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The Trace Fossil Assemblage of a Cretaceous Nearshore Environment: Englishtown Formation of Delaware, U.S.A.

H. Allen Curran
H. Allen Curran
Department of Geology, Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
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January 01, 1985


Trace fossils are abundant and extremely well-preserved in the unconsolidated, siliciclastic sediments of the Late Cretaceous Englishtown Formation exposed along the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal in Delaware. The trace fossil assemblage is characteristic of a nearshore environment and can be divided into two subassemblages. The upper part of the formation is dominated by densely packed Ophiomorpha nodosa shafts and tunnels, Skolithos linearis, and a delicate branching burrow that forms vertical polygonal nets. The subassemblage that characterizes the middle and lower parts of the sequence consists of Macaronichnus segregatis and a Skolithos-like form, both of which created mottled horizons, isolated O. nodosa shafts and tunnels, Schaubcylindrichnus coronus, and probable echinoid burrows. Each trace fossil taxon is described, and modern tracemaker analogs are discussed to enable further interpretation of the trace fossils and their paleoenvironmental significance. The Englishtown Formation is interpreted to have been deposited in a prograding nearshore environment with a low energy, O. nodosa-dominated, upper shoreface—lower foreshore zone similar to parts of the modern shallow-water Sea Isles coast of Georgia.

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SEPM Special Publication

Biogenic Structures: Their Use in Interpreting Depositional Environments

H. Allen Curran
H. Allen Curran
Department of Geology Smith College, Northampton Massachusetts
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
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Publication date:
January 01, 1985




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