Trace fossils of a cyclic chalk-marl succession; the upper Maastrichtian Rørdal Member, Denmark

B.W. Lauridsen, F. Surlyk, R.G. Bromley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Trace fossils from an upper Maastrichtian cyclic chalk-marl succession, the Rørdal Member, exposed in the Rørdal quarry, Denmark, are analysed in order to test whether the changes in substrate lithology exerted any control over the ichnodiversity, tiering complexity, and density of the infauna. The cyclicity is interpreted as caused by orbital changes within the Milankovitch frequency band. The carbonate content varies between 71 and 82 weight% in the marl and 82-92 weight% in the chalk beds. The material is based on 19 samples collected from six chalk and marl beds. The investigated bedding-normal sample surfaces vary in area between 29 and 155cm2. Eight ichnogenera and two undetermined ichnogenera are recognised. The member is characterised by three ichnofabrics (A, B and C). The ichnofabric analysis is based on texture and internal structure of the sediments resulting from bioturbation. Ichnofabric A is found only in chalk samples and shows a poor preservation of trace fossils, whereas ichnofabric C is found in a few chalk and all marl samples and comprises a very dense, diverse and well preserved ichnofauna representing a high tiering complexity. Ichnofabric B represents an intermediate situation between ichnofabrics A and C and occurs in chalk samples immediately adjacent to marl beds. The observed changes in ichnofabrics between chalk and marl are related to the amount of clay in the samples and the differences in the occurrence of trace fossils are interpreted as due to differences in the visibility of traces between chalk and marl and not due to differences in ecological stress upon the endobenthic community of the two lithologies. The study thus provides an excellent example of how the effect of taphonomic factors may give a misleading and biased impression of apparent differences in the endobenthic community between chalk and marl.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalCretaceous Research
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cyclic chalk
  • Ichnofabrics
  • Taphonomy

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate

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