ABSTRACT

The Cenomanian–Danian Chalk Group of NW Europe is characterized by distinct trace-fossil assemblages dominated by Thalassinoides isp., Planolites isp., Zoophycos isp., and Chondrites isp., whereas ichnogenera such as Taenidium and Phycosiphon are rare. The trace fossils form a complex tiering arrangement, which reflects burrowing activities of diverse benthic associations that operate at different levels in the sediment column, dynamic sedimentation rates, and changes in substrate hardness during progressive burial, forming intricate ichnofabrics. In the Danish Basin, studies of chalk ichnofabrics have focused mainly on the Maastrichtian. Studies of the shallower, grain-rich Danian chalk have revealed similar trace-fossil assemblages, whereas the ichnology of the fine-grained, deeper-water Danian deposits is poorly known. Based on detailed facies and ichnofabric analysis of a mid-Danian silica-rich, pelagic chalk located in the central, deeper shelf area of the Danish Basin, four facies types, eight ichnotaxa, and two ichnofabrics are recognized. Most conspicuous and abundant are randomly distributed, variously sized meniscate burrows attributed to Bichordites isp. and Taenidium isp., whereas other common chalk trace fossils are rare or absent. This trace-fossil assemblage outlines two new ichnofabrics in the NW European chalk, which are dominated principally by upper-tier traces. The producer of the abundant Bichordites isp. and Taenidium isp. burrows is identified as a sea urchin on the basis of an exceptionally preserved Bichordites isp. trace aligned with an irregular echinoid body fossil. The identified ichnofabrics controlled early silicification and produced a more complex distribution of silica concretions compared with chalk successions elsewhere. This results in volumetrically thick silica concretion-rich units rather than distinctive silica bands as seen in other Upper Cretaceous and Danian chalk units.

You do not currently have access to this article.