ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to test the practicality and scientific potential of an analytical technique designed to produce quantitative data on biofacies and lithofacies changes. The unit selected for analysis is the Florena shale member of the Beattie limestone (Wolfcampian), a fossiliferous unit traceable across Kansas from Nebraska to Oklahoma. Trench samples of standard size were disaggregated, sieved, and selected fractions picked for fossil material. The abundances of selected taxonomic groups were then expressed in terms of weight. The abundances of many groups of fossils show systematic variations with respect to stratigraphic position or lithologic association; and it is therefore probable that (in these cases) significant changes are being measured. In two localities abundance patterns of many groups of fossils are strikingly similar and related to changes in the size of fossil fragments. These faunas are interpreted as dominantly current-drifted. At a third locality, where abundance data are compared directly with lithologic data, there is no clear relationship between the percentage of insoluble residue and the abundance of any fossil group, although a striking correlation is shown between the abundance of a number of groups and the strontium-calcium ratio of the carbonate portion of the shale. The significance of this correlation is uncertain, but the hypothesis is advanced that both the strontium-calcium ratio and the fossil abundances related to it reflect the salinity of the Florena sea.

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