Taphonomy and palaeoecology of high-stress benthic associations from the Upper Jurassic of Asturias, northern Spain

Fürsich F, Werner W, Delvene G, Carlos Garcia-Ramos J, Bermudez-Rochas DD, Pinuela L (2012)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2012


Book Volume: 358-360

Pages Range: 1-18

DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.07.006


The late Kimmeridgian Tereñes Formation, exposed on the coast of Asturias, northern Spain, displays a complex pattern of directed changes of grain size, carbonate content, and skeletal concentrations. In its upper part, here investigated, the formation represents a protected shelf lagoon in which four major facies types are distinguished: The Nanogyra virgula mudstone (1) and the Corbulomima concentrations (2) are characterized by concentrations of small bivalves. The carbonate mudstone (3) contains pseudomorphs after gypsum crystals and thin crusts of gypsum, occasionally in connection with thin microbial layers. Finally, the silty to fine-sandy marlstone and micrite and marly silt (4) is highly bioturbated and contains a moderately diverse benthic macrofauna. These facies indicate a generally quiet environment punctuated by brief episodes of high water energy. Two low-diversity macrobenthic assemblages can be recognized, each of them strongly dominated by a single bivalve taxon. The Nanogyra virgula assemblage exhibits a higher diversity than the near-monospecific Corbulomima assemblage. The former lived in well aerated waters of slightly reduced salinity, and the latter in dysoxic waters of more strongly reduced salinity. The environmental stress responsible for the extremely low species richness and evenness is thought to be multifactorial, produced by reduced salinity, dysoxic conditions, and a soft substrate, and resulted in simple food chains. The eurytopic opportunist Corbulomima was the only element of the shelly macrobenthos that was able to thrive in the shelf lagoon under these conditions. It occurs in countless mm- to cm-thick pavements and shell beds which show evidence of winnowing, influence of weak currents, and occasionally of distal storms, as can be deduced from the orientation pattern of shells. These rhythmic Corbulomima concentrations are explained as reflecting small-scale climatic fluctuations between wetter, stormier conditions leading to mixing of the water masses and enabling colonization of the lagoonal floor by the bivalve, and drier, more tranquil conditions. The latter resulted in a stratified water mass and anoxia at the bottom. Superimposed on this rhythmic alternation are three higher orders of cycles which are partly climatic controlled, partly reflect changes in relative sea level. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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Fürsich, F., Werner, W., Delvene, G., Carlos Garcia-Ramos, J., Bermudez-Rochas, D.D., & Pinuela, L. (2012). Taphonomy and palaeoecology of high-stress benthic associations from the Upper Jurassic of Asturias, northern Spain. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 358-360, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.07.006


Fürsich, Franz, et al. "Taphonomy and palaeoecology of high-stress benthic associations from the Upper Jurassic of Asturias, northern Spain." Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 358-360 (2012): 1-18.

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