Cambrian-Ordovician Boundary in the Taconic Allochthon, Eastern New York, and Its Interregional Correlation

TitleCambrian-Ordovician Boundary in the Taconic Allochthon, Eastern New York, and Its Interregional Correlation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsLanding, E
JournalJournal of Paleontology
KeywordsCambrian--Ordovician boundary, conodonts, continental slope facies, dendroid graptolites, Taconic allochthon
Cambrian--Ordovician boundary interval dendroid graptolites and conodonts occur in continental slope facies in the Taconic allochthon. The upper part of the Hatch Hill Formation has lowest Ordovician (lowest Tremadocian) nematophorous dendroid and lower Fauna B-aspect conodont assemblages with Cordylodus caseyi (emend.) and Iapetognathus preaengensis. Comparable dendroid-conodont faunas occur in Baltoscandia, northeastern China, and western Newfoundland; this suggests that no diachroneity can be demonstrated between the lowest occurrences of Rhabdinopora flabelliformis in a number of faunal provinces. A practical and correlatable Cambrian--Ordovician boundary stratotype horizon defined by the lowest occurrence of a Rhabdinopora flabelliformis assemblage within an interval with lower Fauna B-aspect conodonts is advocated. A biostratigraphic horizon defined by conodonts has far less utility due to strong lithofacies-conodont biofacies linkages, unresolved problems with the species-level taxonomy of cordylodans, and possible diachronous first-appearances of Cordylodus species. Because the areally most extensive Cambrian--Ordovician boundary sequences are siliciclastic-dominated (Avalonian, Baltoscandian, Gondwanan-Hercynian platforms and shale-dominated slope sequences), the lowest local occurrence of R. flabelliformis assemblages provides a practical and traditional definition for the base of the Ordovician System and Tremadocian Series in regions where conodonts are rare or recoverable only with difficulty. Strata correlative with the Cambrian--Tremadocian boundary interval are not represented across most of Laurentia. In this region, the "Sauk III Subsequence" locally has an important unconformity within it, and lower Tremadocian-equivalent rocks can unconformably overlie units as low as the Proterozoic. The earliest Ordovician featured a relatively simple eustatic history characterized by an "early Tremadocian onlap"; no compelling evidence supports a eustatic fall-rise couplet, or "Black Mountain eustatic event," in this interval. Available stratigraphic information is reinterpreted to demonstrate an initially slow and subsequently higher rate of continued sea level rise in the Cambrian--Ordovician boundary interval.