Abstract

Only one specimen of a Silurian graptolite has ever been recorded from Newfoundland, and it was not identifiable below generic level. The graptolite assemblage discussed and figured here, from a sequence of turbidites on Upper Black Island, north-central Newfoundland, includes the first positively identified Silurian taxa from the province, and provides the first unequivocal evidence of Silurian oceanic sedimentation in the Dunnage Zone. The graptolite taxa include Rastrites peregrinus (Barrande), Coronograptus? sp. cf. C. gregarius (Lapworth), Monograptus austerus sequens Hutt?, Orthograptus insectiformis (Nicholson), Monograptus spp. indet., "Climacograptus"? sp., and Glyptograptus? sp. This assemblage demonstrates that the strata, previously assigned to the Middle Ordovician Lawrence Harbour Formation, are actually Aeronian (middle Llandovery) in age and that the turbidites considerably postdate both the Lawrence Harbour and Point Leamington formations of the Exploits Subzone. Furthermore, the graptolite fauna is similar to that found in coeval sediments in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia but unlike any assemblages known from elsewhere in North America. This suggests the presence of open oceanic conditions, or deep marginal basins during the Llandovery hosting graptolites with European affinities, and raises the possibility that at least part of the Iapetus Ocean was still open in central Newfoundland during Early Silurian times.

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