the T-J boundary biotic and environmental crisis. The palynological assemblage from the Blomidon Formation is characterised by the dominance of the Circumpolles group (e.g. Gliscopollis meyeriana, Corollina murphyae, Classopollis torosus) which crosses the previously established Tr-J boundary. The Triassic species Patinasporites densus disappears several centimetres below the base of the North Mountain basalt, near the previously interpreted Tr-J boundary. The lower strata of the Scots Bay Member yielded a palynological assemblage dominated by Triassic bisaccate pollens (e.g Lunatisporites acutus, L. rhaeticus Lueckisporites sp., Alisporites parvus) with minor specimens of the Circumpolles group. Examination of the state of preservation and thermal alteration of organic matter associated with the microfloral assemblages precludes the possibility of recycling of the Triassic sporomorphs from the older strata. Our data argue against the previous definition of the Tr-J boundary in the ENA basins, which was based mainly on the last occurrence of P. densus. Consequently, it follows that the late Triassic magnetostratigraphic correlations should be revised considering that chron E23r, which is correlated with the last occurrence of P. densus in the Newark basin, does not occur at the Tr-J boundary but marks rather a late Triassic (probably Rhaetian) reversal. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.