The Cambrian stratigraphic succession of the Pyrenees (SW Europe) has undergone a complex Variscan and Alpine tectonothermal history leading to marked metamorphism and development of cleavage networks, which might partly explain the lack of Cambrian fossiliferous beds. This gap has traditionally precluded its paleobiogeographic and biostratigraphic relationships with other neighboring peri-Gondwanan units. Correlations are only based on lithostratigraphic comparisons and radiometric constraints. In this general scheme, the Terrades inlier (Gerona Province, Spain) provides the only significant and indisputable ‘early Cambrian’ fossil record of the Pyrenees. This predominantly siliciclastic outcrop consists of multiple patch reefs and bioherms having yielded archeocyaths dated at Cambrian Epoch 2, Age 3. This paper describes, for the first time, the microfossil assemblage included in the archeocyathan-microbial reefal complex that crops out in the Terrades inlier to clarify its age and affinities with surrounding tectonostratigraphic units. Reefal flanks of patch reefs have yielded bradoriids, brachiopods, molluscs, tommotiids, chancelloriids, hyoliths, and the problematic fossil (and chronostratigraphically significant) Rhombocorniculum cancellatum Cobbold, 1921. In addition to confirming the previously assigned age of the succession, the recovered fauna emphasizes strong affinities with the surrounding Occitan Domain (Montagne Noire, southern Massif Central, France) and Sardinia (Italy). Along with lithostratigraphic comparison and tectonic considerations, this further supports the recent reconstructions positioning the Pyrenean domain between the Montagne Noire (to the southwest) and Sardinia (further to the northeast) on the Gondwana margin during Cambrian times.
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6 June 2022
Cambrian Age 3 small shelly fossils from the Terrades inlier, southern Pyrenees, Spain: Biostratigraphic and paleobiogeographic implications
J. Javier Álvaro,
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 96 • No. 3
Vol. 96 • No. 3