Lower-Middle Devonian rugose coral faunas of Nevada: Contribution to an understanding of the "barren" E Zone and Choteč Event in the Great Basin

 

Authors: Pedder AEH

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 85, issue 1; pages: 1 - 26; Received 4 December 2009; Accepted in revised form 12 February 2010; Online 15 March 2010

Keywords: Nevada, Devonian, corals, biozones, Choteč Event,

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Abstract

The "lower Middle Devonian" part of a coral zonation proposed for the region in 1974 comprised in ascending order D2 and D3 subzones and a "barren" E zone. In terms of the conodont zonation currently employed in Nevada, the D2 subzone is Emsian gronbergi and inversus zones. The original stratigraphic definition of the D3 subzone places it in the upper Emsian serotinus Zone on Lone Mountain, whereas the coral index defining the zone has been collected subsequently only from Eifelian upper costatus Zone beds. The original stratigraphic definition of the "barren" E zone places it in a lower part of the costatus Zone, above an inferred depositional break. Thus, as defined on Lone Mountain, the D3 subzone is slightly younger than the E zone. These zones are not barren. Revised taxonomy and age determinations of previously described species, coupled with new data from the southern Sulphur Spring and northern Antelope ranges, have revealed four successive coral assemblages ranging from serotinus to costatus Zone age. Differences between the second and third of these assemblages are particularly significant, and may be considered to represent a local manifestation of the Choteč Event. A detailed review of the genusSynaptophyllum shows it to be an Emsian endemic in the Maghrebo-European Realm, not an early Eifelian endemic in the Eastern Americas Realm. New taxa comprise a family, one genus and two species. Romanophyllum paulyi gen. et sp. nov., which possibly represents one of the last vestiges of the Pragian-Emsian Great Basin coral province, is assigned to the Romanophyllidae fam. n. Xystriphyllum trojani sp. nov. is described as an example of one of earliest ptenophyllid species to return to the Great Basin after the absence of the family from the region since late Lochkovian time.

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