Palynofloral evolution on the northern margin of the Indian Plate, southern Xizang, China during the Cretaceous Period and its phytogeographic significance

Jianguo Li, Yixiao Wu, Jungang Peng, David Batten

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9 Citations (Scopus)


During the Cretaceous Period, the Indian Plate separated from Gondwana and drifted northwards, eventually colliding with Eurasia at the end of the period or in the early Cenozoic. This led to major changes in the composition of the flora and fauna of the region. Palynomorph assemblages from Cretaceous deposits in Gamba County, southern Xizang (Tibet), China, are analyzed herein in an attempt to determine how the vegetation of the northern margin of the Indian Plate changed. The Gamba assemblages were initially similar in composition to those from Australia but by the Santonian Stage they were more similar to those of North Africa. Differences from the former are increasingly apparent through the Albian–Cenomanian transition. The rate of evolution of the Gamba flora was about the same as that of the Australian flora prior to the Albian, somewhat slower during this stage, but faster from the Cenomanian onwards, implying that this was, to a large extent, a result of the separation of the Indian Plate from Gondwana and its northward drift during the Cretaceous Period. During the Albian, the Australian block drifted eastwards whereas the Indian Plate remained relatively static. This resulted in few changes in the Gamba palynoflora but many in palynofloras from Australia. However, the northward movement of the Indian Plate in the Late Cretaceous led to pronounced changes, with numerous inceptions of genera and species in the Gamba succession. Of these, many have an African or equatorial distribution and none has connections with Australia, indicating that the climate at this time was similar to that of North Africa and that separation from Australia was complete. The arrival of the Indian Plate in equatorial regions allowed floral exchange between its northern part and North Africa during the Santonian
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Early online date19 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2019


  • terrestrial ecosystem
  • pollen and spores
  • tethys
  • Gondwana break-up
  • plate movements
  • Terrestrial ecosystem
  • Tethys
  • Plate movements
  • Pollen and spores


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