Pleistocene and Holocene carbonate grainstones or calcarenites capping the islands of the Bahamas commonly contain distinctive animal and/or plant trace fossils. Three ichnocoenoses within the Skolithos and Psilonichnus ichnofacies are recognized in the transition from sediments deposited in the shallow shelf environment, commonly associated with coral reefs, to sediments of the coastal dune environment. Analog relationships between the trace fossils and modern tracemakers can be established in many cases, and this correspondence strengthens the interpretive model. Ophiomorpha
and Skolithos linearis characterize beds deposited in shallow shelf settings. Psilonich- nus upsilon, the fossil burrow of the ghost crab Ocypode quadrata, marks beds deposited in the upper foreshore- backshore environment and has particular utility as an indicator of sea-level position. A diverse ichnocoenosis consisting of Skolithos linearis, a large cluster burrow, small, irregular burrows, and plant trace fossils formed along bedding planes characterizes beds of the dunal environment. The ichnologic model developed herein for recognition of depositional zones in the transition from shallow subtidal to dune environments in the tropical, carbonate coastal settings of the Bahamas should be applicable to other geologically similar settings around the world.
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©1991, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)
Curran, H. Allen and White, Brian, "Trace Fossils of Shallow Subtidal to Dunal Ichnofacies in Bahamian Quaternary Carbonates" (1991). Geosciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.