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A taphonomic approach to the genetic interpretation of clypeasteroid accumulations from the Miocene of Tarragona, NE Spain

Authors

  • ZAIN BELAÚSTEGUI,

  • JAMES H. NEBELSICK,

  • JORDI M. DE GIBERT,

  • ROSA DOMÈNECH,

  • JORDI MARTINELL


Zain Belaústegui [zbelaustegui@ub.edu], Departament d’Estratigrafía, Paleontologia i Geociències Marines, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; James H. Nebelsick [nebelsick@uni-tuebingen.de], Institut für Geowissenschaften, Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstraße 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany; Jordi M. de Gibert [jmdegibert@ub.edu], Departament d’Estratigrafía, Paleontologia i Geociències Marines, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Rosa Domènech [rosa.domenech@ub.edu], Departament d’Estratigrafía, Paleontologia i Geociències Marines, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; Jordi Martinell [jmartinell@ub.edu], Departament d’Estratigrafía, Paleontologia i Geociències Marines, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain; manuscript received on 26/1/2012; manuscript accepted on 23/2/2012.

Abstract

Belaústegui, Z., Nebelsick, J.H., Gibert, J.M. de, Domènech, R. & Martinell, J. 2012: A taphonomic approach to the genetic interpretation of clypeasteroid accumulations from the Miocene of Tarragona, NE Spain. Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 548–565.

Clypeasteroid accumulations are common in Cenozoic shallow marine sediments, particularly in the Neogene, as they are also in analogue modern environments. In this article, four clypeasteroid accumulations from Miocene (Serravallian) shallow marine carbonates of the El Camp de Tarragona Basin (NE Spain) are studied. Two of them are dominated by flat-shaped Parascutella, whereas the other two consist exclusively of bell-shaped Clypeaster. The combination of the taphonomic analysis of the tests, the palaeoecological and taphonomic information provided by the associated fossils, and the stratigraphical and sedimentological context of each one of these beds allows interpreting them as autochthonous/parautochthonous accumulations resulting from in situ reworking in moderate energy settings, except for one that constitutes a true sand dollar coquina deposited by a storm event. This contribution explores the potential of thorough taphonomic analysis of marine invertebrate skeletal concentrations and substantiates the importance of clypeasteroid echinoids as producers of shell beds in the Neogene. Clypeasteroids, Echinoids, Miocene, Taphonomy, Tarragona.

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