The late Eocene zonal criteria of the west coast of North America are to a large extent controlled by paleoecology and, therefore, the correlation of coeval but environmentally different benthic foraminiferal faunas cannot be achieved before paleoecological control of the biostratigraphy is understood. The faunal trends, morphology, characteristic occurrences and estimated upper depth limits of the benthic foraminifers and associated microfossils in the Oregon and Washington study sections lead to the recognition of paleoecologic facies. The interpretation of these late Eocene facies as bathymetric and low-oxygen facies is based on analogous late Eocene and Holocene assemblages. The paleoecologic facies criteria are often identical to the stage and zonal criteria. In the California zonal schemes, the Narizian zones are identified by lower and middle bathyal faunas whereas the Refugian zones are identified by outer neritic and upper bathyal faunas. The Washington late Eocene zones are identified by middle bathyal and transported neritic faunas. Modifications of the existing zonal schemes such that time and not paleoecology is the controlling factor results in a zonation that synthesizes the existing zonal schemes, recognizes regional stratigraphic ranges of diagnostic species, and removes paleoecologically controlled species occurrences. The late Narizian encompasses a bathyal and a neritic facies. The bathyal facies is correlative with a modified Bulimina corrugata Zone of California and the Uvigerina cf. U. yazooensis Zone of Washington. The neritic late Narizian facies corresponds to a modified Bulimina schencki-Plectofrondicularia cf. P. jenkinsi Zone of Washington and a modified Amphimorphina jenkinsi Zone of California. The Refugian can also be divided into a neritic and a bathyal facies. Although the early and late subdivisions of this stage are tentative, the early Refugian is equivalent to the modified versions of the Cibicides haydoni and the Uvigerina atwilli Subzones of the Valvulineria tumeyensis Zone and the Uvigerina vicksburgensis Zone (in part) of California and the modified version of the Sigmomorphina schencki Zone of Washington. The late Refugian is equivalent to modified versions of the California Uvigerina vicksburgensis Zone (in part) and the Washington Cassidulina galvinensis Zone. The Cibicides haydoni Subzone is the neritic facies of the Refugian Stage, whereas the faunas of the Uvigerina atwilli Subzone and the Uvigerina vicksburgensis, Sigmomorphina schencki and Cassidulina galvinensis Zones represent the bathyal Refugian facies.
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Paleoecological evaluation of Late Eocene biostratigraphic zonations of the Pacific Coast of North America