, Volume 122, Issue 2, pp 289-307
Date: 26 Mar 2013

Palynostratigraphy and depositional environment of Vastan Lignite Mine (Early Eocene), Gujarat, western India

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Early Eocene sedimentary successions of south Asia, are marked by the development of extensive fossil-bearing, lignite-rich sediments prior to the collision of India with Asia and provide data on contemporary equatorial faunal and vegetational assemblages. One such productive locality in western India is the Vastan Lignite Mine representing approximately a 54–52 Ma sequence dated by the presence of benthic zone marker species, Nummulites burdigalensis burdigalensis. The present study on Vastan Lignite Mine succession is based on the spore-pollen and dinoflagellate cyst assemblages and documents contemporary vegetational changes. 86 genera and 105 species belonging to algal remains (including dinoflagellate cysts), fungal remains, pteridophytic spores and angiospermous pollen grains have been recorded. On the basis of first appearance, acme and decline of palynotaxa, three cenozones have been recognized and broadly reflect changing palaeodepositional environments. These are in ascending stratigraphic order (i) Proxapertites Spp. Cenozone, (ii) Operculodinium centrocarpum Cenozone and (iii) Spinizonocolpites Spp. Cenozone. The basal sequence is lagoonal, palm-dominated and overlain by more open marine conditions with dinoflagellate cysts and at the top, mangrove elements are dominant. The succession has also provided a unique record of fish, lizards, snakes, and mammals.