Abstract

Pre-Tremadocian conodonts and trilobites and Tremadocian conodonts are reported from the Cambrian and Ordovician La Silla Formation in the Cerro La Silla section in east-southeast Jáchal, San Juan Province, Argentina. A shallow marine conodont fauna contains elements of Clavohamulus hintzei Miller, a common species in North America, but reported for the first time from the early Paleozoic platform carbonates of the western Argentine Precordillera. The presence of this species suggests a correlation with the Clavohamulus hintzei conodont subbiozone of the Cordylodus intermedius conodont biozone in North America, considered Early Ordovician (Skullrockian Stage, Ibexian Series) in North America, but by South American and European standards, this biozone would be of latest Cambrian age. C. hintzei and associated conodonts of the La Silla Formation are typical of the tropical faunas of the North American Midcontinent Faunal Province; Late Cambrian trilobites from lower in the formation also are typical North American taxa. The presence of these faunas in the platform carbonates is consistent with plate reconstructions suggesting that the Precordillera was in a tropical or subtropical position close to Laurentia during the late Precambrian and early Paleozoic. These new paleontological data provide one more argument for recent models of the Precordillera as a displaced terrane derived from the Ouachita Embayment at the southern margin of Laurentia.

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