Abstract

Early Triassic framestones were discovered in the interior of an isolated, marine carbonate platform in the Nanpanjiang basin. The framestones occur in two horizons: (1) the lowermost Triassic (Griesbachian), as biostromes as much as 15 m thick, and (2) the upper part of the Lower Triassic (Smithian or Spathian) as isolated domal or inverted conical mounds as much as 1.5 m thick. The mounds and biostromes consist of a rigid calcimicrobial framework enclosing a network of internal cavities, 1 to 3 cm across, filled with peloidal-skeletal sediment. The framework is made of irregular-to-tufted masses of chambered-to-clotted micrite structures referable to Renalcis, a calcified coccoid cyanobacteria. The framework is reinforced by microbial induced micritic crusts as well as marine cement. Metazoan fossils within the framework include gastropods, bivalves, ostracodes, spirorbids, and brachiopods. The Early Triassic is widely considered to have been a global gap in reef and reef mound development. The global reef gap concept has formed the foundation of models of reef evolution and of the reorganization of reef ecosystems after the end-Permian extinction. These models should be revised to account for the existence of Early Triassic calcimicrobial mounds and biostromes discussed herein.

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