The palynology of carboniferous strata in Northumberland off-shore boreholes
The work described represents a palynological study of Carboniferous coal seams of Upper Westphallan. A and Westphalian B age from eight off-shore boreholes sunk by the National Coal Board in Northumberland. When treated chemically the majority of the coal samples yielded well-preserved miospores which were studied by means of the optical and scanning electron microscopes. Systematic descriptions of 151 miospore species belonging to 57 genera, and including 18 new types, are given. One miospore assemblage is recognised from the coals of Upper Westphalian A age and two fUrther assemblages from those of Westphalian B age, These compare with assemblages described by earlier workers from strata of similar age elsewhere, but there are differences in the distributions of some of the more abundant taxa, and some of the stratigraphically significant species are not present. Correlations based on miospore distributions between the coal seams encountered in the eight off-shore boreholes agree fairly closely with those established by the National Coal Board on lithological criteria. Relations are discussed between palynology and palaeoecology and detailed comparisons made with the work of Smith and Butterworth 1967 from the adjacent on-shore area. It is concluded that the miospore assemblages described are restricted in that they contain very low representation of Smith's (1962) Densospore phase. This restriction, due to the relatively rapid subsidence of the depositional area, is reflected in the distributions of some of the less common spores as · well as in the abundances of species such as Densosporites sphaerotriangularis, Lycospora pusilla and Apiculatisporis irregularis.