Abstract

Strata in the Paganzo, Tarija, and Paraná Basins of Argentina and Brazil provide evidence for reconstructing the effects of late Paleozoic glacial retreat. The depositional environment of the transgressive and early highstand fine-grained deposits has been controversial, with interpretations ranging from normal-marine shelves to estuaries to lakes. Whereas their counterparts from shallow-marine settings not influenced by glaciation host diverse, fully marine ichnofaunas, these fine-grained postglacial deposits are dominated by nonspecialized grazing trails, simple feeding traces, arthropod trackways, and fish trails. They are typical of freshwater environments and represent examples of the Mermia and Scoyenia ichnofacies. However, the local presence of acritarchs indicates sporadic marine influence. These observations suggest a new interpretation, that freshwater conditions in fjordlike settings across South America were widespread because Gondwanan basins were overwhelmed by strong meltwater discharge issuing from melting of the continental ice masses.

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