Abstract

Late Carnian–early Norian corals from the Luning and Osobb formations in west-central Nevada represent an important Late Triassic fauna for understanding the paleoecology and the paleogeography of the eastern Panthalassa region during Late Triassic time. The corals occur in bedded limestone representing biostromes and patch reefs and their composition presages the important global changeover of faunas of the intra-Norian interval. A taxonomic analysis of over 60 specimens reveals a majority of colonial corals ranging from cerioid, astreoid (i.e., cerioid-plocoid lacking walls), meandroid and thamnasterioid types. Surprisingly, remnants of the original aragonite microstructure remain in some specimens, allowing a better comparison with more remote Tethyan corals. In total, 14 genera have been identified from Nevada while two genera remain undetermined. The fauna is composed of species considered typical of both the North American Cordillera and cratonal South America. The following genera and species are new and endemic to the Americas: Khytrastrea silberlingi and K. cuifiamorpha, Flexastrea serialis, Nevadoseris punctata, Areaseris nevadaensis and a new genus Minasteria (with Astrocoenia shastensisSmith, 1927 as type species). Likewise are the new species: Margarogyra silberlingi and Curtoseris dunlapcanyonae. Genera Meandrovolzeia, Margarogyra, Ceriostella, Ampakabastraea, Retiophyllia, Distichomeandra, Curtoseris, Thamnasteria and Astraeomorpha provide important links to the former Tethys province. The revised coral fauna changes previous views of the close taxonomic similarity with the Tethys, instead producing a paleogeographic pattern emphasizing a much greater degree of endemism. This pattern emphasizes the isolation of Nevada from the Tethys and the similarities with some outboard terranes of the Cordillera.

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