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Ichnofauna record cryptic marine incursions onto a coastal floodplain at a key Lower Mississippian tetrapod site

Ichnofauna record cryptic marine incursions onto a coastal floodplain at a key Lower Mississippian tetrapod site
Ichnofauna record cryptic marine incursions onto a coastal floodplain at a key Lower Mississippian tetrapod site
Ichnofossils from a Lower Mississippian (Tournaisian) coastal plain succession with a rich vertebrate fauna, including early tetrapods, record repeated, short-lived marine interactions that influenced floodplain lake development and ecosystems. The ichnofauna contrasts with the more typical Scoyenia Ichnofacies of other Devonian-Carboniferous tetrapod sites. In the Tournaisian Ballagan Formation of the Scottish Borders, Chondrites is identified in 128 horizons within a 500-m succession and is associated with lesser occurrences of phycosiphoniform burrows, Diplocraterion, Rhizocorallium and Zoophycos?. Chondrites and phycosiphoniform burrows commonly occur within dolostones, interpreted as part of a saline-hypersaline lake facies association, containing a non-marine to marginal marine macrofauna of bivalves, ostracods, Spirorbis, Serpula and sarcopterygian fish. Marine scolecodonts are reported from 18 horizons of diverse lithology, four of which co-occur with Chondrites. The single-colonisation, single-tier, high ichnofabric index and thin beds (mean 10 cm thick) that characterise Chondrites horizons indicate: 1) adverse environmental conditions; 2) rapid colonisation of the sediment; and 3) short-lived bioturbation episodes. Other ichnotaxa identified are Monocraterion and Asterosoma?, which occur exclusively within the overbank or fluvial facies associations, and are here interpreted to have lived in freshwater conditions. The Chondrites trace-makers are interpreted as having originated in shallow-marine waters and were transported into floodplain lakes by storm surge events, although a few examples suggest more significant transgressions. Ichnofossils are much more common than marine body fossils or scolecodonts, and thus record cryptic marine incursions that might otherwise remain unidentified. This study contributes to our understanding of the complex mosaic of environments present when terrestrial tetrapods first appeared.
Carboniferous, Chondrites, Ichnology, Brackish, Storm surge, Dolostone
0031-0182
287-300
Bennett, C.E.
41b82cad-8d4b-48a7-a39d-755ae23828dd
Howard, A.S.
578ffc1e-4f4b-48a3-a9ff-d466ee3e71bf
Davies, S.J.
6321bcb6-1e91-4d59-9101-46a59da2d9c0
Kearsey, T.I.
dd1c11e2-45f9-4614-b8ed-5930efb5afdb
Millward, D.
7ddbec3f-6ba0-4345-8608-d60706ac8b7f
Brand, P.J.
68ff3199-0c4a-49e1-b86a-27972ecc8741
Browne, M.A.E.
90fdd1fa-bf6e-45c7-94a6-219002ddd507
Reeves, E.J.
6a834ffb-6e81-4f04-bdd2-175b64979125
Marshall, J.E.A.
cba178e3-91aa-49a2-b2ce-4b8d9d870b06
Bennett, C.E.
41b82cad-8d4b-48a7-a39d-755ae23828dd
Howard, A.S.
578ffc1e-4f4b-48a3-a9ff-d466ee3e71bf
Davies, S.J.
6321bcb6-1e91-4d59-9101-46a59da2d9c0
Kearsey, T.I.
dd1c11e2-45f9-4614-b8ed-5930efb5afdb
Millward, D.
7ddbec3f-6ba0-4345-8608-d60706ac8b7f
Brand, P.J.
68ff3199-0c4a-49e1-b86a-27972ecc8741
Browne, M.A.E.
90fdd1fa-bf6e-45c7-94a6-219002ddd507
Reeves, E.J.
6a834ffb-6e81-4f04-bdd2-175b64979125
Marshall, J.E.A.
cba178e3-91aa-49a2-b2ce-4b8d9d870b06

Bennett, C.E., Howard, A.S., Davies, S.J., Kearsey, T.I., Millward, D., Brand, P.J., Browne, M.A.E., Reeves, E.J. and Marshall, J.E.A. (2017) Ichnofauna record cryptic marine incursions onto a coastal floodplain at a key Lower Mississippian tetrapod site. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 468, 287-300.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ichnofossils from a Lower Mississippian (Tournaisian) coastal plain succession with a rich vertebrate fauna, including early tetrapods, record repeated, short-lived marine interactions that influenced floodplain lake development and ecosystems. The ichnofauna contrasts with the more typical Scoyenia Ichnofacies of other Devonian-Carboniferous tetrapod sites. In the Tournaisian Ballagan Formation of the Scottish Borders, Chondrites is identified in 128 horizons within a 500-m succession and is associated with lesser occurrences of phycosiphoniform burrows, Diplocraterion, Rhizocorallium and Zoophycos?. Chondrites and phycosiphoniform burrows commonly occur within dolostones, interpreted as part of a saline-hypersaline lake facies association, containing a non-marine to marginal marine macrofauna of bivalves, ostracods, Spirorbis, Serpula and sarcopterygian fish. Marine scolecodonts are reported from 18 horizons of diverse lithology, four of which co-occur with Chondrites. The single-colonisation, single-tier, high ichnofabric index and thin beds (mean 10 cm thick) that characterise Chondrites horizons indicate: 1) adverse environmental conditions; 2) rapid colonisation of the sediment; and 3) short-lived bioturbation episodes. Other ichnotaxa identified are Monocraterion and Asterosoma?, which occur exclusively within the overbank or fluvial facies associations, and are here interpreted to have lived in freshwater conditions. The Chondrites trace-makers are interpreted as having originated in shallow-marine waters and were transported into floodplain lakes by storm surge events, although a few examples suggest more significant transgressions. Ichnofossils are much more common than marine body fossils or scolecodonts, and thus record cryptic marine incursions that might otherwise remain unidentified. This study contributes to our understanding of the complex mosaic of environments present when terrestrial tetrapods first appeared.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 December 2016
Published date: 15 February 2017
Keywords: Carboniferous, Chondrites, Ichnology, Brackish, Storm surge, Dolostone
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Paleooceanography & Palaeoclimate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404622
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404622
ISSN: 0031-0182
PURE UUID: 1873dd8a-2a8e-4a74-b280-3e1e7d407524
ORCID for J.E.A. Marshall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9242-3646

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 13 Jan 2017 13:49
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 13:17

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