Laterally discontinuous, mixed carbonate–siliciclastic sandstones in the upper Vaureal and lower Ellis Bay formations of Anticosti Island were deposited on an equatorial carbonate ramp with a slope of less than 1°. The 10–18 m thick sandstones are interpreted as subaqueous sand-wave complexes analogous to detached parts of modern shoreface-connected sand ridges. These record storm-enhanced, tidal modification of a northerly derived shoal retreat massif that may have formed in response to recovery from global sea-level lowstands in the Late Ordovician (Ashgill: late Rawtheyan – Hirnantian). The sand-wave complexes formed within a tidal embayment that was confined by the Precambrian Shield to the north and northwest by rising tectonic highlands of the Humber Zone in Newfoundland to the east, and by active tectonic highlands in the Quebec Appalachians (Gaspésie) to the south. Paleocurrent distributions, parallel to the western margins of the Strait of Belle Isle, suggest that the north end of the embayment was closed in Late Ordovician time. Low-diversity faunas within the sand units consist mostly of sowerbyellid, strophomenid, and rhynchonellid brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, large aulacerid stromatoporoids, and large, domed favositid corals. These "sandy fades" faunas belong to communities significantly different from those found in the laterally interfingering and overlying carbonates and shales, suggesting that the sand waves played an important role in local community modification.

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