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Keywords:

  • Stromatolites;
  • Permian;
  • Paleozoic;
  • Kansas;
  • pseudothrombolitic;
  • algal-foraminiferal;
  • Ottonosia-grade stromatolite;
  • Shermanophycus

Carboniferous to Permian marine stromatolites are widely dispersed across the Pangaean margins and embayments and are typified by the ‘Ottonosia-grade stromatolite’ (designated herein). This stromatolite type consists of a well-laminated oncoid or domical stromatoid that developed into branching, laminated columns in the upper reaches. To develop a model for the global pattern, we investigated Lower Permian stromatolites from Kansas (Howe Limestone Member, Red Eagle Limestone). Stromatoids from the Lyon County locality typify the Ottonosia-grade stromatolites. The laminae are sharp throughout the stromatoid and are defined by an increase in cornuspirid foraminfera and algal filaments. The upper zone of the stromatoid is composed of well-laminated branching and brecciated columns (‘pseudo-thrombolitic’). Coeval stromatolites from a new exposure at the Tuttle Creek Dam spillway possess a more massive mesostructure. These stromatolites are composed of a turbinate stromatoid or oncoid base and an overlying domical stromatoid, and are rimmed by smaller meandering columns. Only the basal stromatoid, oncoids, and upper columns are well laminated. In both localities, the microbial-constructing ecosystem is dominated by cornuspirids and calcifying filamentous algae (?Girvanella). The mesostructural differences of the stromatolites are due to different environments of formation. The Tuttle Creek stromatolites formed in a shallow-subtidal to intertidal open marine setting. The coeval Lyon County stromatolites formed in a semi-restricted, marginal marine environment such as a lagoon or supratidal zone. Based on this information and independent sedimentological data, we conclude that lagoonal or supratidal zones were common features in the late Paleozoic intracratonal zones of the Pangaean supercontinent and account for Ottonosia-grade stromatolites occurring in the Laurentian mid-continent, the Zechstein Basin, Japan, Brazil, and Tunisia.