Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Biofacies analysis of Hettangian-Sinemurian bivalve/brachiopod associations from the Neuquén Basin (Argentina)

Susana Ester Demborenea, Miguel Óscar Manceñido


Based upon extensive sampling with strict stratigraphical control on Hettangian and Sinemurian deposits cropping out at the river Atuel region (southwest Mendoza Province), the presence of all bivalve and brachiopod genera was recorded. Data gathered from the analysed interval were processed by multivariate analysis and the resulting Q-mode dendrogram was used to discriminate five associations (i.e. Entolium-limoids, Pholadomya-Pinna-Pleuromya, Weyla-Gryphaea, Lywea and Cardinioides). These are not in simple stratigraphical succession but are recurrent, reflecting palaeosynecological and biofacies influences. The palaeoenvironmental implications of these associations are analysed, as well as their geographical and stratigraphical distributions in the studied sections (Arroyo Malo, El Pedrero and Las Chilcas). The Cardinioides association is controlled by palaeosalinity and corresponds to a paralic/estuarine environment, of restricted geographical and stratigraphical distribution, whereas the remaining associations correspond to normal marine shelf to littoral environments. The Lywea association is interpreted as allochthonous and probably an impoverished subset derived from the diverse Weyla-Gryphaea association. On the basis of the palaeoautecological characteristics of the taxa involved in terms of guilds represented in these benthonic associations, it is concluded that most of the associations were dominated by the epifauna, whereas in the Pholadomya-Pinna-Pleuromya association the infauna and semi-infauna were particularly conspicuous and diverse, and the Cardinioides association was characterized by shallow infauna. Typical basinal biofacies from deeper, off-shore environments, and fresh-water biofacies, are both missing.

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