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Paleoecologic, temporal, and spatial analysis of early Silurian Reefs of the Chicotte Formation, Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada

Summary

Reefs of the Lower Silurian Chicotte Formation are the largest and most faunally diverse known on Anticosti Island, Quebec. They reach up to 25 m in thickness and 250 m in diameter and are present predominantly at two intervals, forming a lower and upper reef cluster. Remnants of bioherms are represented on the present-day wave-cut terrace as 60 to 100 m diameter, subcircular erosional depressions known as Philip structures or as outcrop.

The bioherms were relatively low structures, with approximately 3 to 5 m maximum synoptic relief, some of which developed on hardgrounds and possible paleokarst surfaces of crinoidal wackestone and packstone. Dominant skeletal framework builders and sediment producers within all of the reefs are laminar to low domical stromatoporoids, colonial cerioid and fasciculate rugose corals, colonial tabulate corals, and cryptostome bryozoans. Vertical zonation of reef biota is evident within well-exposed reefs of the lower reef cluster. Three to four stages are recognizable:1) a low-diversity tabulate coral-dominatedpioneering community including large tabulate coral colonies (halysitids and favositids), and few stromatoporoids (clathrodictyids, ecclimadictyids), fasciculate rugosans, large generally monotypic stalked crinoids, and shelly benthos (brachiopods, few ostracodes and trilobites);2) an intermediate- to high-diversity, mixed tabulate coral-stromatoporoid-dominatedreef-core community;3) a slightly lower diversity stromatoporoid-tabulate coral-dominatedclimax community with laminar coenitids and alveolitids; and,4) in a few localities, a capping, low-diversity tabulatecoral-dominated (alveolitid and coenitid), and stromatoporoid-bearing community comprising laminar forms.

Amelioration of Early Silurian climates, following Late Ordovician glaciation, allowed gradual reestablishment of extensive shallow-water reef growth, by mainly new and increasingly diverse genera and species of metazoans. Reef development within the Chicotte Formation coincided with global, widespread development of latest Llandovery and earliest Wenlock reefs in subtropical to tropical areas. Chicotte reefs have broad characteristics, in terms of overall biotic composition, vertical successions recognized, and paleogeographic setting, similar to those of equivalent and slightly younger age from intracratonic settings in Baltica (Gotland, Sweden and Estonia) and central and northern Laurentia (Midcontinent, U.S.A.; Hudson Bay, Canada; and North Greenland, Denmark).

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Brunton, F.R., Copper, P. Paleoecologic, temporal, and spatial analysis of early Silurian Reefs of the Chicotte Formation, Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada. Facies 31, 57–79 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02536933

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Keywords

  • Anticosti carbonate ramp
  • Reefs
  • Reef distribution and comparisons
  • Paleoecology
  • Skeletal growth forms
  • Paleoenvironments
  • Paleogeography
  • Sea level fluctuations
  • Episodic sedimentation
  • Storm deposits and events
  • Crinoid shoals
  • Hardgrounds
  • Paleokarst
  • Anticosti Island (Quebec, Canada)
  • Silurian (Llandovery, Wenlock)