Abstract

The presence of a carbonate platform that interfingers towards the west with slope facies allows for the identification of an ancient lower Palaeozoic continental margin in the Western Precordillera of Argentina. The Los Sombreros Formation is essential for the interpretation of the continental slope of the Precordillera, which accreted to Gondwana as part of the Cuyania Terrane in the early Palaeozoic. The age of these slope deposits is controversial; therefore, a precise biostratigraphic scheme is critical to reveal the evolution of the South American continental margin of Gondwana. The study of lithic deposits of two sections of the Los Sombreros Formation, the El Salto and Los Túneles sections, provides important information for further understanding the depositional history of the slope. At El Salto section, the conodonts recovered from an allochthonous block refer to the Cordylodus proavus Zone (upper Furongian). The conodonts recovered from the matrix of a calclithite bed of the Los Sombreros Formation in the Los Túneles section are assigned to the Lenodus variabilis Zone (early Darriwilian), providing a minimum age for this stratigraphic unit. In addition, clasts from this sample yielded conodonts from the Paltodus deltiferMacerodus dianae zones (upper Tremadocian). The contrasting conodont colour alterations and preservation states from the elements of two latter records, coming from the same sample, argue the reworked clasts originated in the carbonate platform and later transported to the slope during the accretion process of the Precordilleran Terrane to the South American Gondwanan margin during the Middle–Late Ordovician.

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