Detailed outcrop analysis of an Upper Triassic, shallow marine, mixed siliciclastic–carbonate ramp succession in northwestern Canada reveals numerous disconformities that are characterized by substrate-controlled trace-fossil assemblages. Although Glossifungites assemblages, and to a lesser extent, Trypanites assemblages, are common in the Upper Carnian Baldonnel Formation, in several horizons, a pattern of paired Trypanites–Glossifungites-demarcated discontinuity surfaces occurs. These paired surfaces occur in the same overall environmental setting and are interpreted to have the same general stratigraphic implications in each case.
The Trypanites surfaces invariably occur lower in the section. They penetrate into sandy bioclastic limestone and are infilled and overlain by a coarse-grained detrital lag. Their development indicates early cementation in a coastal setting. The Trypanites surfaces form coplanar maximum regressive surfaces and transgressive surfaces of erosion and are correlatable on a regional scale. The lags are overlain, in turn, by laminated calcareous siltstone (denoting offshore deposition) and bioclastic sandstone (a return to shoreface depositional conditions). The siltstone–sandstone contacts are characterized by low-diversity Glossifungites assemblages, which are interpreted as an amalgamated succession of storm-induced wave ravinement surfaces emplaced in front of a rapidly prograding shoreface. Paired Trypanites–Glossifungites surfaces in the Baldonnel Formation reflect fluctuations in relative sea level and sediment input in an overall low accommodation mixed siliciclastic–carbonate ramp setting.