Abstract

Ediacaran fossils from the southwestern Great Basin may help constrain regional Vendian-Cambrian biostratigraphy and provide biogeographic links between facies in this region and elsewhere. Locally, trace fossils suggest the Vendian-Cambrian boundary occurs within or below the upper third of the lower member of the Wood Canyon Formation. Ediacaran soft-bodied and tubular fossils, including the frondlike fossil Swartpuntia and tubular, mineralized or agglutinated fossils similar to Archaeichnium, Cloudina, Corumbella, and Onuphionella occur in the lowermost Wood Canyon Formation. Discoidal forms referred to Nimbia occur in both the lowermost Wood Canyon Formation and the underlying strata of the Stirling Quartzite. These fossils occur directly below Lower Cambrian trace fossils, including Treptichnus pedum, and confirm the persistence of the Ediacaran biota to near the base of the Cambrian. These faunas may also help strengthen previously proposed correlation schemes between the two main facies belts of the southwestern Great Basin (the Death Valley and White-Inyo facies), because a nearly identical Vendian-lowest Cambrian succession of faunas occurs in both regions. Lastly, lack of cosmopolitan Ediacaran faunas in these strata suggests a paleobiogeographic link between the southwestern U.S. and southern Africa in Vendian time.

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