Paper No. 338-4
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM
EXPLORING THE EDIACARAN BIOTA OF THE DIGERMULEN PENINSULA, NORTHERN NORWAY
The Digermulen Peninsula in northern Norway is the only locality that has yielded Ediacara-type fossils in Scandinavia. The Peninsula exhibits an Ediacaran to Lower Ordovician succession consisting of roughly 3000 m of siliciclastic deposits formed in a foreland basin marginal to Baltica. In 2011 a restudy of the Ediacaran deposits (1000 m thick) was launched resulting in new finds that promise to establish the Digermulen Peninsula as a significant new Ediacaran biota locality. First described in the 1990´s the assemblage is dominated by medusoid-type fossils, such as Cyclomedusa, Ediacaria?, Beltanella and Nimbia? now possibly reinterpreted as taphomorphs of the broadly defined Aspidella as exemplified by the Fermeuse assemblage in Newfoundland. Previous field seasons have produced abundant new material of discoidal forms (tentatively Aspidella), the lowest in stratigraphic proximity to the glacial Mortensnes diamictite (tentatively c. 580 Ma). Recent fieldwork during the summer of 2015 yielded the first specimen of a multi-vaned Ediacara-type fossil from the Innerelva Member of the Stáhpogiedde Formation not far from where the first discoidal fossils were found in the 90´s. Reconstructed to reach approximately 7.5 – 8 cm above the sediment surface this organism appears to have a roughly spherical shape with three or more vanes, but more detailed study is needed. We know little of the holdfast structure but it appears to possess a generalized Aspidella-like morphology, emphasizing the variety of organisms that may have had very similar holdfasts. In addition to Aspidella sp., well-preserved Hiemalora are present in these beds. Another important find are several specimens of Palaeopascichnus from near the base of the Innerelva Member making them the oldest non-stromatolite macroscopic fossils in Scandinavia. Future work for the Digermulen Early Life Research Group will focus on extensive excavation and sampling of this important interval to increase the understanding of the Ediacaran record on the Peninsula.