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A Brief Overview of the Diversity and Patterns in Bioturbation Preserved in the Cambrian–Ordovician Carbonate and Siliciclastic Deposits of Laurentia

By
Stephen T. Hasiotis
Stephen T. Hasiotis
Department of Geology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A.
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Published:
January 01, 2012

Abstract

The diversity, abundance, distribution, and depth of trace fossils in the Cambrian–Ordovician deposits in Laurentia, from California and Nevada to New York (United States) and Quebec (Canada), are a series of biozones that record the early evolution and radiation of metazoans in shallow-marine environments. The Neoproterozoic–Paleozoic transition (NPT) plays a significant part in understanding the diversity, timing, rate, circumstance of first appearances and subsequent metazoan radiations, and trends in ecospace utilization through the Cambrian–Ordovician as recorded in carbonate and mixed carbonate-siliciclastic deposits. The first burrows with spreiten and complex branching, designated as the Phycodes (Treptichnus) pedum Zone, delineate the base of the Cambrian. This zone overlies the uppermost Neoprotero-zoic Harlaniella podolica Zone and is composed of relatively simple horizontal burrows. The Rusophycus avalonensis Zone, characterized by the occurrence of more complex burrow architectures, overlies the Phycodes (Treptichnus) pedum Zone and represents the last pretrilobite biozone. As recorded by ichnofabric through the Cambrian–Ordovician, trends in the depth and extent of bioturbation illustrate the spatial and temporal change in ecospace utilization. With the onset of the substrate (media) revolution across the NPT, animals adapted, and evolved new innovations to penetrate microbial-mediated sedimentary environments. This change reflects ongoing Cambrian–Ordovician evolution and radiation of metazoans from shallow inner-shelf environments to middle-shelf environments with increasing biogenic reworking through time. Nonetheless, a mixing depth of 6 cm (2.4 in.) was not surpassed until later in the Ordovician. This pattern ismirrored by the first appearances of trace-fossil ichnotaxa in shallow-water environments that later gradually moved offshore to shelf environments. The ichnological patterns are debated, however, asevidence of deep burrowing (i.e.,>6cm[>2.4in.]) has been described from the Cambrian and the Ordovician deposits in the Mackenzie Mountains (western Canada) and the Great Basin (western United States). Evidence for the early evolution of continental ecosystems does not exist in Laurentian deposits until the Late Ordovician, although some evidence for the invasion of land in the Early Cambrian and the Early Ordovician exists.

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Contents

Memoir

Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia

James Derby
James Derby
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Richard Fritz
Richard Fritz
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Susan Longacre
Susan Longacre
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William Morgan
William Morgan
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Charles Sternbach
Charles Sternbach
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Volume
98
ISBN electronic:
9781629810201
Publication date:
January 01, 2012

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