The Pseudoreticulatispora confluens–P. pseudoreticulata spore-pollen zonal datum typically coincides with the end of widespread Permian glacial deposits in Western Australia. Although previously attributed to the mid-Sakmarian, chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionisation mass spectrometry (TIMS) dating of zircons from volcanic tuffs in the Ditji Formation of the Bonaparte Basin and the Grant Group in the Canning Basin point to an Asselian age of about 295.25 Ma for this datum. All dated zircons from the Ditji Formation came from petroleum well cuttings but the accompanying palynology was mostly from sidewall cores; however, all Grant Group samples were from conventional core. TIMS dates from the Ditji Formation range in age from 295.2 to 292.7 Ma whereas the only productive tuff from the Grant Group yielded a 296.26 Ma date. By comparison, there are no zircon dates to constrain the onset of glacial deposition in Australia. The Bonaparte Basin ages overlap with those for the Edie Tuff (296.1–294.5 Ma) in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, approximately 2000 km to the southeast, which also lies close to the base of the P. pseudoreticulata Zone. To date the only fossil group within the P. confluens Zone in Western Australia to provide independent age control, albeit loosely, are goniatites from the northern Perth Basin (Uraloceras irwinense and Juresanites jacksoni) that have consistently been attributed to the Sakmarian; these require a reassessment of their affinity with Russian faunas and therefore to global stratotypes. The position of the Carboniferous–Permian boundary is elusive in Australia and will remain so until additional volcanic tuffs containing young datable zircons are found; however, spore-pollen and zircon dates from Namibia place this boundary within the P. confluens Zone.
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Mory, A. J.; Crowley, J.; Backhouse, J.; Nicoll, R. S.; and Gorter, J. D.. (2023). "Early Permian Zircon Ages from the P. confluens and P. pseudoreticulata Spore-Pollen Zones in the Southern Bonaparte and Canning Basins, Northwestern Australia". Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 70(4), 494-509. https://doi.org/10.1080/08120099.2023.2185676