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Upper Ordovician chitinozoan biostratigraphy from the type Ashgill area (Cautley district) and the Pus Gill section (Dufton district, Cross Fell Inlier), Cumbria, Northern England

  • THIJS R. A. VANDENBROUCKE (a1) (a2), BARRIE RICKARDS (a3) and JACQUES VERNIERS (a1)

Abstract

Seventy-five samples from the classic sections through the historical type area of the Ashgill Series in the Cautley district and along Pus Gill in the Cross Fell Inlier have been examined for chitinozoans. The results of this study allowed the recognition of five internationally recognized biozones and the definition of two new Avalonian chitinozoan zones. From bottom upwards, these are: the Fungochitina spinifera, the Tanuchitina bergstroemi?, the Conochitina rugata, the Spinachitina fossensis, the Bursachitina umbilicata sp. n., the Ancyrochitina merga and the Belonechitina postrobusta zones. One new species is described: Bursachitina umbilicata sp. n. This biozonation enables a correlation between the Cautley district and the Baltoscandia and Gondwana palaeocontinents based on chitinozoans. The Baltoscandic chitinozoan zones are, therefore, now better correlated with the British chronostratigraphical scheme, which is still widely used. It is stratigraphically significant that the base of the Ashgill in its type area does not fall within the Tanuchitina bergstroemi Zone, as widely believed before, but in the Fungochitina spinifera Zone. In addition, chitinozoans from the Onnian (Caradoc) section of the Cross Fell Inlier provide a link with the type Caradoc section in Shropshire.

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Author for correspondence: thijs.vandenbroucke@ugent.be

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