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Journal of Paleontology


ABSTRACT-Trace fossils, well preserved and in full relief, are present in Pleistocene calcarenites of subtidal, beach, and dune facies on San Salvador, Bahamas. Most prominent are irregular boxworks of Ophiomorpha sp. that occur in current-bedded, medium to coarse skeletal calcarenites in association with fossil coral reefs in the subtidal facies. Ophiomorpha sp. also occurs in beds deposited in a tidal delta environment. Found with Ophiomorpha sp., often in abundance, are vertical burrow tubes assigned to Skolithos linearis. Trace fossils are absent from beds of the lower beach facies, but upper beach facies beds (backshore zone) contain distinctive Y-shaped crab burrows, attributed to the burrowing activity of the ghost crab Ocypode quadrata. Rhizocretions formed of calcrete and initiated by plant root systems are present in all facies and are particularly well developed in eolianites of the dune facies. In some cases rhizocretions easily can be confused with trace fossils of invertebrate origin, particularly Ophiomorpha sp. Criteria for distinguishing Ophiomorpha sp. from rhizocretions include: 1) Ophiomorpha sp. burrows have a uniform lining and consistent diameter; rhizocretions are irregular with respect to lining and diameter. 2) The interior surface of an Ophiomorpha sp. burrow is smooth and the exterior surface distinctly mammillated; rhizocretions have highly variable interior and exterior surfaces. 3) Ophiomorpha sp. complexes have much more consistent patterns of shaft/tunnel arrangement than those exhibited by rhizocretion systems. Modem carbonate environments of San Salvador exhibit much trace- making activity and contain analogs for the Pleistocene trace fossils. The implications of these analogs for further interpretation of the trace fossils and their associated paleoenvironments are examined with respect to each trace fossil.





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License


©1984, The Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists and The Paleontological Society


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