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Molluscan Biostratigraphy of the Lower River Bend Formation at the Martin Marietta Quarry, New Bern, North Carolina

Thomas J. Rossbach and Joseph G. Carter
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 65, No. 1 (Jan., 1991), pp. 80-118
Published by: Paleontological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1305698
Page Count: 39
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Molluscan Biostratigraphy of the Lower River Bend Formation at the Martin Marietta Quarry, New Bern, North Carolina
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Abstract

The lower River Bend Formation at the Martin Marietta New Bern quarry in Craven County, North Carolina, contains a diverse and abundant moldic molluscan fauna. This fauna, reconstructed by latex casts, suggests a Vicksburgian or a post-Vicksburgian, pre-Chickasawhayan age for the New Bern exposure. Forty-one molluscan species and subspecies are presently identified from the lower River Bend Formation, 11 of which are new: Turritella caelatura alani, Turritella neusensis, Galeodaria britti, Phalium newbernensis, Cymatium planinodum, Oocorys vadosus, Ecphora wheeleri, Lyria concinna, Scaphella saintjeani, Turricula (Orthosurcula) aequa, and Lucina (Stewartia) micraulax. This fauna is virtually identical at the generic level and similar at the species level to the Vicksburgian faunas of the Gulf Coastal Plain. About 37 percent of the New Bern species also occur in the Vicksburgian of Mississippi, although many of these species reach considerably larger sizes at New Bern. Apparent evolutionary transitions between previously known Vicksburgian and Chickasawhayan mollusks suggest a time of deposition intermediate between these two Oligocene stages. Moderately high molluscan diversity, the abundance of characteristically warm-water genera, and associated carbonate-rich sediments suggest that the lower River Bend Formation represents a subtropical, open-marine, predominantly carbonate environment immediately seaward of a nearshore lagoonal or barrier island complex. The lower River Bend Formation at New Bern differs faunally, climatically, and sedimentologically from the upper River Bend Formation in quarry exposures near Belgrade, North Carolina. The upper River Bend Formation contains a lower diversity molluscan fauna with marked dominance diversity and few warm-water taxa. It represents a slightly cooler nearshore, open-marine environment in a transitional siliciclastic--carbonate sedimentary regime. The considerable taxonomic and sedimentologic differences between the lower and upper parts of the River Bend Formation corroborate microfossil evidence suggesting that they represent temporally distinct depositional cycles.

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