ABSTRACT

Silurian–Devonian boundary interval strata deposited during the expansion of land plants record a major perturbation of the carbon cycle, the global Klonk Event, one of the largest carbon isotope excursions during the Phanerozoic. In the Appalachian Basin, these marine strata record the regional buildup to the Acadian Orogeny. This study reports new sedimentologic, paleontologic, ichnologic, and carbon isotope data from an exceptional quarry exposure in central Pennsylvania, USA, a historically understudied area between better-documented outcrops >500 km away to the southwest (West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland) and northeast (New York). Facies spanning the continuous 113-m thick outcrop are dominantly carbonate and fine-grained siliciclastic strata interpreted as being deposited in supratidal through subtidal environments, including oxygen-limited environments below storm wave base. They record parts of three transgressive-regressive cycles, in the (1) upper Silurian Tonoloway Formation, (2) upper Silurian–Lower Devonian Keyser Formation through lower Mandata Member of the Old Port Formation, and (3) Lower Devonian Mandata through Ridgeley Members of the Old Port Formation. Micrite matrix δ13Ccarb analyses exhibit a large, positive δ13Ccarb excursion (>5‰ amplitude). Outcrops of this interval in the Appalachian Basin occur in two belts, between which correlation has been historically challenging. The regional correlation presented herein is based on carbon-isotope trends and is more consistent with published conodont biostratigraphy and volcanic ash ages, an improvement over published correlations based on lithostratigraphy. Transgressive-regressive trends at the central Pennsylvania study site are not consistent with regional trends, indicating that local controls (tectonics, sediment supply) rather than global (eustasy) dominated depositional patterns in the Silurian–Devonian boundary interval in the Appalachian Basin.

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