Interpretation of Bivalve Trace Fossils in Fluvial Beds of the Basal Catskill Formation (Late Devonian), Eastern U.S.A.
Richard E. Thoms, Thomas M. Berg, 1985. "Interpretation of Bivalve Trace Fossils in Fluvial Beds of the Basal Catskill Formation (Late Devonian), Eastern U.S.A.", Biogenic Structures: Their Use in Interpreting Depositional Environments, H. Allen Curran
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Structures attributed to the upward escape from anastrophic burial of specimens of Archanodon catskillensis (Vanuxem) (Archanodontidae) in the basal sandstone member of the Late Devonian Catskill Formation in northeastern Pennsylvania and equivalent beds in southern New York and northern New Jersey exhibit the following vectorial features: (1) preferential curvature (in vertical section), (2) ellipse parallelism (in bedding plane cross sections), and (3) internal crescent asymmetry (also seen in vertical section). The utility of these vectorial features in the reconstruction of past sedimentary environments depends upon the discovery and understanding of a suitable Holocene analogue Populations of Margaritifera margaritifera (Linné) have been observed from the lower Siletz River, Oregon in both the field and the laboratory. These observations indicate preferential orientation by M. margaritifera in response to unidirectional current flow and ability to burrow quickly upward following anastrophic burial Morphologic features of M. margaritifera point to its capability of producing primary biogenic sedimentary structures similar to those in the Catskill Formation. Comparison with similar though smaller burrows in the British Upper Carboniferous reinforces the interpretation that the Catskill burrows are the product of the upward escape activities of Archanodon catskillensis living in an environment of unidirectional flow regime withrapidly accreting sediments.
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Organisms of one sort or another today inhabit virtually every sediment environment on Earth, and the rock record tells us that this has been the case through the greater part of our planet’s history. Furthermore, organisms leave their mark in most sedimentary settings, either directly in the form of body fossils or indirectly as biogenic structures. In addition to their often profound modifying effects on substrates, ancient biogenic structures preserve a record of organism behavioral activity in response to substrate and other paleoenvironmental controls. Thus, biogenic structures can be highly useful as facies indicators and can provide valuable clues to the interpretation of paleodepositional environments. The purpose of this volume is to present a broad spectrum of case-book examples of the use of biogenic structures in the interpretation of depositional environments.