Document Type

Article

Department

Geology (Pomona)

Publication Date

2005

Keywords

Cambrian explosion, Burgess Shale-type, Cambrian Wheeler Formation of Utah, organisms, fossil records

Abstract

Cambrian Burgess Shale-type (BST) deposits are among the most significant deposits for understanding the “Cambrian explosion” because they contain the fossilized tissues of nonmineralized organisms and provide a substantially different window on the radiation of the Metazoa than is afforded by the more “typical” fossil record of skeletal parts of biomineralized organisms. Despite nearly a century of research, BST deposits remain poorly investigated as sedimentologic entities largely because they comprise fine-grained mudrocks. Here,we describe a new, integrative approach to understanding a single BST deposit, the middle Cambrian Wheeler Formation of Utah, which reveals a dynamic interplay of paleoenvironmental, paleoecologic, and sedimentologic/diagentic factors within a superficially homogeneous lithofacies.This millimeter-scale microstratigraphic and paleontologic approach is augmented by both outcrop and microscopic study.These types of data are applicable to issues of quite different scales, including micron-scale diagenetic processes involved in fossil preservation, organism-environment interactions and paleoecology of the early Metazoa, and regional and global controls on the distribution of BST deposits.

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Copyright © 2005, Society for Sedimentary Geology. All rights reserved.

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