Silurian-Devonian coral associations across a sequence stratigraphic boundary in the Argentine Precordillera


Correspondence to: M. G. Carrera, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Av. Vélez Sarsfield 299, Córdoba 5000, Argentina. E-mail:,


Silurian and Devonian corals occur abundantly in siliciclastic rocks of the Argentine Precordillera. They are distributed along a Silurian storm-dominated shallow-water platform, a transitional restricted nearshore environment, and a Devonian muddy platform setting. Four main associations of rugose and tabulate corals have been recorded: a Silurian association, a lowermost Devonian and two associations in Lower Devonian rocks. The Silurian shallow-water platform coral association shows abundant colonies of a tabulate pleurodictyform coral. The type and the domical form of corals indicate high-energy environments. The lowermost Devonian coral association shows the abundance of the tabulate coral Argentinella argentina, which could have formed patches in protected low-energy environments. The Lower Devonian coral associations correspond to a muddy platform environment. The first one includes rugose and hemispherical tabulate corals and the second is composed of tabulate corals assigned to Parastriatopora sanjuanina, and Parastriatopora sp. They are long stick-like, fasciculate forms, grouped in apparently life position. Rugose and tabulate corals in the Upper Silurian and Lower Devonian of Argentina constitute low-diversity associations of western Gondwana, developed in mid- to high-latitudes. The morphologies acquired by corals are related to water energy. Laminar or encrusting forms were more competitive in the Silurian shallow-water, high-energy environments. Slender branching forms with a high profile typically inhabited Devonian relatively deeper water or protected settings. The stratigraphic distribution observed partially followed the well- known pattern in which shallow-water faunas disappeared during regressive events and are replaced by new forms in the subsequent transgressive sequence. The turnover pattern detected across the Silurian-Devonian transitional interval is in agreement with that previously recognized on the basis of the accompanying fauna. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.