Allostratigraphic and Sedimentologic Applications of Trace Fossils to the Study of Incised Estuarine Valleys

An Example from the Virgilian Tonganoxie Sandstone Member of Eastern Kansas

Authors

  • Luis A. Buatois Kansas Geological Survey
  • Gabriela Mangano Kansas Geological Survey
  • Christopher G. Maples Kansas Geological Survey
  • William P. Lanier Department of Earth Sciences, Emporia State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17161/cres.v0i241.11782

Keywords:

keyword

Abstract

The Tonganoxie Sandstone Member (Stranger Formation) records part of the infill of an estuarine valley system that was incised during a late Missourian (Late Carboniferous) drop in sea level and subsequently infilled during a transgressive episode later in the Virgilian (Late Carboniferous). At Buildex Quarry, in an eastern valley-margin position, this unit is represented by planar-bedded-and-laminated siltstone beds (tidal rhythmites) overlying a coplanar surface of lowstand erosion and subsequent transgression. These tidal rhythmites contain a relatively diverse ichnofauna dominated by arthropod trackways, surface grazing trails, fish traces, and tetrapod tracks, including the ichnogenera Circulichnis Vyalov, Dendroidichnites Demathieu, Gand, and Toutin-Morin, Diplichnites Dawson, Diplopodichnus Brady, Gordia Emmons, Helminthoidichnites Fitch, Helminthopsis Heer, Kouphichnium Nopcsa, Mirandaichnium Aceñolaza, Stiaria Smith, Stiallia Smith, Tonganoxichnus Mángano, Buatois, Maples, and Lanier, Treptichnus Miller, and Undichna Anderson. The Buildex ichnofauna represents a mixture of the nonmarine Scoyenia and Mermia ichnofacies and records the activity of a terrestrial and freshwater biota. Ichnologic evidence, coupled with sedimentologic data, suggests that the Buildex succession was deposited on tidal flats in the most proximal zone of the inner estuary, between the landward limit of tidal currents and the salinity limit further towards the sea. This type of trace-fossil assemblage seems to characterize the lower part of transgressive system tracts, immediately overlying the coplanar surface during the late Paleozoic. As transgression proceeded, tide-influenced freshwater facies tended to be replaced by retrogradational brackish-water parasequences, and the mixed Scoyenia and Mermia ichnofacies was replaced by a Skolithos-impoverished Cruziana ichnofacies. The coplanar surface (flooding surface and sequence boundary) that marks the base of the Tonganoxie sequence at Buildex lacks the substrate-controlled, marine Glossifungites ichnofacies. The coals and paleosols with upright plant remains that typify the coplanar surface at Buildex represent erosional truncation and subsequent omission close to the interfluves and may be regarded as the landward equivalent of the Glossifungites ichnofacies. Buildex-type ichnofaunas probably are widespread in Pennsylvanian tidal rhythmites of the U.S. Midcontinent and may be used to identify freshwater inner estuarine facies, to delineate fluvio-estuarine transitions in incised valley systems, and to refine models based exclusively on lithofacies evidence.

References

Allen, G. P., 1991, Sedimentary processes and facies in the Gironde estuary--A model for macrotidal estuarine systems; in, Clastic Tidal Sedimentology, D. G. Smith, G. E. Reinson, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. A. Rahmani, eds.: Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 16, p. 219-226.

Allen, G. P., and Posamentier, H. W., 1993, Sequence stratigraphy and facies model of an incised valley fill--The Gironde estuary, France: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 63, p. 378-391.

Archer, A. W., 1993, Reappraisal of Pennsylvanian trace-fossil assemblages in the Eastern Interior Coal Basin, U.S.A.; in, Incised Paleovalley of the Douglas Group in northeastern Kansas--Field Guide and Related Contributions, A. W. Archer, H. R. Feldman, and W. P. Lanier, eds.: Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 93-24, p. 5-1 to 5-14.

Archer, A. W., and Feldman, H. R., 1995, Incised valleys and estuarine facies of the Douglas Group (Virgilian)--Implications for similar Pennsylvanian sequences in the U.S. Mid-Continent; in, Sequence Stratigraphy of the Mid-Continent, N. J. Hyne, ed.: Tulsa Geological Society, p. 119-140.

Archer, A. W., and Maples, C. G., 1984, Trace-fossil distribution across a marine-to-nonmarine gradient in the Pennsylvanian of southwestern Indiana: Journal of Paleontology, v. 58, p. 448-466.

Archer, A. W., Kvale, E. P., and Maples, C. G., 1988, Periodicity of lamina thickness of Whetstone beds (Pennsylvanian, Indiana)--A record of daily sedimentation: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 20, p. 90.

Archer, A. W., Lanier, W. P., and Feldman, H. R., 1994, Stratigraphy and depositional history within incised-paleovalley fills and related facies, Douglas Group (Missourian/Virgillian; Upper Carboniferous) of Kansas, U.S.A.; in, Incised valley systems--Origin and sedimentary sequences, R. Boyd, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. Dalrymple, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Special Publication, v. 51, p. 175-190.

Archer, A. W., Feldman, H. R., Kvale, E. P., and Lanier, W. P., 1994, Comparison of drier- to wetter-interval estuarine roof facies in the Eastern and Western Interior coal basins, USA: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 106, p. 171-185.

Bajard, J., 1966, Figures et structures sédimentaires dans la zone intertidale de la partie orientale de la Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel: Revue de Géographie physique et de Géologie Dynamique, v. 8, p. 39-111.

Bandel, K., 1967, Isopod and limulid marks and trails in Tonganoxie Sandstone (Upper Pennsylvanian) of Kansas: The University of Kansas, Paleontological Contributions, v. 19, p. 1-10. [available online]

Benyon, B. M., and Pemberton, S. G., 1992, Ichnological signature of a brackish water deposit--An example from the Lower Cretaceous Grand Rapids Formation, Cold Lake oil sands area, Alberta; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 199-221.

Bjerstedt, T. W., 1987, Trace fossils indicating estuarine deposystems for the Devonian-Mississippian Cloyd Conglomerate Member, Price Formation, central Appalachians: Palaios, v. 2, p. 339-349.

Bottjer, D. J., and Droser, M. L., 1991, Ichnofabric and basin analysis: Palaios, v. 6, p. 199-205.

Bromley, R. G., 1996, Trace Fossils--Biology, Taphonomy and Applications, 2nd edition: London, Chapman & Hall, 361 p.

Bromley, R. G., and Asgaard, U., 1993, Two bioerosion ichnofacies produced by early and late burial associated with sea-level change: Geologische Rundschau, v. 82, p. 276-280.

Bromley, R. G., and Ekdale, A. A., 1986, Composite ichnofabrics and tiering of burrows: Geological Magazine, v. 123, p. 59-65.

Bromley, R. G., Pemberton, S. G., and Rahmani, R. A., 1984, A Cretaceous woodground--The Teredolites ichnofacies: Journal of Paleontology, v. 58, p. 488-498.

Buatois, L. A., and Mángano, M. G., 1995, The paleoenvironmental and paleoecological significance of the lacustrine Mermia ichnofacies--An archetypical subaqueous nonmarine trace fossil assemblage: Ichnos, v. 4, p. 151-161.

Buatois, L. A., Mángano, M. G., Maples, C. G., and Lanier, W. P., 1997, The paradox of nonmarine ichnofaunas in tidal rhythmites--Integrating sedimentologic and ichnologic data from the late Carboniferous of eastern Kansas, USA: Palaios, v. 12, p. 467-481.

Buatois, L. A., Mángano, M. G., Maples, C. G., and Lanier, W. P.,1998, Ichnology of an Upper Carboniferous fluvio-estuarine paleovalley--The Tonganoxie Sandstone, Buildex Quarry, eastern Kansas: Journal of Paleontology, v. 72, p. 152-180.

Chamberlain, C. K., 1975, Recent lebensspuren in nonmarine aquatic environments; in, The Study of Trace Fossils, R.W. Frey, ed.: New York, Springer-Verlag, p. 431-458.

Dalrymple, R. W., Boyd, R., and Zaitlin, B. A., 1994, History of research, valley types and internal organization of incised-valley systems; in, Incised valley systems--Origin and sedimentary sequences, R. Boyd, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. Dalrymple, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 51, p. 3-10.

Dalrymple, R. W., Makino, Y., and Zaitlin, B. A., 1991, Temporal and spatial patterns of rhythmite deposition on mud flats in the macrotidal Cobequid Bay-Salmon River estuary, Bay of Fundy, Canada; in, Clastic Tidal Sedimentology, D. G. Smith, G. E. Reinson, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. A. Rahmani, eds.: Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 16, p. 137-160.

Dalrymple, R. W., Zaitlin, B. A., and Boyd, R., 1992, Estuarine facies models--Conceptual basis and stratigraphic implications: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 62, p. 1,130-1,146.

Dalrymple, R. W., Knight, R. J., Zaitlin, B. A., and Middleton, G. V., 1990, Dynamics and facies model of a macrotidal sand-bar complex, Cobequid Bay-Salmon River estuary (Bay of Fundy): Sedimentology, v. 37, p. 577-612.

Dorjes, J., and Howard, J. D., 1975, Estuaries of the Georgia coast, U.S.A--Sedimentology and biology, IV--Fluvial-marine transition indicators in an estuarine environment, Ogeeche River--Ossabaw Sound: Senckenbergiana Maritima, v. 7, p. 137-179.

Ekdale, A. A., 1988, Pitfalls of paleobathymetric interpretations based on trace fossil assemblages: Palaios, v. 3, p. 464-472.

Feldman, H. R., Gibling, M. R., Archer, A. W., Wightman, W. G., and Lanier, W. P., 1995, Stratigraphic architecture of the Tonganoxie paleovalley fill (lower Virgilian) in northeastern Kansas: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bulletin 79, p. 1,019-1,043.

Frey, R. W., and Pemberton, S. G., 1987, The Psilonichnus ichnocoenose, and its relationship to adjacent marine and nonmarine ichnocoenoses along the Georgia coast: Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geologists, v. 35, p. 333-357.

Frey, R. W., and Seilacher, A., 1980, Uniformity in marine invertebrate ichnology: Lethaia, v. 13, p. 183-207.

Gibling, M. R., Feldman, H. R., Archer, A. W., and Lanier, W. P., 1993, Sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleoflow patterns of the Tonganoxie Sandstone Member and related strata in northeast Kansas and southwest Missouri; in, Incised Paleovalley of the Douglas Group in northeastern Kansas--Field Guide and Related Contributions, A. W. Archer, H. R. Feldman, and W. P. Lanier, eds.: Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 93-24, p. 3-1 to 3-39.

Greb, S. F., and Chestnut, D. R., Jr., 1994, Paleoecology of an estuarine sequence in the Breathitt Formation (Pennsylvanian), Central Appalachian Basin: Palaios, v. 9, p. 388-402.

Howard, J. D., and Frey, R. W., 1975, Estuaries of the Georgia coast, U.S.A.--Sedimentology and biology, II--Regional animal-sediment characteristics of Georgia estuaries: Senckenbergiana Maritima, v. 7, p. 33-103.

Howard, J. D., Elders, C. A., and Heinbokel, J. F., 1975, Estuaries of the Georgia coast, U.S.A.--Sedimentology and biology, V--Animal-sediment relationships in estuarine point bar deposits, Ogeeche River--Ossabaw Sound, Georgia: Senckenbergiana Maritima, v. 7, p. 181-203.

Hudson, J. D., 1990, Salinity from faunal analysis and geochemistry; in, Palaeobiology--A Synthesis, D. E. G. Briggs and P. R. Crowther, eds.: London, Blackwell Scientific Publications, p. 406-410.

Kvale, E. P., and Barnhill, M. L., 1994, Evolution of Lower Pennsylvanian estuarine facies within two adjacent paleovalleys, Illinois Basin, Indiana; in, Incised valley systems--Origin and sedimentary sequences, R. Boyd, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. Dalrymple, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 51, p. 191-207.

Lanier, W. P., 1993, Bedform sedimentology of the Lonestar Spillway and Buidex Quarry stops; in, Incised Paleovalley of the Douglas Group in northeastern Kansas--Field Guide and Related Contributions, A. W. Archer, H. R. Feldman, and W. P. Lanier, eds.: Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 93-24, p. 4-1 to 4-10.

Lanier, W. P., Feldman, H. P., and Archer, A. W., 1993, Tidal sedimentation from a fluvial to estuarine transition, Douglas Group, Missourian-Virgilian, Kansas: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 63, p. 860-873.

Larsonneur, C., 1989, La Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel--Un modele de sedimentation en zone temperee: Bulletin Institute Géologique Bassin d'Aquitaine, v. 46, p. 5-73.

Larsonneur, C.,1994, The Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel--A sedimentation model in a temperate macrotidal environment: Senckenbergiana Maritima, v. 24, p. 3-63.

Lins, T. W., 1950, Origin and environment of the Tonganoxie Sandstone in northeastern Kansas: Kansas Geological Survey, Bulletin 86, p. 105-140.[available online]

MacEachern, J. A., and Pemberton, S. G., 1994, Ichnological aspects of incised valley fill systems from the Viking Formation of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Alberta, Canada; in, Incised valley systems--Origin and sedimentary sequences, R. Boyd, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. Dalrymple, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 51, p. 129-157.

MacEachern, J. A., Raychaudhuri, I., and Pemberton, S. G., 1992, Stratigraphic applications of the Glossifungites ichnofacies--Delineating discontinuities in the rock record; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 169-198.

Miller, M. F., and Smail, S. E., 1997, A semiquantitative method for evaluating bioturbation on bedding planes: Palaios, v. 12, p. 389-394.

Nichols, M. M., Johnson, G. H., and Peebles, P. C., 1991, Modern sediments and facies model for a microtidal coastal plain estuary, the James estuary, Virginia: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, v. 61, p. 883-899.

Pattison, S. A. J., 1992, Recognition and interpretation of estuarine mudstones (central basin mudstones) in the tripartite valley fill deposits of the Viking Formation, central Alberta; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 223-249.

Pemberton, S. G., and Wightman, D. M., 1992, Ichnological characteristics of brackish water deposits; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 141-167.

Pemberton, S. G., Reinson, G. E., and MacEachern, J. A., 1992, Comparative ichnological analysis of Late Albian estuarine valley-fill and shelf-shoreface deposits, Crystal Viking Field, Alberta; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 291-317.

Pemberton, S. G., Frey, R. W., Ranger, M. J., and MacEachern, J. A., 1992, The conceptual framework of ichnology; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 1-32.

Pickerill, R. K., and Brenchley, P. J., 1991, Benthic macrofossils as paleoenvironmental indicators in marine siliciclastic facies: Geoscience Canada, v. 18, p. 119-138.

Ranger, M. J., and Pemberton, S. G., 1992, The sedimentology and ichnology of estuarine point bars in the McMurray Formation of the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit, northeastern Alberta, Canada; in, Applications of ichnology to petroleum exploration--A core workshop, S. G. Pemberton, ed.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Core Workshop 17, p. 401-421.

Remane, A., and Schlieper, C., 1971, Biology of Brackish Water: New York, John Wiley and Sons, 372 p.

Rindsberg, A. K., 1990, Freshwater to marine trace fossils of the Mary Lee Coal zone and overlying strata (Westphalian A), Pottsville Formation of northern Alabama; in, Carboniferous coastal environments and paleocommunities of the Mary Lee Coal zone, Marion and Walker counties, Alabama, R. A. Gastaldo, T. M. Demko, and Y. Liu, eds.: A guidebook for field trip VI, Southeastern Section, Geological Society of America, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Geological Survey of Alabama, p. 82-95.

Sanders, D. T., 1959, Sandstones of the Douglas and Pedee Groups in northeastern Kansas: Geological Survey of Kansas, Bulletin 134, p. 125-159. [available online]

Seilacher, A., 1967, Bathymetry of trace fossils: Marine Geology, v. 5, p. 413-428.

Tessier, B., Archer, A. W., Lanier, W. P., and Feldman, H. R., 1995, Comparison of ancient tidal rhythmites (Carboniferous of Kansas and Indiana, USA) with modern analogues (the Bay of Mont-Saint Michel, France); in, Tidal signatures in modern and ancient sediments, B. W. Flemming and A. Bartholomä, eds.: International Association of Sedimentologists, Special Publication 24, p. 259-271.

Van Wagoner, J. C., Mitchum, R. M., Campion, K. M., and Rahmanian, V. D., 1990, Siliciclastic sequence stratigraphy in well logs, cores, and outcrops--Concepts for high-resolution correlation of time and facies: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Methods in Exploration Series, v. 7, 55 p.

Wightman, D. M., Pemberton, S. G., and Singh, C., 1987, Depositional modelling of the Upper Mannville (Lower Cretaceous), east-central Alberta--Implications for the recognition of brackish water deposits; in, Reservoir Sedimentology, R. W. Tillman and K. J. Weber, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 40, p. 189-220.

Wolff, W. J., 1983, Estuarine benthos; in, Estuaries and Enclosed Seas--Ecosystems of the World, 26, B. H. Ketchum, ed.: Amsterdam, Elsevier, p. 151-182.

Zaitlin, B. A., Dalrymple, R. W., and Boyd, R., 1994, The stratigraphic organization of incised-valley systems associated with relative sea-level changes; in, Incised valley systems--Origin and sedimentary sequences, R. Boyd, B. A. Zaitlin, and R. Dalrymple, eds.: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 51, p. 45-60.

Downloads

Published

1998-03-19