Applications of Palynology

        There are a few geological fields in which palynology can be applied to, here are the major fields:

        Geochronology - dating of rocks. Palynoflora are used to date rocks.  Palynomorphs are great indicators of narrow time ranges because of the rapid evolution of the samples.  Because they are present in rocks that don't usually have fossils, the microscopic fossils are used as  a time range instead of waiting for complicated lab results.

        Biostratigraphy - correlation of rock sections.  This aspect of palynology is the most important economically.  Proper indentification of indicative palynomorphs could lead to the discovery of oil, coal, and gas deposits.  In fact, fossilized pollen was first discovered in a coal thin section.  Because pollen and spores have the tendency of being dragged along with migrating petroleum through pourous rocks - they are good indicators that petroleum isn't too far away.  The small sizes of palynomorphs are ideal for drill core samples.  The colouration and type of palynomorph represents the thermal maturity and hydrocarbon potential of the area.

        Paleoecology - past environments.  Because palynomorphs are sensitive to any minor fluctuation in their surroundings, they are highly indicative of the environment in which they are deposited. The advantage of palynomorphs over other fossils is their widespread distribution; they can be found in either terrestrial, freshwater, saltwater, and estuary sources of sedimentary rocks.

        Quaternary palynology - Although very similar to the purposes of paleoecology, Quaternary deals more with more recent environmental and climate change.  This field of study uses quantitive analysis and precise dating for correlating stratigraphic sequences and reconstructing rats of environmental change.  Studies show that the most influenced environmental changes have occurred since the appearance of humans.

Non-geological uses - archeaological palynology, forensic palynology.