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Later Cambrian and earliest Ordovician trilobites and brachiopods spanning eight horizons from five localities within the Sông Mã, Hàm Rồng and Đông Sơn formations of the Thanh Hóa province of Việt Nam, constrain the age and faunal affinities of rocks within the Sông Đà terrane, one of several suture/fault-bounded units situated between South China to the north and Indochina to the south. ‘Ghost-like’ preservation in dolomite coupled with tectonic deformation leaves many of the fossils poorly preserved, and poor exposure precludes collecting within continuously exposed stratigraphic successions. Cambrian carbonate facies pass conformably into Lower Ordovician carbonate-rich strata that also include minor siliciclastic facies, and the recovered fauna spans several uppermost Cambrian and Lower Ordovician biozones. The fauna is of equatorial Gondwanan affinity, and comparable to that from South China, North China, Sibumasu and Australia. A new species of Miaolingian ‘ptychopariid’ trilobite, Kaotaia xuanensis, is described. Detrital zircon samples from Cambrian–Ordovician rocks of the North Việt Nam and Sông Đà terranes, and from Palaeozoic samples from the Trường Sơn sector of Indochina immediately to the south, contain a predominance of ages spanning the Neoproterozoic period and have a typical equatorial Gondwanan signature. We associate the Cambrian and Tremadocian of the Sông Đà terrane with areas immediately to the north of it, including the North Việt Nam terrane and the southern parts of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China.
A new genus and species of microconchid tubeworm, Aculeiconchus sandbergi n. gen. n. sp., is described from the Givetian (Devonian) Maywood Formation of Cottonwood Canyon, Wyoming, USA. It possesses unique hollow spines of various lengths on the tube underside, a position previously undocumented for these fossils. Like some cyclostome bryozoans possessing basal tubular extensions, the basal spines of Aculeiconchus n. gen. were presumably also used for fixation to flexible substrata, e.g., algal thalli, which is a previously undocumented adaptive strategy in microconchids. Together with other skeletal features, such basal spines could suggest that ‘lophophorate’ microconchids, unlike the other tentaculitoids, might be phylogenetically not as distant from bryozoans as previously thought. The Maywood Formation, which contains a few-millimeters thick, monospecific shell accumulation of the microconchids described herein, records deposition in an estuarine brackish setting within narrow channels that were cut into underlying strata. The microconchids were opportunistic taxa that repeatedly colonized these salinity-stressed estuarine channels, leading to a series of adaptive innovations, including colonization of plant stems during the Early Devonian (Beartooth Butte Formation) and possibly flexible, soft-algal substrata during the Middle Devonian (Maywood Formation, this study). Tectonic quiescence during the Early and Middle Devonian indicates that erosion and subsequent deposition of the Maywood and the underlying Beartooth Butte Formation channels were responses to major eustatic events. Over a span of nearly 30 Myr, channels were cut successively during lowstand conditions and a distinctive faunal assemblage with microconchids tracked marine transgressions into the channels.
The Ao Mo Lae Formation of the Tarutao Group crops out on Thailand's Tarutao Island and contains a diverse assemblage of late Furongian trilobite taxa, including several endemic forms. This study presents a new genus and species, Satunarcus molaensis, discovered at two locations on the island. A cladistic analysis of the kaolishaniid subfamily Mansuyiinae in light of Satunarcus and similar genera known from across upper Cambrian equatorial Gondwanan rocks suggests that the subfamily is polyphyletic in its current definition, and thus is not a natural group. Separating Mansuyia Sun, 1924 from the other taxa conventionally placed in Mansuyiinae permits recognition of a previously unrecognized monophyletic subfamily Ceronocarinae new subfamily. As established herein, this kaolishaniid subfamily contains Satunarcus n. gen. and all genera previously recognized as Mansuyiinae. with the exception of Mansuyia itself. Ceronocarinae n. subfam. occur in middle Jiangshanian to middle Cambrian Stage 10 sedimentary rocks from Australia, South China, North China, and Sibumasu, with most genera endemic to Australia.
New collections of trilobites from the type section of the Parahio Formation in the Parahio Valley, Spiti, and from the Parahio, Karsha, and Kurgiakh formations in the Zanskar Valley, permit biozonation based on material precisely located within measured stratigraphic sections. Specimens preserved in limestone with mild tectonic deformation clarify the features of several Himalayan taxa known previously only from severely deformed specimens preserved in shale. A total of 75 trilobite taxa from the Cambrian of Spiti and Zanskar can be referred, questionably at least, at the generic level or below, and 61 of these are present in our new collections. This new material is assigned with confidence to 29 existing species, and to 12 new species. Three new genera, Haydenaspis, Bhargavia, and Himalisania, are established; new species include Haydenaspis parvatya, Prozacanthoides lahiri, Probowmania bhatti, Xingrenaspis parthiva, X. shyamalae, Bhargavia prakritika, Kaotaia prachina, Gunnia smithi, Sudanamonocarina sinindica, Proasaphiscus simoni, Koldinia odelli, and Torifera jelli. Ten additional Himalayan forms are assigned at the generic level only, and another 11 are questionably assigned to genera or species. The zonation proposed includes 6 zones and 3 levels, including the Haydenaspis parvatya level, the Oryctocephalus indicus level, the Kaotaia prachina Zone, the Paramecephalus defossus Zone, the Oryctocephalus salteri Zone, the Iranoleesia butes level, the Sudanomocarina sinindica Zone, the Lejopyge acantha Zone, and the Proagnostus bulbus Zone. The sections span from the upper part of the informal Stage 4, Series 2 of the Cambrian System, about 511 Ma old, to the Proagnostus bulbus zone of the Guzhangian Stage near the top of Series 3, dated at about 501 Ma. This time interval is represented by about 2000 m of section, which is thick compared to similar intervals elsewhere and is consistent with high rates of sedimentation along the Himalayan margin at the time. The fauna resembles others from equatorial peri-Gondwanaland, with closest similarity to that of South China. It also bears strong affinity to the North China fauna. Juvenile trilobites are described for the first time from India. A new Chinese species, Monanocephalus liquani, is also described.
Cambrian biostratigraphy of the Indian subcontinent is best documented from the Parahio Formation of the Tethyan Himalaya. Recently established trilobite biostratigraphy shows that the formation encompasses the latest part of unnamed Stage 4 and much of unnamed Stage 5. A variety of small shelly fossils have been recovered via acid digestion of carbonate beds and include tetract and pentact hexactinellid sponge spicules, chancelloriid spicules belonging to Chancelloria sp. and a new species, Archiasterella dhiraji, shells of an helcionelloid comparable to Igorella maidipingensis, a meraspid ptychopariid trilobite, the tubular Cupitheca sp., a poorly preserved hyolith, and an assortment of spinose microfossils of uncertain affinity. These newly recovered microfossils are consistent with the trilobite-based lower and middle Cambrian age determination and do not support a late Cambrian age for the top of the Parahio Formation advocated in some recent literature. The microfossils reported herein significantly expand the known diversity of such fossils from Cambrian strata in the Himalayan region, and allow for comparison of this fauna with others from Gondwanaland and elsewhere. Integration with trilobite data indicate that the stratigraphic ranges of many small shelly fossils described in this study are greater than previously recognized.
Specimens of the discoid, chambered megafossil Kullingia delicata (Fedonkin) occur near the base of member 2 of the Chapel Island Formation on the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland. Morphologic and taphonomic features suggest that these fossils can be interpreted as the impressions of pelagic chondrophorines. Kullingia provides a link between Ediacaran and Paleozoic forms, and thus supports the view that the Chondrophorina represents a conservative evolutionary lineage extending back into the Precambrian.
The lowest Cambrian of Avalon, or Placentian Series, is a relatively thick sequence (1,400 m) in southeastern Newfoundland. A newly proposed body fossil zonation supplements an existing trace fossil zonation of the lower part of the Placentian Series and includes strata to the top of the sub-trilobitic Lower Cambrian.
The Sabellidites cambriensis Zone brackets the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary and comprises peritidal and wave-influenced subtidal facies deposited during deepening through the lower part of the Chapel Island Formation. Younger “Ladatheca” cylindrica Zone strata include the deepest facies of the Chapel Island Formation. The base of the overlying Watsonella crosbyi Zone (a post-Nemakit Daldyn and pre-Tommotian equivalent) is significantly diachronous because the diagnostic mollusks were preferentially preserved in pyritiferous offshore muds rather than in coeval nearshore muds. High diversity, upper Watsonella crosbyi Zone faunas (18 species) are limited to peritidal limestones of member 4 and are dominated by calcareous small shelly fossils. A thick interval (ca. 430 m) without body fossils and an important episode of block faulting that led to 750 m of differential erosion preceded deposition of the lower part of the Bonavista Group (=Sunnaginia imbricata Zone, an interval considered to be largely older than the Tommotian). Although much Early Cambrian time may be lost as a result of erosion at Random Formation–Bonavista Group unconformities, many Watsonella crosbyi Zone species reappear in the Sunnaginia imbricata Zone. Shoaling accompanied the immigration event defining the base of the Camenella baltica Zone, and an unconformity following regional offlap marks the top of the Placentian Series.
Calcareous, and not phosphatic, composition is most common in earliest Cambrian shelly remains. Little evidence suggests that a global, Precambrian–Cambrian boundary interval “phosphogenic” event either resulted in deposition of local phosphate deposits in the Tethyan region or had a role in the appearance of mineralized skeletons.
Twenty metazoans and problematica and an alga are illustrated from the Chapel Island Formation. Bemella? vonbitteri Landing n. sp. and Halkieria stonei Landing n. sp. are described. The monoplacophoran Archaeospira? avalonensis Landing n. sp. has right-and left-handed conchs comparable to those of Archaeospira (=Yangtzespira) from China. Anabarites is the senior generic synonym of Tiksitheca.
The Pele La Group in the Wachi La section in the Black Mountains of central Bhutan represents the easternmost exposure of Cambrian strata known in the Himalaya. The group contains a succession of siliciclastic rocks with minor amounts of carbonate, the uppermost unit of which, the Quartzite Formation, bears age-diagnostic trilobite body fossils that are approximately 493 Ma old. Trilobite species include Kaolishania granulosa, Taipaikia glabra and the new species Lingyuanaspis sangae. A billingsellid brachiopod, Billingsella cf. tonkiniana, is co-occurrent. This fauna is precisely correlated with that of a specific stratigraphic horizon within the upper part of the Kaolishania Zone, Stage 9 of the Cambrian System, Furongian Epoch of the North China block, and thus represents the youngest Cambrian sedimentary rocks yet known from the Himalaya. The faunal similarity suggests proximity between North China and the Himalayan margin at this time. This unit was deposited in a predominantly storm-influenced shelf and shoreface environment. U–Pb geochronological data from detrital zircon grains from the fossil-bearing beds of the Quartzite Formation and strata of the underlying Deshichiling Formation show grain age spectra consistent with those from Cambrian rocks of the Lesser and Tethyan Himalaya in Tibet, India and Pakistan. These data support continuity of the northern Gondwanan margin across the Himalaya. Prominent peaks of approximately 500 Ma zircons in both the Quartzite and Deshichiling formations are consistent with the Furongian (late Cambrian) age assignment for these strata. The presence of these relatively young zircon populations implies rapid post-cooling erosion of igneous bodies and subsequent deposition which may reflect the influence of a widespread Cambro-Ordovician orogenic event evident in the western Himalaya.
Precise biostratigraphic constraints on the age of the Tal Group are restricted to (1) a basal level correlative with the Anabarites trisulcatus–Protohertzina anabarica Assemblage Zone of southwest China, (2) a level near the boundary of the lower and upper parts of the Tal Group correlative with the early Tsanglangpuan Stage (Drepanuroides Zone), and (3) an interval low in the upper part of the Tal Group correlative with later in the Tsanglangpuan Stage (Palaeolenus Zone). These correlations are based on small shelly fossil and trilobite taxa. Other chronostratigraphic constraints include the marked negative δ13C isotopic excursion coincident with the transition from the Krol Group to the Tal Group. This excursion is used as a proxy for the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary in several sections worldwide and, if applied to the Lesser Himalaya, indicates that the boundary is at or just above the base of the Tal Group. The upper parts of the Tal Group may be of middle or late Cambrian age and might form proximal equivalents of sections in the Zanskar–Spiti region of the Tethyan Himalaya. Both faunal content and lithological succession are comparable to southwest China, furthering recent arguments for close geographic proximity between the Himalaya and the Yangtze block during late Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian time. Trilobites from the uppermost parts of the Sankholi Formation from the Nigali Dhar syncline are described and referred to three taxa, one of which, Drepanopyge gopeni, is a new species. They are the oldest trilobites yet described from the Himalaya.
The range of Treptichnus pedum, the index trace fossil for the
Treptichnus pedum Zone, extends some 4 m below the Global
Standard Stratotype-section and Point for the base of the
Cambrian Period at Fortune Head on the Burin Peninsula in
southeastern Newfoundland. The identification of zigzag
traces of Treptichnus isp., even further below the GSSP than
T. pedum in the Fortune Head section, and in other terminal
Proterozoic successions around the globe, supports the
concept of a gradational onset of three-dimensional burrowing
across the Proterozoic–Cambrian boundary. Although
T. pedum remains a reasonable indicator for the base of the
Cambrian Period, greater precision in the stratotype section
can be achieved by a detailed re-evaluation of the stratigraphic
ranges and the morphological variation of ichnotaxa
included in the T. pedum Zone.
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