, 63:18 | Cite as

Lower Ordovician microfacies and microfossils from Cerro San Pedro (San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora, Mexico), as a westernmost outcrop of the newly defined Nuia Province

  • Daniel Vachard
  • Sébastien ClausenEmail author
  • Juan José Palafox
  • Blanca Estela Buitrón
  • Léa Devaere
  • Valentin Hayart
  • Sylvie Régnier
Original Paper


The lowermost carbonate beds of the Cerro San Pedro (San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora State, Mexico) previously assigned to the Mississippian, belong in fact to the lower Ordovician. The limestone of this succession is often dolomitized and chertified, and displays gastropods, pelmatozoans, sponges, and trilobites as major bioclastic components. The different microfacies show that high-energy grainstones, proximal tempestites, and distal tempestites dominated the sedimentation. The paleoenvironments of deposition correspond to an inner ramp, a mid-ramp, and perhaps the upper part of an outer ramp. The strata are characterized by the incertae sedis cyanobacteria Nuia sibirica. A taxonomic revision and discussion of these cyanobacteria, often confused with ooidic grains, is emphasized. Some data are presented on other microfossils, such as primitive, monothalamous foraminifers: Rauserina sp., Vicinesphaera sp., and Neoarchaesphaera sp., leperditicopida and their endolithic microperforations, and primitive chaetetids. Compared to the contemporaneous deposits of the USA, some paleobiological components, e.g., the lithistid siliceous sponges Archaeoscyphia, stromatoporoids? Pulchrilamina, and receptaculacean algae Calathium, are quite rare in the studied section of Sonora, but the predominance of tempestites in the carbonate succession shows that boundstones formed before were systematically eroded and resedimented. The paleogeographic implications are the following: (1) a lower Ordovician intertropical Nuia Province is newly defined in the western part of the lower Ordovician intertropical belt; (2) San Pedro de la Cueva constitutes one of the westernmost outcrops of this new Nuia Province; (3) from Sonora, Nuia extends eastward as far as South China; (4) due to its westernmost paleoposition, San Pedro de la Cueva was frequently affected by tropical storms; and (5) northern lower Ordovician terranes of Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua, and Baja California) are entirely distinct from the southern ones (Oaxaca). The paleopositions and paleogeographic connections of these northern Mexican terranes with Laurentia, Avalonia, and peri-Gondwanan parts of South America, through the Iapetus and Rheic oceans, still remain disputable or unknown.


Lower Ordovician Carbonate tempestites Nuia Province San Pedro de la Cueva Sonora Mexico 



The study was supported by the projects PAPIIT 03-04-48367 of Conacyt and Ecos M13U01 and the grants of the projects NSh-974.2003.5 and MK-723.2004.4. We appreciated the help of Elisabeth Locatelli, Spencer Lucas, Karl Krainer, George Dix and John Repetski. Thanks to the reviewers of this version, Oliver Lehnert and Bruno Granier, for their constructive comments.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GrusonFrance
  2. 2.Université de Lille-Sciences et Technologies, Université Lille 1, UFR Sciences de la Terre, UMR CNRS 8198 Evolution, Ecologie et Paléontologie, Building SN 5Villeneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  3. 3.Departamento de GeologíaUniversidad de SonoraHermosilloMexico
  4. 4.Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Geología, Departamento de Paleontología, Ciudad UniversitariaDelegación CoyoacánMexico

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