Micropalaeontological evidence of brackish water conditions during deposition of the Knorringfjellet Formation, Late Triassic–Early Jurassic, Spitsbergen
AbstractThe Knorringfjellet Formation is a succession of mudstones and sandstones, ranging in age from Norian to Toarcian in western and west-central Spitsbergen, and contains several unconformities with associated hiatuses. Its foraminiferal succession consists almost exclusively of agglutinated taxa, shows extremely low assemblage diversities and a dominance of small-sized species. These faunal features signalize restricted environmental conditions (in contrast to those of a normal marine shelf). Comparisons with ancient and modern analogues suggest that the main restricting factor was hyposaline conditions, to a lesser extent augmented by hypoxia in near-bottom waters. These conditions were caused by high fluvial influx creating gravity stratified water masses. The depositional area was part of an extensive but shallow shelf embayment, which had an open connection to the north to the polar ocean basin. Discontinuities recognized in the foraminiferal succession indicate depositional unconformities within the formation.
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