Benthic palaeoecology of the Late Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay by Paul Wignall

By Paul Wignall

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Mudstones and shales of the eudoxus Zone are unconformably overlain by the laterally extensive Wheatley Nodule Clays of the upper wheatleyensis Zone (text-fig. 40). In turn, the clays are unconformably overlain by the Shotover Fine Sands in the west of the region, although they may be absent at Thame in the east (text-fig. 40). The precise age of the Fine Sands is uncertain. Cope (1978, p. 530) thought that they may belong to the early pectinatus Zone (although he failed to illustrate them in Cope, 1980, fig.

Further west, along the Dorset coast at Ringstead Bay (text-fig. 1), a series of weathered exposures illustrates a highly condensed sequence lying on the Purbeck-Isle of Wight fault system (Cox and Gallois 1981). The condensation is achieved by a general thinning of the beds without the development of any major hiatuses; thus the section is as complete as that seen at Kimmeridge Bay, although markedly different facies are developed in the lowest zones. During the cymodoce Zone a limonitic-oolitic sandstone, the Abbotsbury Ironstone, developed on the Purbeck-Isle of Wight fault system in the most westerly outcrops of Dorset (text-fig.

Latissima is one of the few species to occur in dysaerobic but not in aerobic associations. This suggests that it was specifically adapted to low oxygen environments in contrast to the majority of non-specialized opportunistic species in the dysaerobic associations. It may have browsed on bacterial mats which are known from other dysaerobic environments (Williams 1984). Such mats may be formed from non-photosynthetic bacteria and their presence need not constrain the depositional environment to within the photic zone.

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