Abstract

Abundant and diverse trace fossils occur in deposits, recording an Early Devonian transgression in Bolivia. The very well-exposed Presto-El Peral section is located in the Interandean Belt 50 km northeast of Sucre. Trace fossils can be assigned to five associations from nearshore to offshore environments (namely Skolithos, Diplocraterion, Altichnus, Palaeophycus, and Zoophycos associations). They clearly illustrate the different colonization phases of the benthos with increasing marine influence. A deeper-water Helminthopsis association occurs in other complementary sections on the Eastern Cordillera. Variation of bioturbation intensity, ichnodiversity, and preservation potential is evaluated. The morphology of traces, mainly deep burrows, shows a significant gradient related to the behavior of tracemakers and the environmental changes. Main trends are consistent with the Seilacherian bathymetric model which is detailed here and/or emended with a well-exposed field example. A precise correlation is proposed with fossil benthic associations dominated by brachiopods. The whole gives an accurate model for benthos colonization and benthic marine zonation.

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