The development of an atypical Hirnantia Fauna in the late Ordovician of Gondwana was coeval with a slow eustatic fall induced by the abstraction of water into a growing ice sheet. This event is dated as early Hirnantian in age and occurred in tandem with the start of a major mass extinction. A tectonic episode in the Caradoc-Ashgill of North Africa differentiated the continental shelf into highs and lows and may have formed the land required for the accumulation of a permanent snow cover. Depositional lows were filled by regressive shallow-marine deposits in the early Hirnantian. During the mid-Hirnantian, advance and retreat of an ice sheet on the continental shelf resulted in the deposition of glaciomarine sediments above these regressive deposits. The demise of an atypical Hirnantia Fauna is attributed to deglaciation and the associated flooding of the continental shelf by a stratified anoxic water column. This glacioeustatic sea-level rise occurred in the late Hirnantian.