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African Natural History

versão On-line ISSN 2305-7963
versão impressa ISSN 1816-8396

Afr. nat. history (Online) vol.4  Cape Town Jan. 2008


Reappraisal of foraminiferal assemblages of the Santonian-Campanian Mzamba Formation type section, and their correlation with the stratigraphic succession of the KwaZulu Basin



Ian K. McMillan

Natural History Collections Department, Iziko South African Museum, P.O. Box 61, Cape Town, 8000 South Africa. E-mail:




Recent processing of additional samples, re-processing of the M. Makrides samples and re-evaluation of benthic and planktic foraminifera assemblages previously described from Mzamba Cliff, has led to the finding of several rare species that support previous ammonite datings of the succession. These include numbers of the planktic species Dicarinella asymetrica (Sigal) and Sigalia sp., which are limited to the Middle to Late Santonian, and to the Middle Santonian, respectively. Sigalia sp. appears to be a different species from the widely distributed Sigalia deflaensis (Sigal), as it is distinguished by depressed sutures throughout. Alternatively Sigalia sp. maybe avariant limited to shallow or temperate waters; or it may be a juvenile form of Sigalia deflaensis. In addition, rare tests of the Santonian larger benthic foraminifera Pseudosiderolites sp. have been found, the first such larger foraminifera from the Late Cretaceous succession of southern Africa. Comments on the possible stratigraphic value of a species of Cyclammina occurring through the Campanian interval at Mzamba Cliff are also included. A palaeoecological review is presented, as well as an updated attempt at a foraminiferal bed-by-bed stratigraphy of the Mzamba outcrop succession.

Key words: Cretaceous, Santonian, Campanian, benthic, planktic, foraminifera, mudbelt.


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Deep thanks for samples from Mzamba Cliff outcrop, for discussions about the ammonite biostratigraphy, and for facilities at the Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town, are due to Herbie Klinger. Additional Mzamba samples were kindly collected by David Broad of the Petroleum Agency of South Africa. The re-examination of the Makrides samples was undertaken late in 1993 while the author was at Soekor, and their permission to use facilities and permission to publish are acknowledged. This article was reviewed by Richard Dingle (Cambridge, England) and John Compton (University of Cape Town), and their comments are greatly valued.



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Received 30 July 2008
Accepted 6 October 2008

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