Abstract

Strata of the Mount Mark Formation, Buttle Lake Group, exposed in the vicinity of Marble Peak in Strathcona Provincial Park, central Vancouver Island, contain a diverse Early Permian crinoid fauna. This is the first Permian fauna containing crowns and cups recognized from Wrangellia terrane. The fauna contains representatives of each of the major Paleozoic crinoid subclasses: Camerata, Disparida, and Cladida. Specimens were observed and photographed between 2004 and 2008. No specimens were collected in adherence to regulations of Stratcona Provincial Park. Preliminary identifications recognize several new genera and species within the fauna, but they are not named or described lacking specimens for repository. A minimum of 24 species are judged to be in the fauna, making it the second most diverse Permian fauna known from North America. Identified genera suggest a greater relationship to North American faunas than to Paleotethyan faunas, suggesting Wrangellia was closer to North America than to the Paleotethyan realm during Early Permian time. Exposures of the Mount Mark Formation in the vicinity of Marble Peak are undergoing karstification, and specimens are being lost under the harsh weathering conditions. Observations of individual specimens over a five-year interval found that morphologic details critical for identification are being lost at an alarming rate. It is recommended that sufficient specimens in the fauna should be collected as soon as possible for identification and analysis. These specimens should be preserved for future reference and could form an educational display in the Strathcona Provincial Park headquarters.

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