ABSTRACT: Planktonic foraminifera are found in marls of the lowermost portion of the D5 Unit of the middle Dhruma Formation exposed west of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This lithological subunit can be correlated throughout the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Oman and Syria. Our discovery is the first report of planktonic foraminifera in the Middle Jurassic (lower Bathonian) of Saudi Arabia. Two protoglobigerinid genera are recognized: a low-spired species identified as Globuligerina sp., and a high-spired form assigned to Conoglobigerina sp. The planktonic foraminifera comprise approximately 5â€“10% of the assemblage at the studied locality, and are found within a benthic foraminiferal assemblage consisting of a mixture of smaller agglutinated species (Nautiloculina, Haplophragmoides, Ammomarginulina, Sculptobaculites), and calcareous species (nodosariids, opthalmidiids, epistominids, polymorphinids, and spirillinids) without any larger foraminifera. The assemblage is indicative of open-marine shelf conditions, and represents a typical Middle Jurassic benthic foraminiferal fauna from a marly carbonate substrate. The calcareous benthic foraminifera are of small dimensions, indicating that oligotrophic environmental conditions prevailed at the time of deposition of the unit. The discovery of planktonic foraminifera in the D5 Unit of the Dhruma Formation provides a new correlation tool for recognizing the J30 maximum flooding surface in the Middle East.
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