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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Bulletin


Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology
Vol. 33 (1985), No. 1. (March), Pages 72-115

Biogenic Structures in Outcrops and Cores. I. Approaches to Ichnology

Robert W. Frey, S. George Pemberton


Fossilized traces, or trace fossils (= ichnofossils), are difficult to identify and classify phylogenetically but can be assigned relatively easily to various taxonomical, behavioural, preservational, and environmental categories. Analyses of these aspects of trace fossils, in turn, can yield information that is invaluable in sedimentary geology.

The most significant contributions of trace fossils have been in paleoecology, sedimentology, and environmental reconstruction, including recognition of local and regional-temporal facies changes, patterns of bioturbation, and documentation of individual paleoecological parameters. Trace fossils are potential indicators of bathymetry, currents, food supplies, aeration, rate of deposition, depositional history, and substrate stability; to some extent, they may also be useful in establishing ancient temperature and salinity regimes.



Les empreintes fossiles (i.e., ichnofossiles), sont difficiles a identifier et a classifier pylogenetiquement mais peuvent etre assignes relativement aisement aux differentes categories taxonomiques, de compartement biologique, de preservation et de milieux de deposition. Les analyses de ces aspects des empreintes fossils generent, a leur tour, de l'information tres importante pour le domaine de la sedimentologie.

Les contributions les plus significatives des empreintes fossiles ont ete dans les secteurs de la paleoecologie, de la sedimentologie, de la reconstruction de l'environnement, incluant l'identification des changements locaux de facies, des reseaux de bioturbation, et de la documentation des parametres individuelles paleoecologiques. Les empreintes fossiles sont des indicateur potentiels de bathymetrie, de courants, de source d'approvisionnement de nutrients, d'aeration, de taux de deposition, de l'histoire de la deposition et de la stabilite des couches inferieures; jusqu'a un certain point, elles peuvent etre aussi utiles dans la determination de paleotemperatures et des paleosalinites des regimes anciens.

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