Palaeoenvironmental aspects of Late Ordovician Sericoidea shell concentrations in an impact crater, Tvären, Sweden




Åsa M. Frisk [], Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden; David A. T. Harper [], Natural History Museum of Denmark, Øster Voldgade 5-7, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark; manuscript received on 08/04/2010; manuscript accepted on 16/08/2010.


Frisk, Å.M. & Harper, D.A.T. 2010: Palaeoenvironmental aspects of Late Ordovician Sericoidea shell concentrations in an impact crater, Tvären, Sweden. Lethaia, Vol. 44, pp. 383–396.

Numerous studies have reported the presence of the small, thin-shelled cosmopolitan rhynchonelliformean Sericoidea as being environmentally controlled and, together with its close relatives, characteristic of deep-water, distal, clastic Ordovician and Silurian settings. Assemblages of Sericoidea have been analysed from post-impact strata in a newly formed Late Ordovician impact crater. In the crater succession, colonization of benthic faunas can be monitored through the post-impact limestone, demonstrating a number of environmental preferences. Consequently, the crater, as a result of its restricted area, provides an experimental arena for faunal distributions to be correlated with specific environments. The continuous infilling of the crater following its formation reveals a transition from argillaceous mudstones to carbonates deposited in deeper-water environments to shallower regimes. Rhynchonelliformean brachiopods inhabited the crater depression very late after the impact and are entirely represented by the genus Sericoidea, occurring abundantly in the upper third of the existing crater infill. The deep-water regime that existed in the depression during the initial interval of crater formation had been substantially reduced. Clearly Sericoidea-bearing associations associated with shaly substrates did not merely favour and occupy deep-water environments as previously suggested. The unfavourable conditions triggered by the impact and the inhospitable aftermath allowed Sericoidea to exploit a less-crowded ecospace. This reorganization, following the catastrophe, from a deep-water related ecological niche to considerable shallower settings suggests that Sericoidea was a pioneer colonist displaying an opportunist r-strategy. The shell beds analysed are related to shallower water and this may, moreover, help unravel the dilemma of the general absence of Sericoidea in the deeper-water Foliomena fauna. □Dalby Limestone, impact crater, Late Ordovician, opportunists, Sericoidea, Tvären.