Abstract

In order to evaluate taxonomic and environmental control on the preservation pattern of brachiopod accumulations, sedimentologic and taphonomic data have been integrated with those inferred from the structure of brachiopod accumulations from the easternmost Lower Jurassic Subbetic deposits in Spain. Two brachiopod communities (Praesphaeroidothyris and Securina communities) were distinguished showing a mainly free-lying way of life in soft-bottom habitats. Three taphofacies are discriminated based on proportion of disarticulation, fragmentation, packing, and shell filling. Taphofacies 1 is represented by thinly fragmented, dispersed brachiopod shells in wackestone beds. Taphofacies 2 is spatially restricted to small lenses where shells are poorly fragmented, rarely disarticulated, usually void filled, and highly packed. Taphofacies 3 is represented by mud or cement filled, loosely packed, articulated brachiopods forming large pocket-like structures. Temporal and spatial averaging were minimally involved in taphofacies 2 and 3. It is interpreted that patchy preservation implies preservation of primary original patchiness of brachiopod communities on the seafloor. The origin of shell-rich taphofacies (2 and 3) is related to rapid burial due to episodic storm activity, while shell-poor taphofacies 1 records background conditions. The nature and comparative diversity of these taphofacies underscores the importance of rapid burial for shell beds preservation. Differences in preservation between taphofacies 2 and 3 are mainly related to environmental criteria, most importantly storm energy and water depth. In contrast, the taxonomic-specific pattern of the communities is a subordinate element of control, controlling only minor within-taphofacies differences in preservation.

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