Abstract

An Ordovician–Silurian boundary section marked by an uninterrupted, relatively high rate of black shale sedimentation and abundant, diverse graptolites is described from the south-central Pyrenees. The structurally simple Estana section comprises the uppermost part of the quartzite-dominated Bar Formation and overlying black shales of late Hirnantian and early Rhuddanian age, which have been dated by graptolites to the upper Metabolograptus persculptus and lower–middle Akidograptus ascensus–Parakidograptus acuminatus biozones. Due to the absence of M. persculptus, a Metabolograptus parvulus Biozone correlative with the upper part of the persculptus Biozone is recognized below the lowest occurrence of akidograptids, which indicate the base of the Silurian System. The graptolite fauna comprise 27 species including Normalograptus minor, N. lubricus, N. rhizinus, Hirsutograptus, Korenograptus bifurcus, K. bicaudatus, K. lanpherei and Nd. shanchongensis, most of which were formerly considered to be endemic to the low-latitude palaeobiogeographical province of China, Siberia and northern North America. Two new species, N. baridaensis and N. ednae, are described. The succession of graptolite assemblages in the Estana section, and occurrence of several cosmopolitan taxa in its parvulus and lower ascensusacuminatus biozones that are unknown elsewhere in peri-Gondwanan Europe, suggest that strata immediately surrounding the Ordovician–Silurian boundary may be absent, highly condensed or oxic and barren of graptolites in other sections of northwestern peri-Gondwana. Common graptolite synrhabdosomes and abnormal rhabdosomes may indicate some environmental stress in the parvulus Biozone, although the rather uniform black shale lithology, total organic carbon content and δ13Corg values suggest uninterrupted sedimentation under stable, anoxic conditions.

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