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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 69 (1985)

Issue: 2. (February)

First Page: 247

Last Page: 247

Title: Benthic Foraminiferal Morphology: New Approach to Paleodepth Interpretations in Northern Gulf of Mexico: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Stephen J. Culver, Anthony C. Gary, Martin A. Buzas

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Variation in benthic foraminiferal morphology is a potentially powerful tool in paleoenvironmental and paleobathymetric interpretations. Recognition of distribution patterns of particular morphologic characters in modern Gulf of Mexico taxa will enable these distributions to be applied to bathymetric interpretations of Tertiary core samples.

The morphology of the 295 most commonly recorded benthic foraminiferal species in the northern Gulf of Mexico was scored into 68 categories describing test shape, chamber shape, chamber arrangement, apertural characteristics, and surface sculpture. Cluster analyses of these data at 300 localities resulted in maps showing the distribution of particular sets of morphologic features. Many of these "morphologic biofacies" are depth relatable. Canonical variate analysis was used to determine which morphologic variables were most important in distinguishing the various biofacies.

This approach to paleobathymetric interpretations should be applicable throughout the Cenozoic and perhaps into the Mesozoic, as morphology can be considered as an adaptive response to environmental factors. Even though different taxa are involved throughout the Cenozoic, similar morphologic characters can indicate adaptations to similar environments. Hence, this modern data set can be applied to determine paleobathymetry in older samples.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists