Abstract:

Arthropods from the late Campanian (Late Cretaceous) of the Western Interior Seaway produced U-shaped Diplocraterion parallelum in mudstones along two closely spaced surfaces (10 cm apart), one of which corresponds to a maximum transgressive surface. Diplocraterion parallelum are widely distributed across both surfaces, with substantial variations in burrow orientations. Based on a comparison of paleocurrent indicators to burrow orientations, we demonstrate that D. parallelum are preferentially oriented parallel to the prevailing fair-weather wave propagation direction (wave-forced currents) that acted upon the colonized surfaces. There is an apparent maximum (34% above uniformity) preferential orientation of the burrows, attributed to the fact that wave-forced currents represent only one of several factors controlling shrimp burrowing behaviors. Based on this study, we propose that in the absence of paleocurrent data, Diplocraterion and other U-shaped burrows can be used to resolve flow directions, and that preferential burrow orientations ≥ 2% above uniformity are significant. However, it is noted that it is only possible to resolve 2-way flow directions (trend) from U-shaped burrows, as there is no way to determine vector directions.

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