Palaeoclimatology and biostratigraphic significance of late Neogene/Quaternary vegetational changes recorded in the offshore western Niger Delta
 
More details
Hide details
1
Department of Botany, University of Lagos, Nigeria
2
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Online publication date: 2019-12-16
Publication date: 2019-12-16
 
Acta Palaeobotanica 2019; 59(2): 373–390
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Attempts at reconstructing palaeoclimatic changes over time using palynomorphs of three oil wells drilled in the shallow offshore Niger Delta led to cluster analysis-aided recognition of seven pollen zones. These pollen zones are equivalent to ten palaeoclimatic zones with alternating dry and wet conditions. The palynomorphs were classified into phytoecological groups and changes in their relative abundances were employed to interpret the palaeoclimatic conditions of their source areas. Contrasting fluctuations in the proportions of the Spore (Pteridophytes) phytoecological group and those of the Poaceae were the main basis for palaeoclimatic inferences. Trends of the occurrence of other phytoecological groups were used to substantiate our palaeoclimatic inferences. In the latest Miocene (5.8–5.5 Ma), climatic conditions were mainly wet until between 5.5 and 5.0 Ma, when extreme dry conditions prevailed. The early Pliocene part (5.0–>3.4 Ma) was generally wet, while the late Pliocene part (<3.0–2.7 Ma) was extremely dry, with wet conditions re-occurring at the latest Pliocene/earliest Pleistocene boundary at a lower magnitude than those of the early Pliocene. This is inferred from the bloom of open vegetation Acanthaceae undif., Polygala sp. and Asystacia gangetica, along with montane Podocarpus milanjianus from 2.4 Ma through 2.0 Ma and younger. The Acanthaceae bloom recorded the evolution of A. gangetica in the latest Pliocene/earliest Pleistocene at around 2.0 Ma in the Niger Delta. The upper Early Pliocene regional wet event is associated with distinct peaks of riverine forest, freshwater swamp and mangrove pollen. Our results further support earlier findings from other parts of West Africa with respect to palaeoclimatic changes in the late Neogene/ earliest Quaternary. Equivalent qualitative palynostratigraphic events were recognized within the pollen zones which are useful for age determination, and the significance of biostratigraphic correlation of the zones is stressed.
 
REFERENCES (57)
1.
ADEGOKE O.S., OMATSOLS M.E. & SALAMI M.B. 1976. Benthonic Foraminiferal Biofacies off the Niger Delta. 1st International Symposium on Benthonic foraminifera. Maritime Sediments, Special Publication, 1: 279–292.
 
2.
ADEONIPEKUN P.A. & OLOWOKUDEJO J.D. 2013. Palynology of Recent Bottom Sediments from Shallow Offshore Niger / Cross River Delta Nigeria: A Preliminary Study. Int. J. Bot., 9(3): 100–122. http://dx.doi.org/10.3923/ijb.....
 
3.
ADEONIPEKUN P.A., SOWUNMI M.A. & RICHARDS K. 2015. A new Late Miocene to Pleistocene palynomorph zonation for the western offshore Niger Delta. Palynology, 41(1): 2–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0191....
 
4.
ADEONIPEKUN P.A., AGBALAYA A.E. & ADENIYI T.A. 2016. Aeropalynology of Ayetoro-Itele, Ota Southwest Nigeria: A preliminary study: 130–153. In: Oyelaran P.A, Alabi R.A. & Adeonipekun P.A. (eds), Human Palaeoecology in Africa: Essays in Honour of M. Adebisi Sowunmi. University of Ibadan Press, Ibadan, U.I.
 
5.
ADEONIPEKUN P.A., ADENIYI T.A., MATEAWO J. & AGBALAYA B. 2017. The Late Quaternary vegetational and environmental history of western tropical Africa: the eastern Benin Basin, Lagos, Nigeria. Geology, Geophysics & Environment, 43(4): 277–291. http://dx.doi.org/10.7494/geol....
 
6.
ADOJOH O. MARRET F., DULLER R. & OSTERLOFF P. 2017. Tropical palaeovegetation dynamics, environmental and climate change impact from the low latitude coastal offshore margin, Niger Delta, Gulf of Guinea. Palaeoecology of Africa, 34: 107–144.
 
7.
ALLEN J.R.L. 1965. Late Quatenary Niger Delta and adjacent areas: sedimentary environment and lithofacies. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 49: 549–600.
 
8.
AVBOVBO A.A. 1978. Tertiary lithostratigraphy of Niger delta. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 62(2): 295–306.
 
9.
BAKARE O., KANU K.M. & NEIL H. 2009. Influence of mass transport deposits on Paleotopography, turbidite reservoir architecture and preservation, Niger Delta, West Africa. Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists Bulletin, 21(1): 7–24.
 
10.
BLOW W.H. 1969. Late middle Eocene to Recent planktic foraminiferal biostratigraphy: 199–422. In: Bronnimann P. & Renz H.H. (eds), Proceedings of the First International Conference on Planktonic Microfossils, Geneva 1967, 1.
 
11.
BOLLI H.M. & SAUDERS S.B. 1985. Oligocene to Holocene low latitude planktic foraminifera: 155–262. In: Bolli H.M., Saunders J.B., Perch-Nielsen K. (eds), Plankton Stratigraphy. Cambridge University Press.
 
12.
CERLING T.E. 1992. Development of grasslands, savannas in East Africa during the Neogene. Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimat., Palaeoecol., 97: 241–247.
 
13.
CERLING T.E. & HAY R.L. 1988. An isotopic study of paleosol carbonates from Olduvai Gorge. Quat. Res., 25: 63–78.
 
14.
DeMENOCAL P.B. 1995. Plio-Pleistocene African climate. Science, 270: 53–59.
 
15.
DeMENOCAL P.B. 2004. African climate change and faunal evolution during the Pliocene Pleistocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 220(1–2): 3–24. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-....
 
16.
DURUGBO E.U., OGUNDIPE O.T. & ULU O.K. 2010. Palynological Evidence of Pliocene-Pleistocene Climatic Variations from the Western Niger Delta, Nigeria. Int. J. Bot., 6: 351–370. https://doi.org/10.3923/ijb.20....
 
17.
EVAMY B.D., HAREMBOURE J., KAMERLING P., KNAAP W.A., MOLLOY F.A. & ROWLANDS P.H. 1978. Hydrocarbon Habitat of Tertiary Niger Delta. American Association Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 62(1): 1–39.
 
18.
GERMERAAD J.H., HOPPING C.A. & MULLER J. 1968. Palynology of Tertiary sediments from tropical areas. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 6: 189–343.
 
19.
GOSLING D., MILLER S.M. & LIVINGSTONE D.A. 2013. Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 199: 1–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.revp....
 
20.
HAQ B.U., HARDENBOL J. & VAIL P.R. 1987. Chronology of fluctuating sea levels since the Triassic. Science, 235: 1156–1167.
 
21.
HERBERT T.D., LAWRENCE K.T., TZANOVA A., PETERSON L.C., CABALLERO-GILL R. & KELLY C.S. 2016. Late Miocene global cooling and the rise of modern ecosystems. Nature Geoscience, 9: 843–849. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo28....
 
22.
HOETZEL S., DUPONT L.M., MARRET F., JUNG G. & WEFER G. 2017. Steps in the intensification of Benguela upwelling over the Walvis Ridge during Miocene and Pliocene. Int. J. Earth Sci., 106(1): 171–183. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531....
 
23.
HUTCHINSON J. & DALZIEL J.M. 1954. Flora of West Tropical Africa. vol 1 part 1 (2nd edition revised by Keay, R.W.J.). London: Crown Agents. 295 p.
 
24.
HUTCHINSON J. & DALZIEL J.M. 1958. Flora of West Tropical Africa. vol 1 part 2 (2nd edition revised by Keay, R.W.J.). London: Crown Agents. 532 p.
 
25.
HUTCHINSON J. & DALZIEL J.M. 1963. Flora of West Tropical Africa. vol 2 (2nd edition revised by Hepper FN.). London: Crown Agents. 544 p.
 
26.
HUTCHINSON J. & DALZIEL J.M. 1968. Flora of West Tropical Africa. vol 3 part 1 (2nd edition revised by Hepper F.N.). London: Crown Agents. 276 p.
 
27.
HUTCHINSON J. & DALZIEL J.M. 1972. Flora of West Tropical Africa, vol 3 part 2 (2nd edition revised by Hepper FN.). London: Crown Agents. 300 p.
 
28.
JAHNS S., HULS M. & SAMTHEIN M. 1998. Vegetation and climate history of west equatorial Africa based on a marine pollen record off Liberia (site GIK 16776) covering the last 400,000 years. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 102: 277–288.
 
29.
JOORDENS J.C.A., FEIBEL C.S., VONHOF H.B., SCHULP A.S. & KROON D. 2019. Relevance of the eastern African coastal forest for early hominin biogeography. J. Hum. Evol., 131: 176–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhev....
 
30.
KEAY R.W.J. 1959. An outline of Nigerian vegetation. Federal Government of Nigeria, Nigeria, 46p.
 
31.
KNAPP W.A. 1971. A montane pollen species from the upper tertiary of the Niger delta. Journal of Mining and Geology, 6: 23–29.
 
32.
LEROY S.A.G. & DUPONT L.M. 1997. Marine palynology of the ODP site 658 (N-W Africa) and its contribution to the stratigraphy of late Pliocene. GEOBIOS, 30(3): 351–359.
 
33.
MALEY J. 1991. The African rain forest: vegetation and paleoenvironments during late Quaternary. Climate Change, 19: 79–98.
 
34.
MORLEY R.J. 1986. New approaches to stratigraphical and palaeoenvironmental modelling in Neogene deltaics with emphasis on the Niger Delta. Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Conference Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists; November 1985; Lagos, p. 229–230.
 
35.
MORLEY R.J. 2000. Origin and evolution of Tropical Rain Forests. UK: Wiley. 362 p.
 
36.
MORLEY R.J. & RICHARDS K. 1993. Gramineae cuticle: a key indicator of late Cenozoic climatic change in the Niger Delta. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol., 77: 119–127.
 
37.
MORLEY R.J. & RICHARDS K. 1997. Offshore Niger Delta Palynological Zonation, prepared for the Niger Delta Stratigraphic Commission, Nigeria, p. 1–9.
 
38.
MULLER J. 1959. Palynology of Recent Orinoco delta and shelf sediments. Micropaleontology, 5(1): 1–32.
 
39.
NAIDINA O.D. & RICHARDS K. 2016. Pollen evidence for Late Pliocene – Early Pleistocene vegetation and climate change in the North Caucasus, North-Western Caspian Region. Quat. Int., 409(A): 50–60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quai....
 
40.
OZUMBA M.B. 1999. Middle to Late Miocene Sequence Stratigraphy of the western Niger Delta Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists Bulletin, 14(2): 176–191.
 
41.
POUMOT C. 1989. Palynological evidence for eustatic events in the tropical Neogene. Bulletin Centr. Reche. Expl.-Prod. d’Elf-Aquitaine, 13(2): 447–453.
 
42.
REIJERS T.J.A. 1996. Selected chapters on Geology. Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria, 197 p.
 
43.
REIJERS T.J.A. 2011. Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Niger Delta. Geologos, 17(3): 133–162. https://doi.org/10.2478/v10118....
 
44.
SALARD-CHEBOLDAEFF M. 1980. Palynologie Camerounais I. Pollen de la mangrove et des fourres arbustifs ĉotiers. C.R. 105e Congres National des Societes Savantes. Caen; France, 1: 233–247.
 
45.
SALARD-CHEBOLDAEFF M. 1981. Palynologie Camerounais II. Grains de pollen de la foret littorale de basse altitude. C.R. 106e Congres National des Societes Savantes. Perpignan; France, 1: 125–136.
 
46.
SALARD-CHEBOLDAEFF M. 1990. Intertropical African palynostratigraphy from Cretaceous to late Quaternary times. J. African Earth Sci., 11: 1–24.
 
47.
SHORT K.C. & STAUBLE J.A. 1967. Outline of Geology of Niger Delta. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 6: 761–799.
 
48.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1973. Pollen of Nigerian Plants I. Woody species. Grana, 13: 145–186.
 
49.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1981a. Aspects of Late Quaternary vegetational changes in West Africa. J. Biogeogr., 8: 457–474.
 
50.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1981b. Late Quaternary environmental changes in Nigeria. Pollen et Spore, 23(1): 125–148.
 
51.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1986. Change of Vegetation with time: 273–306. In: Lawson John G.W. (ed.), Plant Ecology in West Africa. Wiley & Sons Ltd.
 
52.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1987. Palynological Studies in the Niger Delta: 30–31. In: Alagoa E.J., Anozie F.N., Nzewunwa N. (eds), The Early History of the Niger Delta. Helmat Buske Verlag, Hamburg, UK.
 
53.
SOWUNMI M.A. 1995. Pollen of Nigerian Plants II. Woody species. Grana, 43: 120–141.
 
54.
SOWUNMI M.A. 2004. Aspects of Nigerian coastal vegetation in the Holocene: some recent insights: 199–218. In: Battarbee R.W., Grasse F. & Stickley C.E. (eds), Past Climate Variability through Europe and Africa. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.
 
55.
THANIKAIMONI G. 1987. Mangrove palynology. Travaux de la section scienti. que et Technique, 24: 1–100.
 
56.
THANIKAIMONI G., CARATINI C., VENKATACHALA B.S., RAMANUJAM C.G.K. & KAR R.K. 1984. Selected Tertiary angiosperm pollen from India and their relationship with African Tertiary pollen. Institut Français de Pondichéry, Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique, 19: 1–93.
 
57.
VALLE F., DUPONT L.M., LEROY S.A.G., SCHEFUB E., WEFER G. 2014. Pliocene environmental change inWest Africa and the onset of strong NE trade winds (ODP Sites 659 and 658). Palaeogeogr., Palaeoclimat., Palaeoecol., 414: 403–414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pala....
 
 
CITATIONS (2):
1.
The biostratigraphy of the offshore Niger delta during the Late Quaternary: Complexities and progress of dating techniques
Onema Adojoh, Fabienne Marret-Davies, Robert Duller, Peter Osterloff, Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, Malcolm Hart, Christopher Smart
Quaternary Science Advances
 
2.
Continental palynomorphs from the Dabaa Formation, North-Western Desert, Egypt: a contribution to the reconstruction of the vegetation on the southern shores of the Tethys Ocean during the Early Oligocene
Atfy El, Beialy El, Khoriby El, Dieter Uhl
Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
 
eISSN:2082-0259
ISSN:0001-6594