Palynology of the Lower Wilcox Group

January 6, 2023 9:00 AM


Vann Smith, Ph.D.
Staff Biostratigrapher
Ellington Geological Services


Palynology, the study of microscopic organic remains like pollen, has useful applications in biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and paleoclimate ranging from the Holocene to the Precambrian. This presentation will focus on current research by Ellington Geological Services and the State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery (STARR) program at the Bureau of Economic Geology on the palynology of onshore, subsurface Lower Wilcox Group wells in Karnes County, Texas. Quantitative counts of palynomorphs (pollen, plant and fungal spores, dinoflagellates, and other organic-walled microfossils) for two wells (Jerome Olinick #16 and Jay Simmons #1) have been completed. Several biostratigraphic events were observed that indicate a Selandian age for most samples. Pollen and plant spores were generally abundant, well-preserved, and diverse in the analyzed samples. Marine dinoflagellate cyst assemblages were generally rare, depauperate, and suggestive of a shallow marine depositional environment. Integration of the palynological results with geochemical results and lithostratigraphic interpretations is underway.

Additionally, previous and ongoing palynological research projects in the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern United States will also be discussed. These other projects include palynological and geochemical analyses of postimpact strata in the Chicxulub impact crater, palynogical analysis of Wilcox Group strata from the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and paleoclimatic reconstructions for the Holocene southeastern United States using lacustrine pollen records.

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