Sedimentology and Trace Fossils
The purpose of this discussion is to stress fundamental concepts of biogenic sedimentary structures and their application to sedimentology, stratigraphy, and to paleoecology. The writer probably was selected for this task because of his propensity for not remembering names of individual genera and species and for seldom straying beyond the boundaries of fundamental (i.e., simple) concepts. With this disclaimer, the reader is warned that what follows has a short halflife, but I hope that some of what is expressed here will be of value in wresting information about depositional environments from the trace fossil record.
My feeling is that trace fossils are important because they represent “primary sedimentary structures” of the substrate in which they are associated. As a result, trace fossils are one of the most reliable indicators of the biocoenose of a specific facies or environment, particularly in environments where soft-bodied organisms were the major biological constituent. In concert with physical sedimentary structures, they offer helpful clues to the interpretation of ancient sedimentary environments.