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TitleMicrobial mats and ichnofauna of a fluvial-tidal channel in the lower pennsylvanian joggins formation, Canada
AuthorPrescott, Z M; Stimson, M R; Dafoe, L T; Gibling, M R; MacRae, R A; Calder, J H; Hebert, B L
SourcePalaios vol. 29, 2014 p. 624-645,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130208
Mediapaper; digital; on-line
File formatpdf
ProvinceNova Scotia
Lat/Long WENS -64.5000 -64.4167 45.7500 45.6667
Subjectsfluvial processes; fluvial systems; fossil assemblages; ichnofacies; sedimentation; tidal environments
Illustrationsgeological sketch maps; location maps; stratigraphic columns; photographs; tables
ProgramFrontier basin analysis, Geoscience for New Energy Supply (GNES)
AbstractA meandering-fluvial channel body at Coal Mine Point in the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia contains an unusual fossil assemblage. During an early stage of channel abandonment, a wrinkled surface attributed to microbial mats was traversed by large Diplichnites cuithensis trackways generated by arthropleurids. Closely associated are smaller Diplichnites gouldi trackways, probably made by myriapods, as well as tetrapod tracks (Pseudobradypus?, Dromillopus, Hylopus) and invertebrate traces (Cochlichnus, Gordia), collectively representing the Scoyenia ichnofacies. The mats stabilized the sediment surface, allowing excellent trackway preservation and may have formed a food source, although no feeding traces were identified. Overlying beds yield paired mud drapes and a stressed trace-fossil assemblage of Skolithos, Arenicolites, Rhizocorallium, Cochlichnus and Protichnites, attributed to a mixed Skolithos and Cruziana ichnofacies and indicating brackish influence. The channel deposits contain some logs and large plant axes, and were colonized in late stages by lycopsid and calamitalean trees. The assemblage indicates that Early Pennsylvanian channels on a vegetated coastal plain near the tidal limit had a diverse and interconnected aquatic and riparian ecosystem, with tetrapods and terrestrial arthropods entering the channel. Microbial mats may have been common components of Pennsylvanian channels, as they are in modern fluvial and tidal channels.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The Maritimes Basin was a large area that covered what is now part of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the Carboniferous over 300 million years ago. The layers of sediment that accumulated in this area now form part of an economically significant petroleum system. Despite the previous research conducted on these Carboniferous rocks, questions still remain about the origin of the rocks. The current research involves a paleontological understanding of Maritimes Basin sediments from the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia. This work builds upon our understanding of the paleoenvironment in which the sediments accumulated, which can help to explain the nature of Carboniferous reservoirs and potential petroleum source rocks. The Joggins Fossil Cliffs are primarily terrestrial in origin; however, the study has revealed a marine incursion and unique preservation of an algal mat surface with associated fossils.