The Australian continent underwent rotation in the Cretaceous but remained at middle to high latitudes (Veevers et al. 1991), encompassing an area roughly equivalent to Europe. Extensive basins of fluvial sediments that had accumulated in Australia´s interior during the Jurassic, were flooded by vast shallow seaways during the Early Cretaceous (Valanginian—Albian: 140—100 million years ago). At their transgressive maxima, these marine incursions subdivided the continent into several discrete landmasses, and may have promoted allopatric speciation in the continental biota. The thick sheets of predominantly fine siliciclastic sediments deposited in these palaeoenvironments now form the seals for extensive aquifers (Dettmann et al. 1992), and preserve rich assemblages of coccoliths, radiolarians, foraminifera and palynomorphs that allow precise dating of the rock successions (Apthorpe 1979, Haig 1979, Morgan 1980, Helby et al. 1987, Shafik 1990, Howe et al. 2000). Such biostratigraphical studies have been particularly important for correlating strata within and beyond the Australasian region (Hollis 1997, Raine 2008) because volcanic materials suitable for radiometric dating are scarce and the long normal polarity signature (the Cretaceous Magnetic ‘Quiet Zone´) that characterizes the middle part of the period (McElhinny & Burek 1971) inhibits fine magnetostratigraphic resolution.
Many studies over the past four decades have undertaken the description of the Australian Cretaceous floras, although a large number of assemblages remain undescribed or inadequately documented. There are extensive collections of Australian Cretaceous plant fossils in various Australian state museums but, beyond Australia, the Swedish Museum of Natural History probably holds the largest single collection of Australian Cretaceous plants in the form of a large assemblage from Boola Boola (in Victoria), and smaller collections from various sites around the continent.
Summarized from McLoughlin & Kear 2010
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