SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.5Cretaceous faunas from Zululand and Natal, South AfricaSystematic palaeontology and stratigraphical potential of the upper campanian-Maastrichtian Inoceramidae (Bivalvia) author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


African Natural History

On-line version ISSN 2305-7963
Print version ISSN 1816-8396

Afr. nat. history (Online) vol.5  Cape Town Jan. 2009


Early Campanian Foraminifera of the Igoda Formation and Needs Camp upper and lower quarries, Eastern Cape, South Africa, and comparison with Mzamba and the KwaZulu Basin



I.K. McMillan

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




Four outcrops of Late Cretaceous rocks are known in the East London region of the Eastern Cape Province, discovered at different times during the 20th century. These are at the Needs Camp upper and lower quarries, inland of East London; and at Igoda River mouth and a nearby road cutting close to the estuary, located to the south of East London, designated the Igoda Formation. All four sites contain similar foraminiferal assemblages, and the successions are interpreted as roughly coeval. The published record from the two Igoda Formation outcrops up to now consists of just one foraminifera species (Spiroplectinella sp.), and about 20 Cretaceous species have been reported from the Needs Camp quarries. However, examination of additional samples, as well as repeated reprocessing of previously-studied limestone samples from the four outcrops has led to the discovery of 87 species of foraminifera. Only five of these are planktic species, mainly very rare Heterohelix globulosa (Ehrenberg), Hedbergella spp., Hedbergella cf. H. simplex (Morrow), Globigerinelloides asper (Ehrenberg) and Rugoglobigerina rugosa (Plummer), the last-named indicating a Campanian-Maastrichtian age. These planktics indicate that surface waters were slightly better oxygenated, but the complete absence of keeled planktics yet diverse benthics suggests the majority of the lower water column, but not the sea-floor, was experiencing dysoxic conditions. Because of the different circumstances in the discovery of each of these outcrops, their contained foraminiferal assemblages and their interpreted foraminiferal ages and depositional environments have never before been effectively compared and contrasted. The Igoda/Needs Camp foraminiferal assemblages detailed here are compared with a greatly revised biostratigraphy for the southern African Campanian succession. The distinctive Igoda benthic assemblages, composed in the main of Gavelinella and Lenticulina species, are marked by small numbers of the age-diagnostic early Campanian (Campanian I and lowest Campanian II) benthic species, Valvulineria sp., and the Early Campanian (Campanian I) benthic species, thin Dorothia sp. The four outcrops are considered to expose parts of a somewhat siliciclastic-poor, carbonate-rich deposit. This accumulated in an inner (Needs Camp limestones) to middle (Needs Camp limey claystones) to outer neritic (Igoda limey claystones) setting on a relatively well-oxygenated sea-floor experiencing periodic inflows of inner neritic siliciclastics and shell hash. The majority of foraminifera tests preserved in these rocks have been the focus of post-depositional ferric iron precipitation, probably derived from oxidation and deterioration of pyrite, so that they are now a strong orange-red colour.

Keywords: foraminifera, Needs Camp, Igoda, planktic, benthic, Cretaceous, Campanian, biostratigraphy.


“Full text available only in PDF format”



I thank Herbie Klinger (Iziko South African Museum) for much helpful discussion, literature and for additional samples from the Needs Camp and Igoda outcrops. The original outcrop samples were collected by Brian Lock and Herbie Klinger, and passed to the author through the kindness ofIan McLachlan, formerly consultant ofSoekor (Pty) Ltd and the Petroleum Agency of South Africa (PASA). Additional samples from several outcrops were supplied by Jokl le Roux. Richard Dingle (Cambridge, England) and Herbert Klinger kindly reviewed the manuscript. Scanning, editing and retouching of scanning electron microscope images were skillfully undertaken by Mitch, Observatory, Cape Town. Soekor/PASA are thanked for their permission for me to use the SEM microscope: images were obtained using the ISI SX-30 microscope of Soekor (Pty) Ltd prior to 1993: images are uncoated, and the microscope was equipped with a Robinson detector and CFAS unit. Permission to restudy the three deep-cored KwaZulu Basin boreholes was given by David van der Spuy of the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.



ABDULA, I. & SALMAN, G. 1995. Geology, potential of Pande gas field, Mozambique Basin. Oil and Gas Journal 93(43): 102-106.         [ Links ]

APTHORPE, M.C. 1979. Depositional history of the Upper Cretaceous of the Northwest shelf, based on foraminifera. Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Journal 19: 74-89.         [ Links ]

BELFORD, D.J. 1960. Upper Cretaceous foraminifera from the Toolonga calcilutite and the Gingin chalk, Western Australia. Bulletin of the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics of Australia 57: 1-198.         [ Links ]

BENSON, J.M. 1990. Palynological subdivision of Senonian (Coniacian-Maastrichtian) strata in Southern Africa using a dinoflagellate cyst-range biostratigraphy. In: Abstracts volume, Geocongress 90 (Cape Town, 2-6 July, 1990), Geological Society of South Africa: 41-44.         [ Links ]

BENSON, J.M. 1992. Palynological expression of depositional systems tracts from the Cretaceous of the Orange Basin and the Eastern Cape Basin. In: Abstracts volume, Southwestern African Continental Margin: Evolution and Physical Characteristics (Windhoek, Namibia, 13 April 1992), Geological Society of Namibia and Geological Survey of Namibia: 4-11.         [ Links ]

BROOD, K. 1977. Upper Cretaceous Bryozoa from Needs Camp, South Africa. Palaeontologia africana 20: 65-82.         [ Links ]

BURNETT, J.A., HANCOCK, J.M., KENNEDY, W.J. & LORD, A.R. 1992. Macrofossil, planktonic foraminiferal and nannofossil zonation at the Campanian/Maastrichtian boundary. Newsletters in Stratigraphy 27(3): 157-172.         [ Links ]

CARON, M. 1985. Cretaceous planktic foraminifera. In: BOLLI, H.M., SAUNDERS, J.B. & PERCH-NIELSEN, K. (eds) Plankton Stratigraphy, pp. 17-86. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.         [ Links ]

CHAPMAN, F. 1904. Foraminifera and Ostracoda from the Cretaceous of East Pondoland, South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 4(5): 221-237.         [ Links ]

CHAPMAN, F. 1916. Foraminifera and Ostracoda from the Upper Cretaceous of Need's Camp, Buffalo River, Cape Province. Annals of the South African Museum 12(4): 107-118.         [ Links ]

CHAPMAN, F. 1923. On some foraminifera and Ostracoda from the Cretaceous of Umzamba River, Pondoland. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa 26: 1-6.         [ Links ]

CUSHMAN, J.A. 1927. American Upper Cretaceous species of Bolivina and related species. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research 2: 85-91.         [ Links ]

CUSHMAN, J.A. 1931. A preliminary report on the foraminifera of Tennessee. Bulletin of the Tennessee Division of Geology No. 41: 5-112.         [ Links ]

CUSHMAN, J.A. 1938. Some new species of rotaliiform foraminifera from the American Cretaceous. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research 14(2): 66-71.         [ Links ]

CUSHMAN, J.A.. 1946. Upper Cretaceous foraminifera of the Gulf Coastal region of the United States and adjacent areas. United States Geological Survey, Professional Paper 206: 1-241.         [ Links ]

CUSHMAN, J.A. & TODD, R. 1949. Species of the genera Allomorphina and Quadrimorphina. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research 25(3): 59-72.         [ Links ]

DAVEY, R.J. 1969a. Some dinoflagellate cysts from the Upper Cretaceous of northern Natal, South Africa. Palaeontologia africana 12: 1-23.         [ Links ]

DAVEY, R.J. 1969b. The evolution of certain Upper Cretaceous hystrichospheres from South Africa. Palaeontologia africana 12: 25-51.         [ Links ]

DE GASPARIS, M.L. 1968. The microstratigraphy of the Cretaceous system of Zululand. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1969a. Upper Senonian ostracods from the coast of Pondoland, South Africa. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 38(4): 347-384.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1969b. Cytherelloidea gardeni, nom. nov. (Ostracoda). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 39(3): 353.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1980. Marine Santonian and Campanian ostracods from a borehole at Richards Bay, Zululand. Annals of the South African Museum 82(1): 1-70.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1981. The Campanian and Maastrichtian Ostracoda of south-east Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 85(1): 1-181.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1985. Turonian, Coniacian and Santonian Ostracoda from South-East Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 96(5): 123-239.         [ Links ]

DINGLE, R.V. 1996. Cretaceous of the SE Atlantic and SW Indian Ocean: a stratigraphical review and atlas. Géologie de l'Afrique et de l'Atlantique Sud: Actes Colloques (Angers, 1994): 1-17.         [ Links ]

FINLAY, H.J. 1939. N.Z. foraminifera: key species in stratigraphy no. 3. Transactions of the Royal Society ofNew Zealand 69(3): 309-329.         [ Links ]

GRAHAM, J.J. & CHURCH, C.C. 1963. Campanian foraminifera from the Stanford University campus, California. Stanford University Publications, Geological Sciences 8(1): 1-107.         [ Links ]

HART, M.B., BAILEY, H.W., CRITTENDEN, S., FLETCHER, B.N., PRICE, R.J. & SWIECICKI, A. 1989. Cretaceous. In: JENKINS, D.G. & MURRAY, J.W. (eds) Stratigraphical Atlas of Fossil Foraminifera, pp. 279-370. 2nd Edition. New York: Halsted Press (John Wiley): .         [ Links ]

HENDERSON, R.A., CRAMPTON, J.S., DETTMANN, M.E., DOUGLAS, J.G., HAIG, D., SHAFIK, S., STILWELL, J.D. & THULDORN, R.A. 2000. Biogeographical observations on the Cretaceous biota of Australasia. Memoirs of the Australasian Association of Palaeontologists 23: 355-404.         [ Links ]

KENNEDY, W.J. & KLINGER, H.C. 1975. Cretaceous faunas from Natal and Zululand, South Africa. Introduction, stratigraphy. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology 25: 263-315.         [ Links ]

KENNEDY, W.J. & KLINGER, H.C. 1985. Cretaceous faunas from Zululand and Natal, South Africa. The ammonite family Kossmaticeratidae Spath, 1922. Annals of the South African Museum 95(5): 165-231.         [ Links ]

KING, L. 1972. Geomorphic significance of the Late Cretaceous limestones at Needs Camp, near East London. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa 75: 1-3.         [ Links ]

KLINGER, H.C. & KENNEDY, W.J. 1980. The Umzamba Formation at its type section, Umzamba estuary (Pondoland, Transkei), the ammonite content and palaeogeographical distribution. Annals of the South African Museum 81(6): 207-222.         [ Links ]

KLINGER, H.C. & KENNEDY, W.J. 1990. Metaplacenticeras subtilstriatum (Jimbo, 1894) (Cephalopoda: Ammonoidea) from the St. Lucia Formation (Cretaceous), Zululand. South African Journal of Geology 93(3): 443-445.         [ Links ]

KLINGER, H.C., KENNEDY, W.J., LEES, J.A. & KITTO, S. 2001. Upper Maastrichtian ammonites and nannofossils and a Palaeo- cene nautiloid from Richards Bay, KwaZulu, South Africa. Acta Geologica Polonica 51(3): 273-291.         [ Links ]

KLINGER, H.C. & LOCK, B.E. 1978. Upper Cretaceous sediments from the Igoda River mouth, East London, South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 77(5): 71-83.         [ Links ]

LAMBERT, G. 1971. A study of Cretaceous foraminifera from northern Zululand, South Africa. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, University of Natal, Durban.         [ Links ]

LAMBERT, G. 1973. A summary of a succession of the 'Cretaceous System' in northern Zululand, based on ammonite and foraminiferal evidence. Petros (Natal University Students' Geological Society) 3: 25-31. LAMBERT, G. 1978. Zululand Cretaceous foraminifera and the Tethys. Actes du 6ème Colloque Africain de Micropaléontologie (Tunis, 1974), Annales de la Service Géologique, Tunis 28, séries 2: 13-27.         [ Links ]

LAMBERT, G. & DE KLASZ, I. 1973. Microfauna of the Needs Camp outcrops. Unpublished Soekor report PALR/2 III-12.         [ Links ]

LAMBERT, G. & SCHEIBNEROVÁ, V. 1974. Albian foraminifera of Zululand (South Africa) and Great Artesian Basin (Australia). Micropaleontology 20(1): 76-96.         [ Links ]

LANG, W.D. 1908. Polyzoa and Anthozoa from the Upper Cretaceous limestones at Need's Camp, Buffalo River. Annals of the South African Museum 7(1): 1-11.         [ Links ]

LOCK, B.E. 1973. Tertiary limestones at Needs Camp, near East London. Transactions of the Geological Society ofSouth Africa 76(1): 1-5.         [ Links ]

LOEBLICH, A.R. Jr. & TAPPAN, H. 1988. Foraminiferal Genera and their Classification. 970 pp. (2 volumes). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.         [ Links ]

MAKRIDES, M. 1979. Foraminifera of the Upper Cretaceous Mzamba Formation, Transkei, Southern Africa. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.         [ Links ]

MALUMIÁN, N. 1990. Foraminíferos bentónicos del Cretácico de Cuenca Austral, Argentina. In: VOLKHEIMER, W. (ed.) Comité Sudamericano del Jurásico y Cretácico (Mendoza, 1986): 429-495.         [ Links ]

MALUMIÁN, N. & MASIUK, V. 1976. Foraminíferos de la Formación Cabeza de León (Cretácico superior, Tierra del Fuego, Rep. Argentina). Revista de la Asociación Geológica de la Argentina 31(3): 180-202.         [ Links ]

MAUD, R.R., PARTRIDGE, T.C. & SIESSER, W.G. 1987. An Early Tertiary marine deposit at Pato's Kop, Ciskei. South African Journal of Geology 90(3): 231-238.         [ Links ]

McGOWRAN, B. & MOORE, A.C. 1971.Areptilian tooth and Upper Cretaceous microfossils from the lower quarry at Needs Camp, South Africa. Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa 74(2): 103-105.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. 1990a. Foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the Barremian to Miocene rocks of the Kudu 9A-1, 9A-2 and 9A-3 boreholes. Communications of the Geological Survey of Namibia 6: 23-29.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. 1990b. A foraminiferal biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy for the Pliocene to Pleistocene Upper Algoa Group, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Geology 93(4): 622-644.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. 1994. The foraminiferal sequence stratigraphy of the southernmost Namibe Basin borehole 1911/15-1, offshore northernmost Namibia. Unpublished report to Namcor, Windhoek, Namibia.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K.2003. Foraminiferally defined biostratigraphicepisodes and sedimentation pattern of the Cretaceous drift succession (Early Barremian to Late Maastrichtian) in seven basins on the South African and southern Namibian continental margin. South African Journal of Science 99(11/12): 537-576.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. 2008a. Aragonitic-walled benthic foraminifera (Epistomina) in the Cretaceous 'mud-belt' off southern Africa, and postmortem cross-shelf transport of tests. African Natural History 4: 17-24.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. 2008b. Reappraisal of foraminiferal assemblages of the Santonian-Campanian Mzamba Formation type section, and their correlation with the stratigraphic succession of the KwaZulu Basin. African Natural History 4: 25-34.         [ Links ]

McMILLAN, I.K. & DALE, D.C. 2000. Final report on the foraminiferal biostratigraphy of Borehole Jc-D1 (Rhino). Unpublished Report to Phillips Petroleum South Africa and Petroleum Agency South Africa, Cape Town.         [ Links ]

MOUNTAIN, E.D. 1946. The Geology of an Area East of Grahams-town. Explanation of Sheet 136. 56 pp. Pretoria: Geological Survey of South Africa.         [ Links ]

MOUNTAIN, E.D. 1962a. Geology. In: BOARD, C., MOUNTAIN, E.D. & RENNIE J.V.L. (eds) The Border Region, pp. 6-24. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.         [ Links ]

MOUNTAIN, E.D. 1962b. The Geology of the Country around Port Alfred, Cape Province. Explanation of Sheets 3326D and 3327C. 28 pp. Pretoria: Geological Survey of South Africa.         [ Links ]

MOUNTAIN, E.D. 1974. The Geology of the Area around East London, Cape Province. An Explanation of Sheet Map 3227D (East London) and 3228 (Kei Mouth). 29 pp. Pretoria: Geological Survey of South Africa.         [ Links ]

OVECHKINA, M.N., WATKEYS, M. & MOSTOVSKI, M.B. 2008. Calcareous nannofossils from the stratotype section of the Mzamba Formation, Eastern Cape, South Africa. In: Abstracts volume, Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa (Matjiesfontein, September 2008): 149-154 (and Palaeontologia africana 44 (in press).         [ Links ]

PIENAAR, R.N. 1966. Microfossils from the Cretaceous System of Zululand as studied with the aid of the electron microscope. South African Journal of Science 62(5): 147-157.         [ Links ]

PIENAAR, R.N. 1968. Upper Cretaceous coccolithophorids from Zululand, South Africa. Palaeontology11(3): 361-367.         [ Links ]

PIENAAR, R.N. 1969. Upper Cretaceous calcareous nannoplankton from Zululand, South Africa. Palaeontologia africana 12: 75-149.         [ Links ]

SALMAN, G. & ABDULA, I.1996. Development of the Mozambique and Ruvuma sedimentary basins, offshore Mozambique. Sedimentary Geology 96(1): 7-41.         [ Links ]

SALMON, D.A. 1977. Micropalaeontological investigation of a sample from the Igoda road quarry, Cape Province. Council for Geoscience Report, Pretoria 1977-0440.         [ Links ]

SHAFIK, S. 1990. Late Cretaceous nannofossil biostratigraphy and biogeography of the Australian western margin. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Canberra, Report 295: 1-164.         [ Links ]

SHAFIK, S. 1998. Problems with the Cretaceous biostratigraphic system of Australia: time for a review. Australian Geological Survey (AGSO) Research Newsletter 28: 4 pp.         [ Links ]

SIESSER, W.G. 1982. Cretaceous calcareous nannoplankton in South Africa. Journal of Paleontology 56(2): 335-350.         [ Links ]

SIESSER, W.G. & MILES, G.A. 1979. Calcareous nannofossils and planktic foraminifers in Tertiary limestones, Natal and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 79(6): 139-158.         [ Links ]

SINGH, V. & McLACHLAN, I. 2003. South Africa's east coast frontier offers untested mid to deep water potential. Oil and Gas Journal 101(22): 40-44.         [ Links ]

SINGANO, J.M. & KAREGA, A.I.S. 2000. An Atlas of the Carboniferous to Tertiary Micropalaeontology of the SADC Region of Southern Africa. Volume 1: Foraminifera. (Part 1: Pindiro Shales (Oxfordian to Kimmeridgian); Part 2: Mostly Late Aptian to Late Cenomanian; Part 3: Turonian to Maastrichtian; Part 4: Palaeocene, Eocene and Late Miocene). 230 pp. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Southern African Development Community/Tanzanian Petroleum Development Corporation.         [ Links ]

SLITER, W.V. 1968. Upper Cretaceous foraminifera from Southern California and northwestern Baja California, Mexico. Paleontological Contributions from the UniversityofKansas, Article 7: 1-141.         [ Links ]

SMITTER, Y.H. 1955. Foraminifera from the Upper Cretaceous beds occurring near the Itongazi River, Natal. Palaeontologia africana 3: 103-107.         [ Links ]

SMITTER, Y.H. 1957a. Upper Cretaceous foraminifera from Sandy Point, St. Lucia Bay, Zululand. South African Journal of Science 53: 195-201.         [ Links ]

SMITTER, Y.H. 1957b. The species relationships and stratigraphic distribution of Southern African Upper Cretaceous Epistomina. Palaeontologia africana 5: 83-85.         [ Links ]

STAPLETON, R.P. 1975. Planktonic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils at the Cretaceous-Tertiary contact in Zululand. Palaeontologia africana 18: 53-69.         [ Links ]

THOMPSON, L.B., HEINE, C.J., PERCIVAL, C.F., Jr. & SELZNICK, M.R. 1991. Stratigraphy and micropaleontology of the Campanian shelf in northeast Texas. Micropaleontology Press, Special Publication 5: 1-148.         [ Links ]

VERHAGEN, B.T., TREDOUX, M., LINDSAY, N.M., SELLSHOP, J.D.F., VON SALIS PERCH-NIELSEN, K. & KOEBERL, C. 1990. Implications of isotopic and other geochemical data from a Cretaceous-Tertiary transition in southern Africa. Chemical Geology 80: 319-325.         [ Links ]

WOODS, H. 1908. Echinoidea, Brachiopoda and Lamellibranchia from the Upper Cretaceous limestone of Need's Camp, Buffalo River. Annals of the South African Museum 7(2): 13-20.         [ Links ]

WRIGHT, T. 1998. An investigation of the foraminifera from the Zululand coastal plain, South Africa. Unpublished M.Sc. thesis, University College, London.         [ Links ]



Received 22 August 2009
Accepted 14 October 2009

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License