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Foraminifera from 50 samples taken from the Eastover Formation (Miocene) in Virginia are used in a study of biostratigraphy and paleoecology. The Eastover Formation contains two members: the lower Claremont Manor Member, a clayey, silty, poorly sorted, fine-grained sand which contains abundant foraminifera; and the upper Cobham Bay Member, a well-sorted, shelly, fine-grained sand that contains less abundant foraminifera.
Planktonic species are used to establish a biochronology of the Eastover, while benthic species are used to interpret paleoecology, using the distribution of modern foraminifera as a basis. Evidence of changes in environments through time and varying sea margins is searched for by examination of samples taken from vertical sections and samples taken from different geographic locations within the study area. Additional evidence of paleoenvironments is gained by a grain size analysis of sediments from the formation. Synthesis of this information allows for reconstruction of the geologic history of the Eastover Formation in terms of environments changing through time and space.
Cluster analysis and canonical variate analysis are used to clarify differences in foraminiferal content between and within the two members and to identify the taxa which cause such differences. Analysis of this type is helpful in revealing any foraminiferal assemblage zones present as well as quantifying data derived from the study.
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