Stratigraphy and Geological Correlation

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 265–279 | Cite as

Balanoglossites ichnofabrics from the Middle Ordovician Volkhov formation (St. Petersburg Region, Russia)

  • D. KnaustEmail author
  • A. Dronov


The limestone succession of the Middle Ordovician Volkhov Formation in the St. Petersburg region (Russia) exposes numerous horizons with firm- and hardgrounds below omission surfaces, which contain trace fossils attributable to the ichnogenus Balanoglossites Mägdefrau, 1932. Although known from the literature since 75 years, such trace fossils were previously only informally described as “Korrosionsgruben”, “Karandashi”, or ascribed to different ichnotaxa such as Trypanites, Arenicolites and Pseudopolydorites. Owing to their complexity and often high bioturbation density, the morphology of these trace fossils is difficult to capture. Ichnofabrics containing Balanoglossites triadicus were studied in detail from sawn rock faces, broken rock blocks and sectioned slabs, including those from historical buildings in St. Petersburg. Accordingly, different trace-fossil elements can be revealed in dependence on the original substrate consistency, reflecting various stages of lithification: Mineral-stained and Trypanites-perforated hardground surfaces are bioeroded with long elongated grooves which are assigned to the ichnogenus Sulcichnus. Subtle openings lead into the partly lithified limestone where they branch into complex galleries of B. triadicus. They are characterized by J-, U- and Y-shaped shafts and multiply branched tunnels, which gradually continue into the underlying firmground. Other portions of the ichnofabric only exhibit biodeformational structures or the strongly compacted and branched burrow networks Labyrintichnus, which is due to the original soft sediment consistency. Balanoglossites ichnofabrics demarcate certain omission surfaces within the Dikari Limestone and can be traced for more than 300 km, supporting the regional lithostratigraphical correlation. The trace maker of B. triadicus and related trace fossils is interpreted to be a eunicid polychate with the ability to bioerode and burrow the sediment. The studied material from the Ordovician is similar to the Balanoglossites from the type area, the Triassic of Germany, in many respects. B. triadicus is a very common trace fossil in Ordovician and other Palaeozoic rocks of Baltoscandia and North America but so far has been seldom identified as such but instead is commonly confused with Thalassinoides, from which, however, it differs in several aspects.


Balanoglossites triadicus Thalassinoides ichnofabrics borings burrows eunicid polychaetes Middle Ordovician Baltoscandia 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Statoil ASAStavangerNorway
  2. 2.Geological Institute of Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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