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Two palynofacies associations are documented from the Silurian Tanezzuft Formation in the Ghadames Basin. These are characteristic of the basal ‘Hot Shale’ and the overlying deposits, referred to here as the Cold Shale. The former reflects deposition in distal suboxic anoxic conditions and is dominated by highly oil-prone amorphous organic matter (AOM) typical of deposition in generally anoxic, restricted marine basins. Only a few acritarchs, prasinophyte algae and chitinozoans occur in association: virtually no spores or cryptospores were recorded. Thick-walled prasinophytes are most numerous in this part of the Tanezzuft Formation in both the Ghadames and Murzuq basins, suggesting enhanced surface water productivity. Deposition took place after the melting of the Late Ordovician ice sheets, which led to a major marine transgression. The palynofacies recorded from the overlying ‘Cold Shale’ deposits indicate deposition in distal shelf and basin conditions that were also relatively anoxic. They contain more palynomorphs, especially acritarchs, and generally less AOM. The phytoplankton assemblages are dominated by simple and thin-walled prasinophyte algae (leiospheres), suggesting dysoxic–anoxic conditions. Overall the middle and the upper parts of the Tanezzuft Formation are regarded as being deposited in distal dysoxic–anoxic shelf, distal dysoxic–oxic shelf and distal suboxic–anoxic basin respectively. Because chitinozoans are very rare, age determinations of the samples investigated are based mainly on acritarchs. The Hot Shale is dated as early-mid Rhuddanian (early Llandovery) whereas the rest of the formation is considered to late Rhuddanian–Telychian in age. As documented previously from other samples of the Tanezzuft Formation in both the Ghadames and Murzuq basins, the Hot Shale has a very high TOC content and excellent source potential for liquid hydrocarbons, whereas rest of the formation is less rich in organic matter with larger terrestrial and oxidized components and hence reduced potential for sourcing hydrocarbons (both oil and gas).Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Palaeoenvironment, Llandovery, Organic matter, Hot Shale, Tanezzuft, Libyan Ghadames Basin