The non-marine Horseshoe Canyon Formation (HCFm, southern Alberta) yields taxonomically diverse, late Campanian to middle Maastrichtian dinosaur assemblages that play a central role in documenting dinosaur evolution, paleoecology, and paleobiogeography leading up to the end-Cretaceous extinction. Here, we present high-precision U–Pb CA–ID–TIMS ages and the first calibrated chronostratigraphy for the HCFm using zircon grains from (1) four HCFm bentonites distributed through 129 m of section, (2) one bentonite from the underlying Bearpaw Formation, and (3) a bentonite from the overlying Battle Formation that we dated previously. In its type area, the HCFm ranges in age from 73.1–68.0 Ma. Significant paleoenvironmental and climatic changes are recorded in the formation, including (1) a transition from a warm-and-wet deltaic setting to a cooler, seasonally wet-dry coastal plain at 71.5 Ma, (2) maximum transgression of the Drumheller Marine Tongue at 70.896 ± 0.048 Ma, and (3) transition to a warm-wet alluvial plain at 69.6 Ma. The HCFm’s three mega-herbivore dinosaur assemblage zones track these changes and are calibrated as follows: Edmontosaurus regalis – Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis zone, 73.1–71.5 Ma; Hypacrosaurus altispinus – Saurolophus osborni zone, 71.5–69.6 Ma; and Eotriceratops xerinsularis zone, 69.6–68.2 Ma. The Albertosaurus Bonebed — a monodominant assemblage of tyrannosaurids in the Tolman Member — is assessed an age of 70.1 Ma. The unusual triceratopsin, Eotriceratops xerinsularis, from the Carbon Member, is assessed an age of 68.8 Ma. This chronostratigraphy is useful for refining correlations with dinosaur-bearing upper Campanian–middle Maastrichtian units in Alberta and elsewhere in North America.
High-precision U–Pb CA–ID–TIMS dating and chronostratigraphy of the dinosaur-rich Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Campanian–Maastrichtian), Red Deer River valley, Alberta, Canada
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David A. Eberth, Sandra L. Kamo; High-precision U–Pb CA–ID–TIMS dating and chronostratigraphy of the dinosaur-rich Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Campanian–Maastrichtian), Red Deer River valley, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 57 (10): 1220–1237. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2019-0019
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