Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Earliest Pragian (Early Devonian) corals and stromatoporoids from reefal settings in the Cantabrian Zone (N Spain)

Esperanza Fernández Martínez, Luis Pedro Fernández González, Isabel Méndez Bedia, Francisco Soto, Bruno Mistiaen


The oldest reefal episode in the Cantabrian Zone (earliest Pragian) consists of small biostromal patch reefs, mainly
built by corals and stromatoporoids, and developed on a storm-dominated ramp. Four outcrops provide the stratigraphic framework in which these reef facies developed, and these permitted an interpretation of their depositional setting in terms of a relatively distal or protected shelf. We systematically describe three species of rugose corals, five species of tabulate corals, and six species of stromatoporoids. This fauna is allocated to three Pragian fossil associations. Association 1 is mainly composed of massive tabulate corals and stromatoporoids. Association 2 contains dominant branching rugose and tabulate corals. Finally, association 3 is represented by tiny massive tabulate corals. Each association occurs at a specific location within a framework of high-frequency deepening upward cycles, being related to a specific depositional setting. This mode of occurrence suggests that their development was tuned by relative base-level oscillations, forming during rises that took the sea-bottom to relatively deep or sheltered conditions, with rare reworking by storm-related currents. Finally, a comparison of this reefal fauna with examples of similar age from elsewhere is presented in order to explore their affinities.

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