Three new species of dinoflagellate cyst from Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary sections at mid-Waipara River and Fairfield Quarry, South Island, New Zealand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A palynological investigation of marine uppermost Maastrichtian to lower Paleocene strata in two New Zealand sections, mid-Waipara River and Fairfield Quarry, revealed well-preserved dinoflagellate cyst assemblages including three new dinoflagellate cyst species. A formal description of the new dinoflagellate cyst species are presented here. Furthermore a variation of Carpatella cornuta, named C. aff. cornuta is discussed. In the mid-Waipara River section the ranges of the new species Adnatosphaeridium regulatum sp. nov., Alterbidinium mcmillanii sp. nov. and Canningia fairfieldensis sp. nov. are calibrated directly with other microfossil groups including foraminifera, radiolarian and terrestrially derived spores and pollen. The last occurrence of Adnatosphaeridium regulatum sp. nov. is within the lowermost Danian foraminiferal zone P alpha and this event is recorded in sections located in several New Zealand sedimentary basins. Alterbidinium mcmillanii sp. nov. has a very restricted range within the latest Maastrichtian to basal Danian with its last occurrence within foraminferal zone P0. Canningia fairfieldensis sp. nov. has so far only been recorded in lower Danian strata and occurs within the foraminiferal zones P alpha to P1c and radiolarian zones RP1? RP2. A morphological variation of Carpatella cornuta named Carpatella aff. cornuta is only observed in a very narrow interval across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary in the mid-Waipara River section. Based on comparison with other New Zealand K-Pg boundary sections, A. mcmillanii sp. nov. and C. fairfieldensis sp. nov. seem to have a palaeoenvironmental affinity for shallow marine to inner neritic depositional environments.


  • Pi Willumsen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geology


  • dinoflagellate cysts, taxonomy, Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, transition, stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, South Island, New Zealand
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-62
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch