Abstract

The coeval Early Silurian (late Llandoverian to late Wenlockian) Sayabec and La Vieille formations represent the first occurrence of shallow-water platformal limestones and reefs in the Paleozoic sequence of the Gaspé Belt of the northern Appalachians. Both units display very similar fades, representing laterally well-zoned, south-dipping carbonate platforms with four parallel depositional belts. These, from nearshore to offshore, are (i) a peritidal mud flat dominated by microbial communities (laminites, stromatolites, thrombolites, oncolites); (ii) a low knob reef rim built by skeletal metazoans (corals, bryozoans, stromatoporoids), skeletal calcareous algae, and microbial communities; (iii) a well-sorted lime sand belt; and (iv) a deeper water nodular lime mud belt supporting a tabulate and rugose coral, stromatoporoid, skeletal algae, and large-shelled brachiopod biota. The two platforms developed at the margin of the Quebec Reentrant and St. Lawrence Promontory in the Gaspé Belt of the northern Appalachian Orogen. It is not clear whether they were parts of a single continuous platform stretching along the northern margin of the Gaspé Belt or two separate platforms occupying distinct tectonic blocks. The development of the Sayabec and La Vieille platforms corresponds to the peak of the first shallowing phase in the Gaspé Belt after the Taconian orogeny. The platforms, with their reefs, grew during a period of sea-level stability from the earliest to late Wenlockian. The reefs were killed by an influx of deeper water siliciclastic sediments during a late Wenlockian transgression.

You do not currently have access to this article.