Megaspore assemblages from the Åre Formation (Rhaetian–Pliensbachian) offshore mid-Norway, and their value as field and regional stratigraphical markers
Keywords: megaspores, micropalaeontology, Upper Triassic–Jurassic, Åre Formation, mid-Norway
Abstract. A megaspore biozonation of the non-marine Åre Formation is proposed, based on a micropalaeontological analysis of key Haltenbanken area wells (Block 6608/11). The lower part of the Åre Formation is divisible into Banksisporites pinguis, Nathorstisporites hopliticus and Horstisporites areolatus zones, and subzones, occupying the Rhaetian–Hettangian interval. In the upper Åre Formation a marked turnover of megaspore assemblages is evident, with the appearance of several species of Trileites and the mesofossil Kuqaia quadrata. On this basis, the biozonation is extended into the Sinemurian–Pliensbachian, with the recognition of the Kuqaia quadrata Zone and subzones. Reference to selected wells in the Urd Field (Block 6608/10) and further south demonstrates that these biozones correlate across the northern Haltenbanken region. Biozonal boundaries are calibrated with miospore/microplankton markers where possible, to provide a robust bio-chronostratigraphical framework with which to evaluate the stratigraphy of the Åre Formation and its reservoir units. Comparison with published European biostratigraphical data shows that a similar megaspore succession exists through the Rhaeto-Liassic interval, with shifts in megaspore composition occurring within the same time intervals. On this evidence it is suggested that the megaspore biozones identified are regionally extensive and may reflect palaeoclimatic controls on the distribution of the megaspore-producing plants. It is concluded that megaspores are a stratigraphically important microfossil group, which should be utilized routinely in Upper Triassic–Jurassic oil field and regional biostratigraphical studies.