Eustatic trends in conodont diversity across the Frasnian–Famennian boundary in the stratotype area, Montagne Noire, Southern France



Trends in generic diversity of successive conodont communities are analysed in sections of different environmental settings across the Frasnian–Famennian (F–F) boundary in the stratotype area, Montagne Noire, France. The evolution of conodont biofacies and abundances matches the overall pattern already observed in many sections elsewhere in the world and supports the interpretation of an important eustatic sea-level fall during the Upper Kellwasser event. The change from late Frasnian deep-water palmatolepid–polygnathid biofacies to shallower-water polygnathid-icriodid biofacies during the Upper Kellwasser event occurred in all sections studied. The shallowing trend culminated at the end of the Kellwasser Event as indicated by the substantial increase of formerly poorly represented icriodids, whereas palmatolepids concomi-tantly diminished. This event occurred earlier on oxygenated outer platform submarine rises than in oxygen-depleted depressions. The sudden sea-level fall prior to the Frasnian–Famennian boundary was followed, at the beginning of the Famennian, by a deepening trend when palmatolepids dominated again. These changes in conodont generic associations and abundances occurred rapidly and synchronously. As a result, the stratigraphic resolution obtained with the evolution of biofacies is higher: it permits not only a more accurate location of the base of the Upper Kellwasser event in environments where it cannot be distinguished lithologically, but it also allows the recognition of intrazonal gaps.