Abstract

The Llandovery siliciclastic Ross Brook Formation of Arisaig, Nova Scotia, comprises three broadly defined sedimentary facies. These are a mottled silty mudstone facies (facies A), a laminated shale facies (facies B), and a laminated siltstone facies (facies C). Facies A consists of variably bioturbated silty mudstones, muddy siltstones, and fissile shales. It developed in relatively shallow water conditions; mudstones were presumably deposited from suspension, and siltstone laminae and thin layers were formed by increased wave and current activity. Mottling resulted from bioturbation by epifaunal and, particularly, infaunal benthic organisms. Within facies A, two subfacies are recognized: A(i) is mudstone dominated, and A(ii) is fine-grained siltstone dominated. Facies B consists of alternating laminae of undisturbed mudstone and fine-grained siltstone probably produced as a result of deposition from suspension during a temporary upward expansion of the oxygen-minimum layer. Facies C consists of 0.5–30 cm thick fine- to coarse-grained siltstones, which occur in lenses or layers of single, composite, or amalgamated units. Internally they are extremely variable, but all are interpreted as a result of deposition from storm-generated currents.The Ross Brook Formation formed on a shallow-marine, storm-influenced, subtidal inner–mid muddy shelf and is dominated by extensive but stratigraphically variable developments of facies A and facies C. Absolute water depth per se is difficult to assess, and although fluctuations occurred, much of the sequence is believed to have accumulated at or in the immediate vicinity of fair-weather wave base in water depths estimated to have been between 30 and 60 m. Silt supply was generally low, possibly reflecting great distance from source or the presence of a mud-dominated shoreline.Five brachiopod-dominated associations, which are stratigraphically the Eocoelia hemisphaerica, the Eocoelia intermediaEocoelia curtisi, the Visbyella nana, the "Camarotoechia" rossonia, and the Eocoelia sulcata associations, occur through the sequence. Associations change where die sum of the facies characteristics change, suggesting that the major physical controlling factor was substrate type and related environmental parameters. The development of discrete but intergrading associations is viewed as a consequence of the long-term persistence of a set of conservative animal–sediment relationships, superimposed on which is the evolutionary pattern of immigration and extinction of individual species.

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