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Earth and Life pp 677-703 | Cite as

The Late Middle Devonian (Givetian) Global Taghanic Biocrisis in Its Type Area (Northern Appalachian Basin): Geologically Rapid Faunal Transitions Driven by Global and Local Environmental Changes

  • James J. ZambitoIVEmail author
  • Carlton E. Brett
  • Gordon C. Baird
Part of the International Year of Planet Earth book series (IYPE)

Abstract

The late Middle Devonian ‘Taghanic (Pharciceras) Event’ was originally named by Michael House for goniatite turnovers in the New York Appalachian Basin during deposition of the Tully Limestone; subsequently, it has been associated with the extinction of most of the long-lasting ‘Hamilton Fauna’ in this region. Stratigraphic and paleoecologic research in the type area has revealed at least three main faunal transitions, recognized as discrete bioevents: (1) replacement of much of the endemic ‘Hamilton Fauna’ (a subset of the Eastern Americas Realm) with the previously equatorial ‘Tully Fauna’ (a subset of the Old World Realm); (2) subsequent extermination of most of the ‘Tully Fauna’ and recurrence of the ‘Hamilton Fauna’, coincident with the eustatic sea-level rise termed the ‘Taghanic Onlap’; and (3) extinction of much of the ‘Hamilton Fauna’ and return of some ‘Tully’ taxa along with a further incursion of Old World Realm taxa during continued rise in global sea level. The Taghanic Biocrisis is currently recognized globally as a series of pulsed biotic transitions and extinctions, ultimately resulting in an end to previous faunal provinciality and appearance of a global cosmopolitan fauna. We review the current knowledge of these faunal transitions in the type area with respect to geologically rapid global and local environmental changes observed using a high-resolution stratigraphic framework across the entire onshore-offshore environmental gradient. Globally recognized environmental changes, specifically temperature increases, changes between arid and humid intervals, rapid sea-level fluctuations, and widespread black shale deposition account for the faunal transitions discriminated in the type area, but only in the context of regional basin dynamics associated with basin morphology and the degree to which estuarine-type watermass circulation patterns were operating, resulting in salinity variation as a dominant control on faunal distribution. Herein, we outline the interplay between global and local environmental changes that served as driving forces behind the local incursions and extinctions, including the demise of the long-stable ‘Hamilton Fauna’.

Keywords

New York Hamilton group Tully formation Genesee group Geneseo formation Taghanic Biocrisis Subevents Recurrent faunas Extinctions Faunal transitions Eustasy 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the editor, John Talent, for his patience with us in getting this manuscript completed. Comments by reviewers R. Feist and A. Simpson greatly enhanced the readability of the manuscript and conveyance of ideas therein. Various discussions with RT Becker and JEA Marshall greatly improved our understanding of the Taghanic Biocrisis at a global scale in both marine and terrestrial settings. We are also indebted to TJ Algeo for greatly enhancing our understanding of carbonate depositional environments and watermass circulation models. Our research into the type area of the Taghanic Biocrisis was supported at various times by student grants to JJZ from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the American Museum of Natural History, the Evolving Earth Foundation, the Geological Society of America, the Mid America Paleontological Society, the Paleontological Society, the Schuchert and Dunbar Grants In Aid Program at the Yale Peabody Museum, Sigma Xi, the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and the University of Cincinnati, Department of Geology. CEB has been supported by NSF EAR 9219807, EAR 9996178, and the USGS STATEMAP program. GCB has been supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Natural Resources (Geological Survey).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • James J. ZambitoIV
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carlton E. Brett
    • 2
  • Gordon C. Baird
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Atmospheric SciencesCentral Michigan UniversityMt. PleasantUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesSUNY College at FredoniaFredoniaUSA

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