Foraminifera and diatoms have been analyzed from an upper Miocene through Pleistocene(?) sequence of marine sediments exposed on Maria Madre Island, largest of the Tre??s Marias Islands off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The Neogene stratigraphic sequence exposed on Maria Madre Island includes a mid-Miocene(?) non-marine and/or shallow marine sandstone unconformably overlain by a lower upper Miocene to uppermost Miocene upper to middle bathyal laminated and massive diatomite, mudstone, and siltstone unit. This unit is unconformably overlain by lower Pliocene middle to lower bathyal sandstones and siltstones which, in turn, are unconformably overlain by upper Pliocene through Pleistocene(?) upper bathyal to upper middle bathyal foraminiferal limestones and siltstones. These beds are unconformably capped by Pleistocene terrace deposits. Basement rocks on the island include Cretaceous granite and granodiorite, and Tertiary(?) andesites and rhyolites. The upper Miocene diatomaceous unit contains a low diversity foraminiferal fauna dominated by species of Bolivina indicating low oxygen conditions in the proto-Gulf Maria Madre basin. The diatomaceous unit grades into a mudstone that contains a latest Miocene upper to middle bathyal biofacies characterized by Baggina californica and Uvigerina hootsi along with displaced neritic taxa. An angular unconformity separates the upper Miocene middle bathyal sediments from overlying lower Pliocene siltstones and mudstones that contain a middle to lower bathyal biofacies and abundant planktonic species including Neogloboquadrina acostaensis and Pulleniatina primalis indicating an early Pliocene age. Significantly, this Pliocene unit contains common occurrences of benthic species restricted to Miocene sediments in California including Bulimina uvigerinaformis. Pliocene to Pleistocene(?) foraminiferal limestones and siltstones characterize submarine bank accumulations formed during uplift of the Tre??s Marias Island area, and include abundant planktonic foraminifera such as Pulleniatina obliquiloculata and Neogloboquadrina duterteri. Common benthic foraminifera in this unit are indicative of upper bathyal water depths. The Neogene depositional history recorded on Maria Madre Island involves an early late Miocene subsidence event marking formation of the Tre??s Marias Basin with relatively undiluted diatomaceous sediment deposited in a low oxygen setting. Subsidence and deepening of the basin continued into the early Pliocene along with rapid deposition of terrigenous clastics. Uplift of the basinal sequence began in late Pliocene time accompanied by deposition of upper Pliocene-Pleistocene foraminiferal limestones on a rising submarine bank. Continued episodic uplift of the Neogene deposits brought the island above sea level by late Pleistocene time. ?? 1988.
Additional publication details
Neogene stratigraphy, foraminifera, diatoms, and depositional history of Maria Madre Island, Mexico: Evidence of early Neogene marine conditions in the southern Gulf of California