The Lindi Formation (upper Albian-Coniacian) and Tanzania Drilling Project Sites 36-40 (Lower Cretaceous to Paleogene): Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and chemostratigraphy

Álvaro Jiménez Berrocoso*, Brian T. Huber, Kenneth G. MacLeod, Maria Rose Petrizzo, Jacqueline A. Lees, Ines Wendler, Helen Coxall, Amina K. Mweneinda, Francesca Falzoni, Heather Birch, Shannon J. Haynes, Paul R. Bown, Stuart A. Robinson, Joyce M. Singano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The 2009 Tanzania Drilling Project (TDP) expedition to southeastern Tanzania cored a total of 572.3. m of sediments at six new mid-Cretaceous to mid-Paleocene boreholes (TDP Sites 36, 37, 38, 39, 40A, 40B). Added to the sites drilled in 2007 and 2008, the new boreholes confirm the common excellent preservation of planktonic and benthic foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils from core samples that will be used for biostratigraphy, evolutionary studies, paleoceanography and climatic reconstructions from the Tanzanian margin, with implications elsewhere. The new sites verify the presence of a relatively expanded Upper Cretaceous succession in the region that has allowed a new stratigraphic unit, named here as the Lindi Formation (Fm), to be formally defined. The Lindi Fm (upper Albian to Coniacian), extending ~120. km between Kilwa and Lindi, comprises a 335-m-thick, outer-shelf to upper-slope unit, consisting of dark gray claystone and siltstone interbeds, common finely-laminated intervals, minor cm-thick sandstones and up to 2.6% organic carbon in the Turonian. A subsurface, composite stratotype section is proposed for the Lindi Fm, with a gradational top boundary with the overlying Nangurukuru Fm (Santonian to Maastrichtian) and a sharp bottom contact with underlying upper Albian sandstones.The section cored at TDP Sites 36 and 38 belongs to the Lindi Fm and are of lower to middle Turonian age (planktonic foraminifera Whiteinella archaeocretacea to Helvetoglobotruncana helvetica Zones and nannofossils subzones UC6b±UC7). The lower portion of TDP Site 39 (uppermost part of the Lindi Fm) is assigned to the lower to upper Coniacian (planktonic foraminifera Dicarinella concavata Zone and nannofossils zone UC 10), while the remaining part of this site is attributed to the Coniacian-Santonian transition and younger Santonian (planktonic foraminifera D. asymetrica Zone and upper part of nannofossils zone UC10). TDP Site 37 recovered relatively expanded (150m thick), monotonous calcareous claystones from the lower to upper Maastrichtian (planktonic foraminifera Pseudoguembelina palpebra to Abathomphalus mayaroensis Zones and nannofossils zones UC19 to UC20aTP) that were separated by a hiatus and/or a faulted contact from overlying brecciated carbonates of the Selandian (middle Paleocene: PF Zone P3 and nannofossil zone NP5). The lower portion of TDP Sites 40A and 40B recovered sandstones and conglomerates barren of microfossils. Their overlying parts were assigned to incomplete sections of the nannofossil zones NC6A to NC8 (uppermost Barremian to lower Albian). Benthic foraminiferal assemblages allowed the Barremian to lower Aptian to be identified in TDP Sites 40A and 40B, while the upper Aptian to middle Albian (Hedbergella trocoidea to Ticinella primula Zones) were assigned using planktonic foraminifera. Cores recovered at TDP 39 (Coniacian-Santonian) and at TDP Sites 40A and 40B (Barremian-middle Albian) represent the first time that these two intervals have been continuously cored and publicly documented in Tanzania.Bulk sediment isotope records generated for the new sites show lower δ18Ocarb values in the Turonian and Santonian (~-3.5‰ to -5‰) than in the Maastrichtian (~-3‰), a situation consistent with extreme global warmth in the older intervals and cooling toward the end of the Cretaceous. Also, similar to Turonian sites from previous TDP expeditions, a negative δ13Corg excursion was detected across the W. archaeocretacea-H. helvetica boundary of TDP Site 36 (close to, but above, the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary). This excursion probably responded to local processes in the region, but it is unknown whether they were related to the recovery phase from Ocean Anoxic Event 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-308
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary
  • Glassy foraminifera
  • Lindi Formation
  • Mandawa and Ruvuma basins
  • Pristine calcareous nannofossils
  • Upper Cretaceous biostratigraphy

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