A revised stratigraphy for the Palaeocene Agatdalen flora (Nuussuaq Peninsula, western Greenland): correlating fossiliferous outcrops, macrofossils, and palynological samples from phosphoritic nodules

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The Cretaceous and Palaeogene floras of western Greenland that were initially described as part of the classical work “Flora fossilis arctica” by Oswald Heer in the 19th century are currently under revision. The Nuussuaq Basin has repeatedly been investigated by geologists and marine invertebrate palaeontologists. These studies provide a modern stratigraphic framework and a basis for revisions of various Cretaceous to Eocene floras from this region, and the correlation of fossil material to stratigraphic units and formal formations. This paper is the first in a series of papers that (i) correlate macrofossil (museum) material and fossil-rich localities with the modern lithostratigraphic framework, (ii) describe new pollen, spores, and other marine/freshwater palynomorphs, and (iii) revise the macrofossil remains from the Agatdalen area (particularly the Danian Agatdal Formation). Since the work of B. Eske Koch in the 1960s and 70s, questions emerged about the correlation of plant fossiliferous outcrops and whether the so-called Agatdalen flora, referred to the Agatdal Formation, originates from a single sedimentary unit or not. In this paper, we summarise the stratigraphy of the Agatdalen area and correlate the fossil plant-bearing outcrops described by Koch to the current lithostratigraphy. We establish which plant fossils belong to the Agatdal Formation and re-assign a great number of other plant fossils to their correct formations. New palynological material is briefly described and correlated to the macrofossil localities and the Agatdal Formation. Previous accounts on the macrofossils (leaves, fruits, seeds) are briefly discussed and directions for future revisions are outlined.

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