Trace-fossil suites and composite ichnofabrics from meandering fluvial systems: The Oligocene Lower Freshwater Molasse of Switzerland

Buatois, Luis A. and Wetzel, Andreas and Mángano, Gabriela M.. (2020) Trace-fossil suites and composite ichnofabrics from meandering fluvial systems: The Oligocene Lower Freshwater Molasse of Switzerland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 558. p. 109944.

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/79048/

Downloads: Statistics Overview


The Oligocene Lower Freshwater Molasse of Switzerland is host to spectacular outcrops of fluvial deposits. In distal areas of the Swiss Molasse Basin, deposits of a north-eastward draining meandering system are exposed. Combined sedimentologic and ichnologic observations in the Chli Sunnhalde and Roggwil quarries allow an improved understanding of animal-substrate interactions in deposits of meandering fluvial systems. Strata include meander-belt sandstone, levee sandstone and mudstone, crevasse-channel and splay sandstone, floodplain mudstone and sandstone, and paleosols. While the meander belt and the more proximal crevasse-channel deposits are typically unbioturbated, the more distal deposits show a clear biogenic overprint, with distal crevassechannel, crevasse-splay, and floodplain deposits being intensely bioturbated. Simple grazing and locomotion trails (included in the Cochlichnus anguineus-Helminthoidichnites tenuis suite) were formed subaqueously in ponded areas of the floodplain. Meniscate burrows ( Taenidium isp. suite) and root trace fossils occur along the margin of these floodplain water-bodies and at the top of crevasse-splay deposits. Some of the floodplain, crevasse-splay, and crevasse-channel deposits are pervasively bioturbated by crayfish burrows ( Camborygma litonomos suite). Crevasse-splay deposits locally host escape trace fossils. Where cross-cutting relationships are apparent, a colonization sequence can be established as follows: the Cochlichnus anguineus-Helminthoidichnites tenuis suite is cross-cut by the Taenidium isp. suite, which in turn is cross-cut by the Camborygma litonomos suite and root trace fossils. Composite ichnofabrics are common in these meandering river deposits, recording progressive lowering of the water table in overbank subenvironments. Frequency of depositional events was a first-order control on degree of bioturbation. Position of the water table and degree of substrate consolidation exerted considerable influence over the types of trace fossils produced. Distinct bioturbation phases may result in the formation of different trace-fossil suites - representative of disparate ichnofacies - preserved on a single bedding plane. This study further supports the notion that meandering fluvial systems are characterized by trace-fossil suites belonging to the Scoyenia, Camborygma and/or Mermia ichnofacies.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Sedimentology (Wetzel)
UniBasel Contributors:Wetzel, Andreas
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Identification Number:
Last Modified:24 Nov 2020 08:58
Deposited On:24 Nov 2020 08:58

Repository Staff Only: item control page