ABSTRACT

Silicification is a diagenetic process that can affect the fidelity of trace fossil preservation. The combination of compaction and oversilicification associated with chert precipitation can alter the original fabric created by the trace producers. Sedimentary structures and trace fossils in mixed chert-carbonate systems are especially prone to these processes, leading to the preservation of a limited or biased ichno-assemblage and the omission of important paleoecologic detail. We summarize useful criteria for identifying chert-associated trace fossils and present a formal naming scheme. Using this nomenclature, we identified silicified trace fossils in the chert-rich Permian strata from northwestern Utah. An assemblage of burrows is present in outcrops of the Trapper Creek Formation, consisting of nodule-like growths of microcrystalline quartz in close association with bioturbated horizons. Thin section micro-textures of burrow fill lend additional support to the bioturbated origin of chert nodules. Silicified Thalassinoides fossils are present, as are chert nodules with a Rhizocorallium-like morphology.

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