ABSTRACT: Detailed sampling of the Upper Triassic atoll-type carbonates of the Sambosan Accretionary Complex throughout Southwest Japan yielded highly abundant and diversified porcelaneous, microgranular, agglutinated and hyaline foraminifers of Carnian-Rhaetian age, as well as some microproblematica and ostracods. The foraminiferal assemblages were collected from shallow-water carbonates originated upon volcanic seamounts surrounded by deep-water radiolarian chert in a mid-open oceanic realm of the Panthalassan Ocean during Triassic time. Because most studies of the Upper Triassic microfauna come from the former Tethys, counterparts of the Panthalassan Ocean are pivotal to decipher the micropalaeontological biodiversity of the western circum Pacific, as well as to evaluate the distribution patterns of organisms and their evolution trends throughout the Tethys and Panthalassa. This study reports on 42 genera and 60 species whose associations can be used as sedimentary facies indicators of carbonate buildup environments. Japanese specimens show a strong Tethyan affinity, and especially with the Peri- and Southern Tethyan forms. A palaeobiogeographic distribution analysis using a large foraminiferal database is led, in order to evaluate the extraordinary spreading of these Upper Triassic foraminifers between the Neo-Tethys and the Panthalassa. Data are finally integrated in a new plate tectonic model, where six faunistic provinces are defined, each containing a characteristic foraminiferal assemblage. This map provides for the first time a useful and visual synthesis of the Upper Triassic foraminifer palaeobiogeographic distribution.
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