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Marine Micropaleontology, 7 (1982) 363--368


Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam -- Printed in The Netherlands

Short Communication









Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory, Palisades, New York 10964 (U.S.A.)

(Received August 28, 1981; accepted October 29, 1981)

Burckle, L.H., 1982. Diatom biostratigraphy of Late Miocene and Pliocene sediments of eastern Java (Indonesia).
Mar. Micropaleontol., 7 : 363--368.
A study of the marine diatoms of the Late Miocene to Pliocene Njepung section (Java) yield results that are
in substantial agreement with Saint-Marc and Suminta (1979). The lower part of the Globigerina Marls belongs
to the Late Miocene/Early Pliocene Thalassiosira convexa zone of Burckle (1972) while the middle of the formation belongs to the Middle Miocene Nitzschia jousea zone of Burckle (1972). An open ocean environment is indicated while the abundant presence of Thalassiosira nitzschioides suggests strong upwelling, at least in the lower
part of the Globigerina Marls.

Within t h e past few years, a n u m b e r o f
p a p e r s have b e e n p u b l i s h e d on t h e m i c r o fossil b i o s t r a t i g r a p h y
o f L a t e Miocene/
latest-Pliocene sections in c e n t r a l and e a s t e r n
Java. ( N i n k o v i c h and Burckle, 1 9 7 8 ; SaintMarc and S u m i n t a , 1 9 7 9 ; V a n Gorsel and
T r o e l s t r a , 1981.) In a d d i t i o n t o i d e n t i f y i n g
b i o s t r a t i g r a p h i c m a r k e r s , these p a p e r s have
addressed such p r o b l e m s as p a l e o c l i m a t e ,
paleoceanography, the timing of the emergence o f this p o r t i o n o f J a v a as well as t h e
t i m i n g o f t h e first a p p e a r a n c e o f h o m i n i d s
in J a v a ( N i n k o v i c h and Burckle, 1 9 7 8 ; Nink o v i c h et al., 1 9 8 2 ) . T h e sections studied b y
Saint-Marc and S u m i n t a {1979) and Van
Gorsel and T r o e l s t r a ( 1 9 8 1 ) are l o c a t e d a
s h o r t d i s t a n c e f r o m t h e B o d j o n e g o r o Well
No. 1 (Bolli, 1 9 6 6 ) and serve to c o m p l e m e n t
its f o r a m i n i f e r a l b i o s t r a t i g r a p h y .

T h r o u g h t h e c o u r t e s y o f Saint-Marc, I
o b t a i n e d s a m p l e s ( s o m e 70 in all) f r o m t h e
N j e p u n g section (Saint-Marc and S u m i n t a ,
1 9 7 9 ) in eastern J a v a for d i a t o m analysis.
T h e N j e p u n g section, m o r e t h a n 6 5 0 m
t h i c k , is l o c a t e d 50 k m s o u t h w e s t o f Bodjon e g o r o and consists o f t h e L a t e M i o c e n e
K e r e k l i m e s t o n e overlain b y t h e L a t e Mioc e n e - - P l i o c e n e G l o b i g e r i n a Marls f o r m a t i o n
and t h e Pleistocene N j e p u n g l i m e s t o n e . T h e
results o b t a i n e d b y these t w o a u t h o r s are
s u m m a r i z e d in Fig. 1. A hiatus was identified at t h e c o n t a c t b e t w e e n the K e r e k
F o r m a t i o n and t h e G l o b i g e r i n a Marls w i t h i n
t h e G l o b o r o t a l i a acostaensis Z o n e . T h r e e
foraminiferal zones
gave t h e
a u t h o r s sufficient d a t a to tie t h e i r section
t o t h e B o d j o n e g o r o Well o f Bolli (1966).
T h e regional g e o l o g y o f t h e N j e p u n g area
has b e e n s u m m a r i z e d b y Saint-Marc and
S u m i n t a ( 1 9 7 9 ) . T h e region is within an

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Fig. 1. D i a t o m z o n a t i o n in t h e N j e p u n g section. O b l i q u e lines i n d i c a t e intervals t h a t were b a r r e n o f d i a t o m s .

T h e f o r a m i n i f e r a l z o n a t i o n was d e t e r m i n e d o n t h e same s a m p l e set b y Saint-Marc and S u m i n t a ( 1 9 7 9 ) .

east--west trending anticlinorium (the Kendeng Zone). Paralleling it to the south is the
east--west trending volcanic high of Java,
while to the north is the Rembang uplift.
The Kendeng Zone was submerged during
the Late Miocene and Pliocene and was
apparently deep enough for open ocean conditions to prevail. Progressive uplift from the
south eventually led to emergent conditions
in this region during the latest Pliocene.
Samples were prepared using procedures
described by Burckle et al. (1978}. This is
a modification of a "standard" method
described by Schrader (1974} and is not
much different from that used by most
diatomists. Identification of major index
species follow that of Muchina (1963),
Burckle (1972), and Schrader (1974) while
the ranges of these species are taken from
Burckle (1972, 1977, 1978), Burckle and
Opdyke (1977) and Kazarina (1975). In
these papers, all ranges of all index species
have been tied directly to the paleomagnetic
reversal record. Of the 70 samples examined,
samples 1 to 29 and 39 to 41 contained
diatoms (Fig. 1). The remaining samples
were barren of this group, or the diatoms
were in too poor a state of preservation for

The late Cenozoic planktonic diatom
zonation of Burckle (1972, 1978) is used in
this study. The Epoch and Age boundaries
follow the usage of Cita (1975), Saito et al.
(1975), Berggren and Van Couvering (1974),
Van Couvering et al. (1976), and Berggren
et al. (1980}, in that the Miocene/Pliocene
boundary is placed just above the Epoch 5/
Gilbert Magnetic Epoch boundary and the
Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary is placed in
the Olduvai Event of the Matuyama Reversed
Magnetic Epoch. In their study, Saint-Marc
and Suminta (1979) followed the usage of

Stainforth et al. (1975) in placing the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary at the Globorotalia

acostaensis Blow last appearance, which
occurs in the middle of the Gauss Normal
Magnetic Epoch (Saito et al., 1975).
Parts of two diatom zones are recognized
in this section: the Thalassiosira convexa zone
occurs from samples 8 to 29, while the
Nitzschia jouseae zone is found in samples
39 to 41. The lower~most samples from the
Kerek limestone (samples 1--7) contain
abundant sponge spicules although diatoms
are also present in varying degrees of preservation. Arachnoidiscus sp. is present along
with Actinocyclus ellipticus Grunow, A. ellipticus vat. javanicus Reinhold, Hemidiscus
cuneiformis Wallich, Astrolampra marylandica
and Hemiaulus polymorphus
Grunow. This assemblage differs somewhat
from the diatoms in the lower part of the
Globigerina Marls (samples 8--29). In this
interval, I find such forms as Thalassiosira
convexa var. aspinosa Schrader, Nitzschia
reinholdii Kanaya et Koizumi, Coscindodiscus nodulifer 0. Schmidt, Nitzschia marina
Grunow, Hemidiscus cuneiformis and Lithodesmium cornigerum Brun. In sample 15,
Coscinodiscus nodulifer var. cyclopus Jous6
first appears. In the equatorial Pacific, the
earliest-Pliocene first appearance of this form
is near the " c ' " event of the Gilbert Magnetic
Reversed Epoch (Burckle and Opdyke, in
prep.). This form also occurs in the middle
part of the Late Miocene but is absent from
sediments of latest-Miocene age. Nitzschia
reinholdii is reported from latest-Miozene
to Pleistocene sediments. In this section, it
occurs in samples 8 to 29 and 39 to 42 as
does Nitzschia marina, a Miocene to Recent
form. In sample 27, I record an occurrence of
Cussia tatsunokuchi Koizumi. This Early
Pliocene form is c o m m o n to higher latitudes
and to marginal seas b u t has not been directly
tied to the paleomagnetic stratigraphy.
Thalassiosira convexa var. aspinosa has been
tied to the paleomagnetics, however, and
occurs from the Late Miocene (Late Epoch 6)
to the Late Pliocene (early part of the Matu-

yama Reversed Epoch). This form occurs in
samples 8 to 29 and 39 to 41. Finally, I
note the occurrence of Nitzschia jouseae
Burckle in samples 39 to 41. This species
ranges in the Pliocene from the " c " event
of the Gilbert to the upper part of the Gauss
Normal Epoch. The most abundant species
found in most samples is Thalassionema
nitzschioides Grunow and Th. nitzschioides
var. parva. These two forms are quite cosmopolitan, but occur most abundantly in
upwelling areas along eastern boundary currents (Cook-Poferl et al., 1975).

In their discussion of the Njepung section,

Saint-Marc and Suminta (1979) identified
the Miocene/Pliocene boundary by the first
appearance of Globorotalia margaritae and
the Pliocene/Pleistocene boundary by the
last appearance of Globoquadrina acostaensis
(Stainforth et al., 1975). In their discussions
Cita (1975), Saito et al. (1975) and Berggren
and Van Couvering (1974) placed this boundary at or just above the upper normal event
of Magnetic Epoch 5. G. margaritae Bolli
and Bermudez is rejected as a suitable marker
for the boundary because: (a) it occurs below
the boundary in some regions, particularly
the Mediterranean (Baena Perez et al., 1977);
and (b) the first appearance cannot be reliably and consistently detected. Therefore,
1 have followed current usage (Berggren and
Van Couvering, 1974) in placing the boundary in the lower part of the Gilbert Reversed
Epoch at approximately 4.9 to 5.1 and coincident with the first appearance of Globorotalia turnida Brady. This level is also marked
by the last appearance of the diatom species
Thalassiosira miocenica Schrader (Burckle and
Opdyke, 1977; Burckle, 1978) although this
species is not recorded in this section.
Saito et al. (1975) record the last appearance of G. acostaensis in the middle of the
Gauss Normal Epoch. This is the Pliocene/
Pleistocene boundary after the usage of
Stainforth et al. (1975) which is followed

by Saint-Marc and Suminta (1979), but is

Late Pliocene after the usage of Saito et al.
(1975). The age of the transition from marine
to non-marine sediment in this part of Java
is not substantially different, therefore,
from that reported by Ninkovich and Burckle
(1979) and Ninkovich et al. (1982), although
these authors place it in the Late Pliocene
(after the usage of Saito et al., 1975} while
Saint-Marc and Suminta (1979) place it in
the Early Pleistocene.
The diatoms in samples 8 to 29 belong to
the Thalassiosira convexa zone of Burckle
(1972). According to Burckle {1972) the
nominate taxon Th. convexa var. aspinosa
first appears in the upper part of Magnetic
Epoch 6 and disappears in the lower part of
the Matuyama Reversed Epoch. There are
several reasons to suggest that the occurrence
of this species in the Njepung section is in
the lower part of its range. In sample 15, I
note the first appearance of Coscinodiscus
nodulifer var. cyclopus. According to Burckle
(in prep.), this species first appears in the
lower part of the Gilbert Reversal Epoch, but
above the last appearance of Th. miocenica.
The close association with the first appearance of G. tumida suggests that this part of
the section is near the Miocene/Pliocene
boundary. Further evidence for this point
is the occurrence of the diatom C. tatsunokuchi. Although this species has never been
directly tied to the paleomagnetic reversal
record, there is ample evidence in the literature to suggest that it ranges from latest
Miocene to earliest Pliocene (Koizumi,
Samples 39 to 41 contain Th. convexa
var. aspinosa and Nitzschia ]ouseae. This
latter species first appears in the split " c "
magnetic event of the Gilbert and disappears
in the upper normal event of the Gauss
(Burckle, 1972; Burckle and Opdyke, 1977).
The co-occurrence of these two species and
the absence of Rhizosolenia praebergoni
Muchina and Thalassiosira convexa var.
convexa, both of which first appear in or near
the Gauss argues for an Early Pliocene age

for this sample, sometime during the Gilbert
Reversal Magnetic Epoch. I use negative
evidence because both of these species are
found in the equatorial Atlantic and IndoPacific (Burckle, 1972; Schrader, 1974;
Kazarina, 1975), and thus, their presence
should be expected in the Njepung section
particularly since Ninkovich and Burckle
(1979) and Ninkovich et al. (1982) report
the presence of these two species in sections
from central Java. The composition of the
nitzschioides and var. parva and such open
ocean tropical and subtropical forms as
Nitzschia marina, Coscinodiscus nodulifer,
Hernidiscus cuneiforrnis and Coscinodiscus
radiatus Ehrenberg) support the conclusion
of Saint-Marc and Suminta (1979) that
this section represents a largely deep water,
open ocean environment. Abundant Thalassionerna nitzschioides is associated with a
strongly upwelling marine environment usually along an eastern boundary current. In
previous studies (Cook-Poferl et al., 1975, and
author's unpublished notes) an assemblage
dominated by Thalassionerna nitzschioides
in surface sediments was found to be associated with the Peru--Chile current. Burckle
et al. (1982) noted the initiation of the
dominated assemblage
occuring at the same time as a major global
cooling. Finally, Schrader (in Berggren et
al., 1976) has pointed out the close association between a Th. nitzschioides dominated
assemblage and coastal upwelling in the E1
Cuervo section of southern Spain.
Diatom results from the Late Miocene/
Pliocene Njepung section of eastern Java
are in substantial agreement with results from
the Foraminifera. They provide additional
ties to the paleomagnetic reversal records.
Correlations are made as follows.
(1) The lower part of the Globigerina
Marls belong to the Thalassiosira convexa
zone of Burckle (1972).

(2) The first appearance of G. turnida and

the nearly concurrent first appearance of
C. nodulifer var. cyclopus indicate that the
level near samples 13 to 15 is in the early
Gilbert Magnetic Epoch. This contention
is supported by the joint occurrence of
C. tatsunokuchi.
(3) The joint occurrence of Th. convexa
var. aspinosa and N. jouseae in samples 39
to 41 indicate that this level is equivalent
to the middle to upper part of the Gilbert.
(4) An open ocean environment is indicated while the abundant presence of
Th. nitzschioides suggests strong upwelling
at least during the time of deposition of
the lower part of the Globigerina Marls.
The samples for this study were provided
by LEMIGAS through Dr. Pierre Saint-Marc
of the Centre de Recherches Micropaleontologiques J. Cuvillier, Nice, France. I am very
grateful to him for this and for permission
from LEMIGAS to publish these results.
Constance Sancetta, Peter Thompson and
Sandra Bromble read the manuscript and
made many helpful suggestions, for which
I am grateful. Research was supported by
NSF Grants OCE 78-20885 and OCE 7919092. This is Lamont-Doherty Geological
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