Ophiomorpha irregulaire, rare trace fossil in shallow marine sandstones, Cretaceous Atane Formation, West Greenland

Gunver Krarup Pedersen, Richard G. Bromley

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Ophiomorpha irregulaire is a large and extremely rare trace fossil. The type section is in the Book Cliffs, Utah, USA. A second on-shore locality is reported here, in the Nuussuaq Basin of West Greenland. Both occurrences date from the Late Cretaceous. Other reports of O. irregulaire are restricted to two-dimensional sections in well cores and are mostly Jurassic in age. The West Greenland occurrence is in the Atane Formation in shallow marine clean sandstone. The two on-shore localities lie in the same biogeographical region, in connection with the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway of North America. O. irregulaire is characterized by a sinuous, branched meander maze lying mostly within a single horizontal plane, probably not far beneath the seafloor. The burrow lining has remarkably elongate pellets that probably were emplaced by the burrower. In some cases, diagenetic compression may have deformed the lining pellets to produce their elongated shape. The muddy sediment comprising the lining is almost unrepresented in the clean sands of the substrate, and it was probably trapped from suspension during suspension-feeding activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-972
Number of pages9
JournalCretaceous Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Elongate pellets
  • Late Cretaceous
  • Ophiomorpha irregulaire
  • Shallow marine
  • Suspension feeder
  • West Greenland

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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