Abstract

A carbonate mound built by the hydrozoan Palaeoaplysina has been found in a poorly-exposed sequence of Lower Permian rocks in the northern Richardson Mountains of the Yukon Territory. Similar hydrozoan mounds have been described from Russia and northwestern United States. The Yukon mound is 12 ft (3.7 m) thick and at least 70 ft (21 m) long. It is underlain by marine siltstones and sandstones, and probably shale. The main mound rock is composed of curved hydrozoan plates enclosed in a bioclastic wackestone matrix, and is overlain successively by tubular–foram packstone and oolitic grainstone. Palaeoaplysina is characterized by a plate-like, laterally-expanding growth form, an internal canal system, a cellular calcareous skeleton, and 'mamelons' on the upper surface of well-preserved plates; 'mamelons' are the principal criterion for placing Palaeoaplysina in the Class Hydrozoa of the coelenterates.The Yukon mound is part of a thick sequence of Lower Permian terrigenous clastic and carbonate rocks deposited on the northern shelf of the ancestral Aklavik Arch. The repetition of similar rock types in the sequence indicates cyclicity, a thesis supported by similarities between the Yukon mound sequence and the Virgilian mound cycles in New Mexico.Lower Permian hydrozoan mounds and associated facies in the Pre-urals of Russia are known oil producers. The possibility exists that hydrozoan mounds, perhaps in multiple cyclic build-ups, may occur in upper Paleozoic rocks in the subsurface of the Yukon Territory. With suitable porosity development and source rocks, these predicted subsurface mounds could become hydrocarbon reservoirs and thus targets for oil exploration.

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