Lower Triassic bryozoan beds from Ellesmere Island, High Arctic, Canada
AbstractIn the Sverdrup Basin (Canadian Arctic), the Lower Triassic Blind Fiord Formation, comprising siltstone and shale, overlies various Middle to Late Permian (post-Wordian) sedimentary units. This formation is subdivided into three members: the Confederation Point, Smith Creek and Svartfjeld members of, respectively, Griesbachian–Dienerian, Smithian–Spathian and Spathian ages. Lower Triassic bryozoan beds are known from many sections of Ellesmere Island, but have never been studied in detail. During the Early Triassic biotic recovery interval, immediately following the Permian/Triassic extinction event, only one new bryozoan genus evolved in the Boreal region: Arcticopora. The first lower Triassic bryozoan bed appears in the upper part of the Confederation Point Member, and is dated as late Dienerian. Succeeding bryozoan levels occur in the upper Smith Creek Member, and are late Smithian–early Spathian in age. Bryozoan beds occupy a similar stratigraphic position in Spitsbergen. There, they occur scattered in silt to coarse sandstone beds, but also in bryozoan-dominated packstone beds resembling the packstone units in the uppermost part of the Confederation Point Member of Ellesmere Island. Previously, bryozoan-rich beds of Triassic age have not been reported, and the present work fills an important time gap in the bryozoan carbonate database.
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