GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 311-4
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM


MARTINDALE, Rowan C., Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station C1100, Austin, TX 78712, ABERHAN, Martin, Institut für Paläontologie, Museum für Naturkunde, Invalidenstr. 43, Berlin, 10115, Germany, THEM II, Theodore R., Department of Geosciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, GILL, Benjamin C., Department of Geosciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, CARUTHERS, Andrew, Michigan Geological Survey, Western Michigan University, 1903 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241 and MARROQUÍN, Selva M., Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station c1100, Austin, TX 78712,

In the Early Jurassic, the late Pliensbachian through early Toarcian interval exhibits significant environmental perturbations and extinctions. One of these events in the early Toarcian (~183 Ma) is coincident with an interval of expanded oceanic anoxia and black shale formation, known as the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE). This study documents the macrobenthic community during this interval in a region that has previously received comparably little study: northeast Panthalassa. The benthic community from Ya Ha Tinda (Fernie Formation) in Canada exhibits taxonomic and ecological similarities with black shale deposits from Europe.

At Ya Ha Tinda, the initiation of the T-OAE carbon isotope excursion has a major effect on the biota. The pre-T-OAE community is composed of large epifaunal suspension-feeders (bivalves and brachiopods), lobsters, crinoids, and burrowing organisms represented as trace fossils. At the onset of the isotope excursion, the benthic community experiences wholesale turnover of bivalve and brachiopod genera as well as a significant diminution in body size of the community. The intra-T-OAE community largely consists of opportunistic, low-oxygen tolerant benthic taxa that colonized the seafloor sporadically for short periods with some facultatively pseudoplanktonic taxa. Unlike the contemporary deposits in Europe and the pelagic record in Panthalassa, there is no sign of recovery at Ya Ha Tinda in the middle Toarcian Planulata ammonite zone; abundance, richness, and functional diversity of benthic taxa remain extremely low and the size of the community remains small. The primary stress on this system is interpreted to be oxygen limitation, which persisted longer than in northwest Europe. The benthic record is in stark contrast to the pelagic record suggesting a decoupling of the benthic and pelagic communities in this region during the Early Jurassic.