This paper presents palynological evidence from the late Early Triassic (late Smithian) to the Late Triassic (Rhaetian) of the Barents Sea area: A continuous palynological succession from an exploration well (7228/7-1A) in the Nordkapp Basin (SW Barents Sea) and palynological data from a series of shallow cores drilled at the Svalis Dome (Central Barents Sea) representing selected Triassic intervals. These fully marine sediments are independently dated by marine faunas. Both records show significant shifts in the distribution of the main floral elements.
Changing ratios of spore-pollen taxa, grouped as hygrophytes versus xerophytes and spores versus pollen, reveal major changes of the floras within the studied interval. One distinct turnover coincides with the Smithian/Spathian boundary where lycopsid and pteridophyte spores dominated assemblages change to pollen (pteridosperms and conifers) dominated assemblages. Lower Middle Triassic assemblages are again dominated by lycopsid spores while the assemblages from the upper part of the Middle Triassic and the lower part of the Late Triassic are characterised by dominance of coniferous pollen and show the decline of pteridosperms. In the latest Triassic fern spores are abundant and diverse. In contrast to the Middle Triassic the pollen assemblages are characterized by cycadophytes and Araucariacites. These distribution patterns are interpreted to reflect climatic changes.
The presented results from Norwegian Boreal areas confirm the significant differences between quantitative distribution of specific taxa as well as diversity of major groups in plant assemblages from low and mid latitudes. The present survey opens new perspectives for more detailed comparisons and climatic interpretations of floras from the Triassic period, a time during which Mesozoic vegetation established. The major changes in the dominance of specific floral elements, especially the diversification and spreading of the conifers, can probably be related to climatic changes.