Palynomorph assemblages recovered from the Kanosh Shale at Fossil Mountain, Utah, are dominated by operculate acritarchs and cryptospores with minor smaller acritarchs. The present findings add new data to the largely incomplete knowledge of Ordovician acritarch assemblages from Laurentia, up to now known only from very few localities in North America. These populations contain some species in common with acritarchs from the Canning and Georgina basins in Australia and with assemblages from China; they indicate a Middle Ordovician (Dapingian-Darriwilian) age. The assemblage is lacking many typical marine acritarchs of this age, which, in combination with some cryptospores, is probably reflecting the likelihood of freshwater influence in the Kanosh Basin. This observation is congruent with previous interpretations of the depositional setting of the Kanosh Shale as a shallow water lagoon that supported the deposition of carbonate hardgrounds.
Four new taxa are described: Busphaeridium vermiculatum n. gen., n. sp.; Digitoglomus minutum n. gen., n. sp.; Turpisphaera heteromorpha n. gen., n. sp.; and Vermimarginata barbata n. gen., n. sp. In addition, the abundance of operculate forms has enabled the revision and a new emendation of the genus Dicommopalla and clarification of the “opalla” complex. We also propose new and revised suprageneric taxa that emphasize inferred biological differences among acritarch genera. The Sphaeromorphitae subgroup is emended to include forms lacking sculptural elements. Two new informal subgroups are proposed: the Superornamenti and the Operculate Acritarchs. Cryptospores are abundant throughout the sections studied and they appear to be more closely related to the late Cambrian Agamachates Taylor and Strother than to Darriwilian and younger Ordovician cryptospores from Gondwana.