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The Trace-Fossil Diplocraterion: Evidence of Animal-Sediment Interactions in Cambrian Tidal Deposits

Frank G. Cornish
PALAIOS
Vol. 1, No. 5 (Oct., 1986), pp. 478-491
DOI: 10.2307/3514630
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3514630
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Trace-Fossil Diplocraterion: Evidence of Animal-Sediment Interactions in Cambrian Tidal Deposits
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Abstract

The U-shaped, spreiten-bearing burrows Diplocraterion parallelum and D. habichi in the Hickory Sandstone Member of the Riley Formation (Cambrian), record interactions with other metazoans and the substrate, thus revealing paleoecologic, sedimentologic, and environmental details about this basal-transgressive, cratonic sandstone in central Texas. These trace fossils establish the presence of a low-level suspension-feeding, infaunal trophic group not found in the Hickory Sandstone body-fossil record. Diplocraterion probably represents the activity of infaunal, suspension-feeding invertebrates. The Diplocraterion burrow depth of 19.5 cm is additional evidence for a Cambrian suspension-feeding tier deeper than previously estimated. Skolithos/Monocraterion rarely occur in facies with abundant Diplocraterion. High ambient water temperatures may have been a factor controlling the distribution of the organisms within the Diplocraterion-Skolithos/Monocraterion trophic group. The protrusive behavior (downward motion) of Diplocraterion resulted from the interaction with current flow of a high-density tube field of suspension feeders. This interaction caused turbulent eddies to impinge on the bed, resulting in current scour of the substrate. Sediment sorting within the Hickory may have been a direct result of the reworking of vast tidal sand flats by infauna, aiding already strong tidal currents in removing mud-sized particles. Diplocraterion is a diagnostic marine trace fossil and can be used to separate nonmarine from marine environments in basal Paleozoic, cratonic sandstones. It is useful in identifying tidally influenced environments when found in facies resulting from high-energy deposition.

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