Occurrence and Environmental Implications of Calcareous Nannofossils in Surface Sediments of the Western Gulf of Guinea: off Lagos Coast, South-western Nigeria

Olajide J. ADAMOLEKUN, Ekaete E. UMOH


The application of calcareous nannofossils in oil exploration, and environmental studies is playing an increasingly important role all over the world. Most recent researches on this subject area in Nigeria are confined/restricted to the oil producing Niger Delta leaving most other areas untouched. This however limits nannofossils’ application in biostratigraphic and paleoenvironmental interpretation of non oil producing areas within the country. Before now, nannofossils occurrence and application have not been documented in the surface sediments of Nigeria.

Consequently, calcareous nannofossils have been investigated in thirteen (13) surface sediments samples of the littoral area from the continental shelf of western Gulf of Guinea, off Lagos coast. Primarily, this research was aimed at determining the occurrence (and or non occurrence), and relative abundance of nannofossils in surface sediments of the area with which the age of the sediments, paleoenvironment and paleoecological condition(s) could be determined.The samples were collected with the aid of grab sampler, allowed to dry and subjected to detailed lithologic description. Furthermore, the samples were subjected to nannofossils analysis by standard method of preparation. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis was done using the high power Olympus Transmitted Light Microscope (TLM). The occurrence of nannofossils has been established in the study area (littoral area of the western Gulf of Guinea). Most of the sediments are poorly consolidated, fine to coarse grained sand with little amount of clay ant silt fractions that yielded Pliocene to Recent nannofossils (mainly Pleistocene). A total population of 1132 belonging to five different genera (Calcidiscus, Ceratolithus, Gephyrocapsa, Helicosphera and Reticulofenestra) and seven species were found in the studied samples with Gephyrocapsa caribbeanica being the most abundant (followed by Gephyrocapsa oceanica of a little lower abundance). The species indicate a truly shallow marine environment within recent sediment accumulation.

Keywords: Surface sediments, littoral, calcareous nannofossils, Gulf of Guinea, Lagos, Nigeria, biostratigraphy, paleoenvironment, paleoecology, lithologic.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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