TRIASSIC INSECT REMAINS FROM THE VIRGINIA SOLITE QUARRY - HOW FAR DID THEY SINK?
Most researchers have interpreted the fossiliferous deposits from the Solite Quarry in terms of Van Houten cyclicity. The black well-laminated sediments containing the insects and soft body fossils are typically considered to have been buried under anoxic conditions in a deep water environment. However, data recently collected from the Solite Quarry has been used to suggest an alternative depositional model where the insects were buried in a shallow, littoral environment; one that might have been inhospitable to many aquatic life forms.
Here we conduct a preliminary assessment of the nature and distribution of the fossils, particularly the plants and insects, to determine whether the taphonomy can provide any further insight into the depositional environment. In particular, the prevalence of coleopterans, abundant belostomatid instars, and completeness of smaller taxa suggest near-shore affinities for the insect assemblage. The preservation of vertebrates likewise indicates an absence of current, but not necessarily deep conditions, especially as fish are comparatively rare and small.