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Proposal of a reference section and point for the Cambrian Series 2–3 boundary in the Mediterranean subprovince in Murero (NE Spain) and its intercontinental correlation


Correspondence to: R. Gozalo, Departamento de Geología, Universitat de València, C/ Dr. Moliner, 50, E-46100 Burjassot, Spain. E-mail:


The classical lower-middle Cambrian boundary is approximately equivalent with the boundary of the Cambrian Series 2 and 3, which is now in the process of definition by the International Subcommission on Cambrian Stratigraphy. Currently, there are two oryctocephalid trilobite species first appearance data (FAD) that are suggested as possible markers of this level: Ovatoryctocara granulata Tchernysheva, 1962 and Oryctocephalus indicus (Reed, 1910), respectively. Until now neither of these two species has been recorded in the Mediterranean subprovince or Baltica. As a result, in these regions a level potentially correlating with either the FAD of Ovatoryctocara granulata or Oryctocephalus indicus has to be located using the available bio-, isotope-, and event-stratigraphy data.

Carbon isotope signatures reveal global oceanic perturbations adjacent to the Cambrian Series 2 and Series 3 (former lower-middle Cambrian) boundary. This event, first called the Valdemiedes Event (it was defined in Murero, NE Spain; Liñán et al., 1993a), caused a noticeable extinction of trilobites, mostly olenellids and protolenids (which were replaced in some regions by paradoxidids), as well as an almost complete extermination of some other early Cambrian marine animals. Both isotope and palaeontological evidence show that the disappearance of olenellids in Laurentia, protolenids in Siberia and the appearance of the first Acadoparadoxides in Western Gondwana, Baltica, Avalonia, and Siberia, which was formerly thought to be a series of diachronous regional perturbations, were nearly contemporaneous events. Features of a global ecological crisis and faunal replacement being taken together with a pronounced global δ13Corg negative excursion would serve as the best indicator of the lower boundary of the Cambrian Series 3 and Stage 5 in the Mediterranean subprovince and is correlatable with the Ovatoryctocara granulata FAD. Another δ13Corg negative excursion followed by a positive shift occurs at a slightly younger level, which coincides with a transgression maximum and roughly is coeval with the Oryctocephalus indicus FAD, also proposed as a possible base of the Cambrian Series 3. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.