Micropaleontologic analyses of Neogene sediments from Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, provide data on the age of lagoonal deposits, stratigraphic disconformities and the paleoenvironmental and subsidence history of the atoll. Benthic foraminifers, planktic foraminifers, calcareous nannofossils and ostracodes were studied from six boreholes, the deepest penetrating 1605 feet below the lagoon floor into upper Oligocene strata. The Oligocene-Miocene boundary occurs at about 1200 ft below the lagoon floor. The early and middle Miocene is characterized by brief periods of deposition and numerous hiatuses. Ostracodes and benthic foraminifers indicate a shallow-marine reefal environment with occasional brackish water conditions. Upper Miocene and lower Pliocene deposits placed in calcareous nannofossil Zones NN9-15 and in planktic foraminifer Zones N16-19 contain species-rich benthic microfaunas which indicate alternating reefal and brackish water mangrove environments. The upper Pliocene contains at least two major depositional hiatuses that coincide with a major faunal turnover in benthic foraminiferal and ostracode assemblages. The Quaternary is characterized by benthic microfaunas similar to those of modern atoll lagoons and is punctuated by at least 11 disconformities which signify periods of low sea level. Atoll subsidence rates during the last 10 Ma averaged 30 to 40 m/m.y. ?? 1991 Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. All rights reserved.
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Neogene biostratigraphy and paleoenvironments of Enewetak Atoll, equatorial Pacific Ocean