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Molluscan paleoecology and sedimentation patterns of the Cenomanian-Turonian extinction interval in the southern Colorado Plateau region

By
William P. Elder
William P. Elder
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Lithology, carbonate and organic carbon geochemistry, and molluscan macrofauna were investigated in fine-grained clay-dominated strata spanning the Cenomanian-Turonian Stage boundary in the southern Colorado Plateau region. Analyses of these data show basinal and onshore to offshore changes in sedimentologic and molluscan assemblage trends through the upper Cenomanian Sciponoceras gracile and Neocardioceras juddii and lower Turonian Watinoceras coloradoense Biozones.

Diverse infaunal/epifaunal bivalve assemblages are best developed in the Sciponoceras gracile Biozone and at the more clay-rich nearshore sections. Gastropod and infaunal bivalve abundance and diversity decrease in an offshore and up-section direction as carbonate and organic carbon percentages generally increase.

The Neocardioceras juddii Biozone precedes the stage boundary and is characterized in Utah and Arizona by pulsed increases in organic carbon and detrital-feeding gastropods, and by a shift in infaunal bivalve dominance toward species adapted for soft-substrate conditions. These data suggest that pulses of increased organic detrital resources and decreased substrate firmness were associated with the stage boundary extinctions.

The stage boundary is marked by a change to depauperate epifaunal assemblages at western sections. At all sections, the base of the Watinoceras coloradoense Biozone is reflected by an abrupt increase in carbonate and decrease in organic carbon percentages as well as by the immigration of Mytiloides bivalves. Periods of progressive recovery through this biozone were associated with carbonate-rich depositional periods.

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GSA Special Papers

Stratigraphy, depositional environments; and sedimentary tectonics of the western margin, Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway

J. Dale Nations
J. Dale Nations
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Jeffrey G. Eaton
Jeffrey G. Eaton
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Geological Society of America
Volume
260
ISBN print:
9780813722603
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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