Discussion of the paper by Imad M. Ghafor and Ibrahim M.J. Mohialdeen, 2018, entitled “Early cretaceous microfossils associations (foraminifera, ostracoda, calcareous algae, and coral) from the Garagu formation, Duhok area, Kurdistan region, northern Iraq” (Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 11:407)

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A recent “micropaleontological” publication on a Lower Cretaceous classical lithostratigraphic unit at its type locality in N Iraq, the Garagu Formation, suggested that, at this exact location, this facies-driven unit could span a “late Valanginian-Barremian” time interval and that its facies were indicative of “shallow marine with normal to hypersaline conditions, shelf lagoonal environment, and open platform” environment. Of the twenty samples originally collected by the authors, eleven thin sections were reexamined. On the basis of this limited material, a second assessment is presented here. Most micropaleontological identifications prove wrong, and they cannot “support an age determination of the late Valanginian-Barremian”. Similarly, contrary to the authors’ opinion and except for one sample, all microfacies suggest that the sedimentary depositional environments were representative of a lower shoreface to an offshore shelf setting depending on relative sea level changes. More than half a century after the publication of the “Lexique International de Stratigraphie”, the Garagu Formation, as do most lithostratigraphic units defined in the Middle East, requires a full reassessment with the support of genuine experts.

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The present author thanks Beatriz Bádenas, topical chief editor at the “Arabian Journal of Geosciences,” who organized a loan of the material, and Imad M. Ghafor, one of the two authors of the manuscript discussed above, who kindly sent us 11 regular thin sections (out of 21). He also acknowledges the support of Phil Salvador who carefully revised the English text. Felix Schlagintweit drew the attention of the present author to the original manuscript. The manuscript also benefited from the constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers.

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Correspondence to Bruno Granier.

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Granier, B. Discussion of the paper by Imad M. Ghafor and Ibrahim M.J. Mohialdeen, 2018, entitled “Early cretaceous microfossils associations (foraminifera, ostracoda, calcareous algae, and coral) from the Garagu formation, Duhok area, Kurdistan region, northern Iraq” (Arabian Journal of Geosciences, 11:407). Arab J Geosci 13, 60 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12517-019-5032-6

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  • Lower Cretaceous
  • Stratigraphy
  • Micropaleontology
  • Carbonate sedimentology
  • Iraq