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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 56 (1972)

Issue: 10. (October)

First Page: 1984

Last Page: 1999

Title: Permian Tethys and Indian Ocean

Author(s): Maurice Kamen-Kaye (2)


Data on the classification, characteristic paleontology, and salient features of the Permian System are applied to construction of a paleogeography for Tethys and associated marine waters during the Sakmarian Stage (sensu lato) of Early Permian time and the Guadalupian Stage of Late Permian time. The paleogeographic reconstructions are made on the assumption that the land masses of Permian time were situated approximately as they are at present. The marine waters of Permian Tethys then would have constituted a latitudinal link between major oceans. Tethys would have reached an Atlantic Ocean on the west and would have reached broad marine incursive waters coming from a Pacific Ocean on the east. However, if the lands of Permian time were in a massed "pre-drift" configurat on, Tethys would have been not a link but only an intercontinental inlet. Other waters would have merged into a single encircling ocean.

A Later Permian precursor of the Indian Ocean is possible only on a nondrift concept and could have connected with Tethyan waters through a relatively narrow gap between Arabia and India. A land bridge across this gap would be equally consistent with the available faunal evidence. South of the gap or the land bridge, the Indian Ocean of Late Permian time would have been substantially as broad as the present ocean. In contrast the "Indian Ocean" of a selected Late Permian pre-drift configuration would be reduced to an inlet comparable perhaps with that of pre-drift Tethys. Consideration of fauna alone not be capable of producing a unique answer to the question of geometry and geography of lands and seas during Late Permian time in and around the area of the present Indian Ocean.



The final objective of this study is the illustration of alternative explanations of Late Permian paleogeography in the area now covered by the Indian Ocean. However, several intermediate subjects are treated en route. First is the Permian System itself. For this purpose I have reviewed the initial concept of the Permian System, subsequent expansion of the initial concept, varieties of classification, and general paleontology of the system. All geologic systems are important, but the Permian System would seem to justify considerable attention as a marker of the end of a great sedimentary era in geologic history (Paleozoic). The Permian also was a marker of a time of profound biologic and biogeographic change. In terms of the theory of continental drift, Permian time was also a marker f the end of a great geographic era. According to current versions of the theory, Permian time would mark the end of massing of the land areas in a "pre-drift" configuration.

For purposes of this study it is relevant to decipher and analyze the Permian paleogeography of a major part of the Eastern Hemisphere, partly for general information and partly for relations of the Late Permian Indian Ocean. In the latter connection the latitudinal marine waters of Permian Tethys are most important. The paleogeography of Tethys is consequently examined in some detail both for the Sakmarian or lowermost stage (sensu lato) of the Early Permian and for the Guadalupian or lowermost stage of the Late Permian. Fortunately, previous workers have laid the foundations competently for determining the general geography of Permian Tethys and associated areas. However, in the light of information which has appeared in the last decade or two, and in the light of information which ong has been available but which may have been overlooked in part, certain modifications are needed. Thus modifications and extensions of Early and Late Permian paleogeographic schemes are here presented. The specific data on which the schemes are built are recorded and discussed in the Appendix. The data are divided according to locations whose positions may be seen in the map of Figure 1.



In the early years of the 19th Century the existence of red rocks both older and "newer" than Carboniferous rocks was widely recognized by European geologists. In Britain the pre-Carboniferous red rocks were grouped as the Old Red Sandstone. The post-Carboniferous red rocks were grouped as the New Red Sandstone. It was evident that the latter group was large and that it needed subdivision, perhaps more evidently

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in the sedimentary rocks of France and Germany than elsewhere. In Germany the upper part of the New Red Sandstone group was divided into three components, Keuper (bottom), Muschelkalk, and Bunter. In recognition of the three components their system was named Trias by von Alberti (1834). This is the Triassic System of today. In France d'Halloy had begun work on the older part of the New Red Sandstone group as early as 1808. After modifying earlier conclusions as a result of additional work, he formalized the name of the French succession as Terrain Peneen or "rocks with few fossils" (1834). The work then was taken up by Marcou (1859) who included in his results a correlation with red rocks in North America. Because the red rocks of the lower part of the New Red Sandstone on both contin nts fell naturally into two divisions, Marcou proposed for them a system called the Dyas. In this case the components were Rothtodt-liegende below and Zechstein above. The Zechstein has remained essentially unchanged in designation. The Roth-todt-liegende was expanded slightly at the base by Weiss (1869-1872) and the name by then had become Rotliegende (Sherlock, 1948). More correctly the name is Das Rotliegende. However, the variant Rotliegendes appears at present in most correlation charts and texts of authors writing in English.

These changes meant that by 1859 the New Red Sandstone group was divided formally into Dyas below and Trias above. However, in 1841 Murchison proposed a new systematic name for red rocks roughly equivalent to the Dyas. Murchison's system was the Permian, and applied to rocks in the province of Perm and associated areas west of the Ural Mountains in Russia. The great area of the rocks and possibly the effectiveness of Murchison's presentation and conclusions led to general adoption of the term "Permian" rather than Dyas.

Murchison's Permian System was approximately equivalent to the modern Ufimian, Kazanian, and Tatarian (Tartarian) Stages. However, in 1889 Karpinsky added to the Permian System a column of older rocks which he assigned to the Artinskian Stage. Ruzhentsev (1936) then divided Karpinsky's stage into Artinskian above and Sakmarian below. Later, according to Glenister and Furnish (1961), Ruzhencev (sic) divided the Sakmarian into Sakmarian above and Asselian below (1950). Unlike the red rocks of Murchison's Permian System, the added rocks below them were fossiliferous marine sediments, both where they were thick in the Ural foredeep or thin on the Russian platform on the west (Oriel in McKee et al., 1967).


Because the Permian System originally was described in Russia, the Permian column of the USSR has become one of the world's standards. Exploration for oil and gas and the development of oil fields added greatly to the knowledge of the distribution of Permian rocks in the subsurface and to knowledge of their fauna, flora, and palynology. Obviously, a similar development of knowledge took place in the United States, especially knowledge of the total sequence of West Texas, so that the latter became another of the world's standard Permian columns.

The two main standards of the Permian System and some of their representative invertebrate fossil genera are shown in Figure 2. Details are from a correlation chart issued by the Permian Subcommittee (1960). Although the chart was issued after the work done by Ruzhencev, it does not recognize the division of the Sakmarian Stage into Sakmarian above and Asselian below.

Neither of the standards is complete, and although the USSR column has a greater percentage of continental and evaporitic material, its top may be higher than the top of the USA column.

Fig. 1. Locations of Permian localities discussed in Appendix (also see Table 1).

Fig. 2. Classification of Permian.

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In this respect my presentation in Figure 2 differs from that of the Permian Subcommittee. According to the latter's chart the Ochoan Stage fills the Permian column to the top. In contrast, Oriel (in McKee et al., 1967) viewed the Ochoan sediments as follows:

The saline sediments composing of Ochoa Series, although some 5000 feet thick in parts of west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, may have been deposited rapidly, perhaps in hundreds of thousands of years. If such estimates are accurate, and if intervals represented by diastems and unconformities were negligible, then Ochoa time was a remarkably small part of Permian time.

In this connection it is interesting to note the conclusion of Richter-Bernberg (1953) that 1 m of anhydrite might be precipitated in about 2,000 years. If this rate were applied to the maximum or near-maximum thickness of the Ochoa Series the span of Ochoa time would be as great as 3 million years. However, thick columns possibly precipitate locally much faster than thin columns elsewhere, so that Oriel's figure could be correct. The possibilities of precipitation by mixing also might have to be taken into account in view of the study by Raup (1970). Although Raup dealt with salt precipitation, his principles might apply also to waters containing sulfates. Thus, if mixing were effective in addition to straight evaporation, the time taken for precipitation of Ochoa material might be u usually little, possibly even less than Oriel's estimate. On the arbitrary assumption that Ochoa time was no more than 500,000 years and that Guadalupian time was as long as 15 million years, the Ochoa deposits might represent a time span less than 4 percent of a stage. A value as low as 2 percent is possible. The Ochoan Stage of Figure 2 is drawn accordingly.

The Permian column of the Salt Range in northern West Pakistan could be either a third standard section or a significant reference section. Kummel and Teichert (1970) noted that the Permian System of the Salt Range and neighboring ranges can be subdivided readily into a lower predominantly continental half and an upper entirely marine half. I estimate that in terms of time the marine phase represents a ratio of either 3:2 or 3:1. In terms of relative completeness of column the Salt Range sequence is important. Marine Permian beds can be found within a few feet of the contact with marine Lower Triassic rocks. Basal Permian beds contain at least part of the lowermost Asselian Stage despite their profoundly unconformable contact with Cambrian or Precambrian sediments below. In this frame ork Kummel and Teichert issued a chronostratigraphy containing stages taken from the Russian and American standards, together with a topmost Indian stage slightly modified in transliteration and perhaps in definition:

Late Permian    Chhidruan
Early Permian   Artinskian

A classification of the "Middle" Permian is also of interest, namely the one by Gobbett (1967). Although not complete, the classification is important in applying to the great latitudinal stretch of marine Permian Tethys sea, and beyond to the broad Permian waters across Japan, China, Indochina, and Indonesia. This Tethyan and extra-Tethyan classification is based on a single family of the fusulinid foraminifers, the Verbeekinidae. The taxonomy of these forms makes them apparently amenable to division into three faunal zones. These zones and their relations to the standard USSR zones are presented in Figure 3.


Where ammonoids are present they constitute possibly the best means of zoning Permian sequences. A probable nektonic capability gave these organisms the potentiality of invading many lithofacies provinces. Their orderly and relatively rapid phylogenetic development is so distinctive that a single ammonoid specimen may be sufficient to assign a local Permian sequence as close as a single stage. Thus, according to Figure 2, the presence of Propopanoceras would indicate the Wolfcampian Stage, Perrinites the Leonardian Stage, and Waagenoceras (a cyclolobid) at least part of the Guadalupian Stage. Some authors have taken Cyclolobus to represent the highest Permian stage, but others long have held that the morphologic development of certain ammonoids places them definitely higher than Cyclo obus. Even Cyclolobus is not present in the USA and USSR standards. On the other hand a

Fig. 3. Classification of Middle Permian by verbeekinid (fusulinid) foraminifers.

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reading of Neaverson (1955) suggests that Spath (1934) had interpreted the phylogeny of the ammonoids to mean that there might be as many as four ammonoid zones higher than Cyclolobus in the areas of Armenia and the eastern Alps. South China might contain an ammonoid zone in the Permian as high as any in the world (Kummel and Teichert, 1970).

Fusulinid foraminifers constitute a group almost as fundamental to the chronostratigraphy of the Permian System as the ammonoids. Whereas ammonoids might be less susceptible to the paleoenvironment, the abundance of the fusulinids in their preferred conditions makes them a powerful factor as identifiers of Permian strata (Fig. 2). The presence of Paraschwagerina would indicate the Wolfcampian Stage, that of Schwagerina and Parafusulina the Leonardian Stage, and Polydiexodina the Capitan subdivision of the Guadalupian Stage. The presence of the genus Yabeina would indicate a possibility of post-Guadalupian strata. Intensive modern studies have resulted in a heavy speciation of most of the important fusulinid genera. It remains to be seen whether this type of speciation is meaningful in such complicated fossil tests and whether the speciation can be used to advantage for stage and substage stratigraphy of the Permian System.

Brachiopods can be plentiful in Permian deposits, but their rate of evolution was noticeably less rapid than those of the ammonoids or the fusulinids. Recourse to species rather than to genera must be available in many cases, especially when designation as close as a stage is required. However, the genera Licharewia and Horridonia are believed to be confined to a substage roughly equivalent to the Capitan. Muirwoodia would indicate Late Permian rather than Early Permian. The reverse would be true for the genera Scacchinella and Diplanus, although only in the presence of other Permian forms.

The pelecypod Eurydesma has received considerable attention from paleontologists over the years. At first the genus was considered to indicate the presence of Late Carboniferous sedimentary rocks, but modern consensus assigns the genus as an indicator of the Sakmarian Stage (sensu lato) of the Early Permian. In many areas Eurydesma is associated with boulder beds or diamictites interpreted as glacial, fluvioglacial, glaciomarine, or glacigene (glaciogene of authors). This association and the fact the fossil itself gives an impression of limited morphologic development have led to the theory that the genus is an indicator of a cold-water episode in Early Permian time. One must concede that the associated lithofacies suggests a somewhat specialized paleoenvironment, and this evidence ha been used for strong support of the theory that the specialized environments of Eurydesma, now spread as far apart as Australia, India, southwestern Africa, and southern South America, were once together in Early Permian time.

Fossil plants are abundant in the record of the Permian System. The most famous genus is, of course, Glossopteris. Its paleogeography is so widespread that it includes not only all the present southern continents and India but also a locality in the northern part of the USSR. Recently the genus has been reported from the intermediate Mediterranean areas, e.g., in Turkey (Schmidt, 1964). The presence of leaves of the conifer Walchia and of the pteridosperm Callipteris is taken to indicate Lower and Middle Permian rocks, typically in southern European and northern African areas.

Vertebrates are well known in Permian deposits. Among them the tetrapods are especially important for their broad biogeography and their significance in paleogeographic reconstructions, also for their zoologic indications of the paleoenvironment. Differentiation of the tetrapods into land-bound forms and largely aquatic forms serves a useful purpose in this connection. Where tetrapods are especially abundant they have been used for general correlation. Thus the well-known Tapinocephalus fauna of southern Africa is believed to be equivalent in age to part of the Late Permian span of the standard columns. The Cistecephalus fauna may represent later Late Permian time and the cosmopolitan Lystrosaurus fauna may represent latest Permian time, although its main development was in Early Tria sic time.



Suess was the author of the term "Tethys," and of a considerable part of the concept which the term came to represent in later decades. Possibly the most formal statement by Suess was that of 1893:

Modern geology permits us to follow the first outlines of the history of a great ocean which once stretched across part of Eurasia. The folded and crumpled deposits of this ocean stand forth to heaven in Thibet, Himalaya and the Alps. This ocean we designate by the name "Tethys" after the sister and consort of Oceanus. The latest successor to the Tethyan Sea is the present Mediterranean.

In a later work, the monumental "Das Antlitz der Erde" (1909), Suess repeated earlier observations to the effect that his thinking on Tethys had been influenced by the concept of a "Central Mediterranean" (Centrales Mittelmeer) which

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Neumayr (1885) had specified for Jurassic time. Neumayr's sea was considered to have stretched from Mexico in the west to the Himalaya in the east. The emphasis of both authors was on the Mesozoic when they wrote of their sea or ocean, and the emphasis seems also to have been on an east-west or latitudinal character.

The concept of Tethys as a geographic entity may not have changed much since its inception, but the concept of Tethys in geologic time has changed considerably. The end effect has been agreement that all Paleozoic systems have had a Tethyan or Tethyan-like episode in their history. Thus, a recent symposium on the biogeography of Tethys (Adams and Ager, 1967) included a study of Early Cambrian Tethyan faunas. Gansser (1964) also noted that in the high Himalaya there was continuous deposition of fossiliferous beds from the Cambrian to the Cretaceous and early Eocene, with faunas "belonging to the Tethyan sea."

Sakmarian Paleogeography, Tethys and Associated Waters

Many authors have published paleogeographic reconstructions of the world or large areas either for Permian time as a whole, or discrete Early and Late Permian times, and at least one for "Middle" Permian time. Termier and Termier (1960) issued "Eopermien" and "Neopermien" maps in an atlas of worldwide paleogeography for the whole of Phanerozoic time, system by system. Hill (1958) dealt with a single stage of the Permian, the Sakmarian Stage sensu lato. This attention to a single stage of a geologic system as old as the Permian on a worldwide basis was a significant accomplishment. Nevertheless, it now seems possible to suggest extensions of Sakmarian geography in five areas within the sector of Hill's study which concerns Mediterranean Europe, North Africa, and south-central Asia. Eac of the five areas is described and discussed in the Appendix (1-5; Table 1) and the modifications suggested by the evidence are included in Figure 4.

Although unable to present evidence from as far west as Sicily, Hill believed that there should be a connection between Mediterranean Sakmarian Tethys and Atlantic Sakmarian Tethys. This belief was based on the correspondence of Tethyan and North American Sakmarian faunas. The evidence advanced in the Appendix (1, 2) with respect to Minorca and Tunisia strengthens Hill's hypothesis and indicates that an important Sakmarian marine channel trended partly across the coastal belt of present North Africa to reach at least to the eastern shores of Spain. In Spain itself there are no deposits which yield marine Sakmarian evidence. In the Cantabrian Mountains of northwestern Spain the youngest known marine incursions belong to the Late Carboniferous, indicated by the fusulinid genus Protritic tes. The expected successor genus Triticites is not present (Van Ginkel, 1965), but I suggest that episodes with Triticites or possibly later fusulinid genera may have been preserved farther north. If such evidence is to be found, it would be found only by ultra-deep drilling. A positive result in such an investigation would mean that Sakmarian waters came across southernmost France to make the link with Sakmarian Atlantic waters and so with the Sakmarian faunas of Central America.

The geographic feature of the waters which filled Sakmarian Tethys was their longitudinal trend. The width of the waters was rarely more than 15° of latitude, but their reach along an east-west line was on the order of more than 70° of longitude. Furthermore, Sakmarian Tethys was not an isolated channel. Except for possible interruptions in continuity shown by question marks, there may have been a major branch of Sakmarian waters which made a wide angle with Tethys and which trended west-northwest along

Table 1. Locations in Figure 1 and Appendix

Fig. 4. Sakmarian (Early Permian) geography showing Tethys and its connections with other Sakmarian marine waters in Europe and Asia (slightly modified from Hill, 1958).

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the present foredeep of the Urals and along the contiguous part of the Russian platform. The length of this USSR branch of Sakmarian waters was more than 30° of latitude, sufficient to bring them as far north as present Arctic marine waters.

The southward bend shown in the Sakmarian shoreline as it leaves the present Arabian peninsula raises the question of a branch of Tethys on the south antithetic to the USSR branch on the north. Without knowledge of Sakmarian trends west of the Indian peninsula the question cannot be answered for the present. From another aspect the question of a Sakmarian branch of Tethys opening into the Arabian Sea or farther south into the Indian Ocean is relevant only on present latitudes and longitudes. If an appropriate "pre-drift" configuration of southern continents is assumed, the southern Sakmarian branch can be dispensed with almost entirely.

East of the longitude of the Tibetan Himalaya Sakmarian Tethys in the stricter sense comes to an end. Thus in the Far East the pattern of Sakmarian marine waters becomes relatively diffuse. However, there is a notable spreading to north and south. The limits of latitude increase to 45°N on the north and 5°S on the south; that is, to a total north-south interval of 50° of latitude. In this pattern Sakmarian marine waters crossed northern Japan in high latitudes while they crossed parts of the Indonesian archipelago in equatorial and near-equatorial latitudes. From these positions they merged still farther eastward into waters where the present Pacific Ocean lies.

Guadalupian Paleogeography, Tethys and Associated Waters

Kummel and Teichert (1970) retained the Guadalupian Stage of the standard USA sequence in their chronostratigraphic division of the Salt Range sequence in the West Pakistan sector of Tethys. In terms of the USSR standard, the Guadalupian is the lowest stage of the Upper Permian. In the Salt Range area, the only stage known to overlie the Guadalupian Stage is the Chhidruan Stage of Kummel and Teichert. However, ammonoid phylogeny suggested to them that a higher stage (or stages) may be present in areas such as Armenia and southern China. Thus, theoretically, the Guadalupian Stage could represent as little as one third of the time corresponding to the Late Permian. Regardless of the actual fraction involved, a paleogeographic reconstruction applicable to Guadalupian time only would be o considerable value, actually comparable in value to Hill's study of the Sakmarian.

Termier and Termier (1960) presented a paleogeography of the "Neopermien"--i.e., the Late Permian in general--with global coverage, as they had for all their maps. However, because post-Guadalupian sequences are relatively rare, at least in outcrop, the presentation of these authors may be taken as applying in significant measure to the Guadalupian Stage. Gobbett (1967) presented a paleogeography applicable to a longer time span and a smaller area. The time span was "Middle Permian" and included the Guadalupian and stages below and above it. The area to which Middle Permian geography was applied included part of Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Gobbett derived his paleogeography from a single family of fusulinid foraminifers, the Verbeekinidae. From Tunisia in the west to Japan in the ast, Gobbett's map shows more than 50 occurrences of verbeekinids, some closely spaced, as for example in Japan. His distribution map also shows to which of three verbeekinid faunas each occurrence belonged. In nearly all occurrences the two top faunas were present. These are the Neoschwagerina fauna below and the Yabeina fauna above, and for nearly all practical purposes their combined range is equivalent to the time span of the Guadalupian Stage. Although Gobbett's map is a considerable contribution to Guadalupian paleogeography, I should like to suggest certain extensions in the light of evidence now available. For this purpose I have discussed nine actual extensions in the Appendix and two other locations of importance (6-16; Table 1). Interpretations derived from these discussions a e included in the drawing of Figure 5.

The evidence at St. Girons on the French side of the Pyrenees appears to have been overlooked to some extent but is critical for early Guadalupian time (Word equivalent). At best, the early Guadalupian waters which passed St. Girons to mix with Atlantic waters could not have extended

Fig. 5. Guadalupian (Late Permian) geography showing Tethys and its connections with other Guadalupian marine waters in Europe and Asia (modified from Gobbett, 1967).

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broadly. Thus, Nagtegaal (1969) believed that deposits with continental facies and with fragments of the plant Walchia piniformis might indicate a period as late as "Saxonian." In that case land would have lain on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees while early Guadalupian marine waters lay at St. Girons on the French side. An early Guadalupian shoreline along the French-Spanish border is possible, and may have existed also in southern Spain according to my reading of part of the evidence supplied by Querol (1969), notably in the massif known as the "Alpujarrides," but the evidence itself is far from substantial.

Regional geology demands Permian shorelines not far south of the present coast of North Africa. Because marine Permian sedimentary rocks do not appear at the coast east of Tunisia and do not exist farther inland in the subsurface of most of Libya and Egypt, nearly all paleogeographers have swung Permian shorelines sharply northward east of Tunisia. Thereafter, Permian shorelines have been kept offshore along the whole of the North Africa coast. This interpretation seems to me to ignore the evidence of strong regional Late Permian or post-Permian erosion brought to light by subsurface geology in the last two decades. Among others, Klitzsch (1968) showed that slightly tilted and block-faulted sedimentary rocks on the Libyan platform were eroded down to the Cambrian strata. From other in ormation it is apparent that the erosion resulted in a broad paleogeologic pattern of Cambrian to Carboniferous sediments. It is entirely possible that prior to overstep by each of the three Mesozoic geologic systems in three discrete areas of Libya, Permian sediments were laid down as far inland as 100 mi from the present coast. However, because of the low angle of succeeding tilt, these Permian sediments may have been stripped off by erosion across almost the whole breadth of the original incursion. Remnant marine Permian deposits may yet be found in ultra-deep wells drilled in the areas of the present east Libyan or west Egyptian coastal belts. On this reasoning, and from the evidence presented in the Appendix (2, 3), I suggest that Guadalupian waters may have come into North Africa o a broad front, perhaps as far south as a line trending from the southern tip of Tunisia in the west to the Suez Canal in the east.

Figure 5 differs from most Late Permian paleogeographic maps (except Kummel, 1970, in part) in its presentation of marine waters in the area of the present Arabian Peninsula. Evidence from the 1,200-mi arc of Khuff limestone outcrops (Appendix, 10, 11) strongly suggests that marine waters surged far southward into the Arabian Peninsula during at least part of Guadalupian time. This penetration was over before the end of the Late Permian, but while it lasted it modified the geography of Tethys considerably. The width of Tethys from the Caspian Sea on the north to southern Arabia on the south was more than 30° of latitude.

Eastward from the present Arabian peninsula the tendency to spread across large intervals of latitude was even more marked in Guadalupian time than in Sakmarian time. In southern latitudes Guadalupian marine waters may not have come into the area of present Western Australia to any great extent and may not have crossed the present shoreline at all. However, in northern latitudes Guadalupian waters transgressed far northward beyond Japan and onto the present land areas of eastern Siberia. The contribution of this northern transgression to the total spread of Guadalupian waters becomes clear when it is seen that the spread is on the order of 80° of latitude.

Tethyan Waters

In terms of traditional paleogeography Permian Tethys could be considered a link between an ancestral Atlantic Ocean on the west and broadly diffused incursive waters leading to an ancestral Pacific Ocean on the east. In terms of a pre-drift configuration, not only Tethys but discrete western and eastern oceans would be largely irrelevant. However, modern versions of pre-drift configurations have returned to the idea of a gulf between southern and northern continental land masses (e.g., Dietz and Holden, 1970). In this position the gulf is mediterranean by definition even if it is not the sea or ocean envisaged by Suess in the original concept of Tethys.

In Tethys and in the great eastern extra-Tethys, Gobbett (1967) interpreted the life cycle of the verbeekinids to indicate a paleobathymetry of less than 100 m and sunlit waters characterized by algal meadows. This interpretation does not conflict to any great extent with the interpretation that might be placed on the environments of Permian ammonoids, brachiopods, and other marine organisms, although the last group locally may have thrived in waters deeper than 100 m.

Shallow waters are unlikely to have stretched unbroken for hundreds of miles or more. Thus Gobbett noted that the lands of his "Middle Permian" paleogeographic reconstruction were at times more extensive than shown. Ten Dam and Tolun (1961) showed large islands in the present area of Turkey in their presentation of local Permian paleogeography. In southeast Turkey, near

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the Iraq frontier, Schmidt (1964) confirmed that the basal carbonaceous shale of a largely marine Permian sequence yielded a Glossopteris flora. These suggestions of the existence of broken waters or even of temporary local regression in an area such as Turkey, at the presumed heart of western Permian Tethys, are important. They raise questions concerning the efficacy of Permian Tethys as a barrier to vertebrate migration, especially that of the tetrapods.

Neaverson (1955) reviewed the tetrapod faunas of the late Paleozoic systems, especially as to their evolution and morphology. He concluded, as previous investigators had done, that there had been an important movement of tetrapods from north to south. Most important of all was a movement southward by a stock which originated during Carboniferous time in the area of the North Dvina River in northern European Russia. By Permian time the migrants from this stock had reached as far south as South Africa and had developed into new genera such as Tapinocephalus, Cistecephalus, and perhaps the first examples of Lystrosaurus. The time available for migration must have been ample, a consideration which may have influenced investigators to consider that the migration route was one which skirted Tethys on the west. The Late Permian map presented by Robinson (1971) is illustrative in that it may be interpreted to mean that migrant tetrapods from Russia turned westward between the Tethyan and Zechstein basins. On reaching Spain they could have turned southward into North Africa. Romer (in press) was specific on this particular subject. He considered that Tethys as a body of marine water represented an essentially impassable barrier to continental tetrapods and freshwater amphibians and reptiles. Like Robinson, he assumed that Tethyan waters did not reach Spain and concluded that the way was clear for vertebrates to migrate through that country into Morocco, and from there without further impediment eventually to South Africa.

As already discussed, my own conclusions differ in detail with respect to occasional Permian waters in the area of Spain, but Spain may well have been totally continental during the long span between Sakmarian and Guadalupian times. Tetrapods could easily have come through Spain in this period. However, this solution does not eliminate the more general problem of Permian tetrapods and Permian Tethyan waters. Guadalupian waters may have been dotted with islands and may even have receded in some areas for a few hundreds of thousands of years at a time without leaving a noticeable record of the event in the depositional sequence. Events such as these could have provided land bridges across Tethys whose duration, though brief in geologic time, may have been sufficient to provide facilitie for important tetrapod crossing.

If temporary land bridges formed across western Mediterranean Tethys in Guadalupian time the tetrapods might have come into Africa by routes other than the one through Spain. Possibilities include Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Arabia. In this connection it may be noted that Termier and Termier (1960) assumed an exceptionally broad land bridge across Tethys throughout Late Permian ("Neopermien") time. According to their map, the bridge lay across Afghanistan, Iran, and Arabia. Furthermore the route of the mammallike or therapsid tetrapod Cistecephalus is marked clearly across the bridge on its way from northern Russia to southern Africa. From the evidence discussed in the Appendix, I do not believe that the bridge was as broad as shown by Termier and Termier, nor do I believe tha it persisted throughout Late Permian time. On the other hand, I agree that a brief emergence of Tethys during Guadalupian time may have provided a temporary bridge through Arabia, just as other bridges may have been provided through areas west of Arabia.

The absence of fossil tetrapods in a particular area is not a final argument in matters of migration. However, investigators have noted the paucity of Permian tetrapods in India despite more than a century of collecting. Romer (in press) suggested that conditions in Permian India may have been unacceptable to potential tetrapod migrants. This is a plausible suggestion because at least one tetrapod is known to have by-passed India on the eastern side. Thus Termier and Termier show a migration of Cistecephalus from the northern Urals to western China and Indochina. Modern tetrapods are aggressive migrants and seem able to find niches in relatively hostile environments. The inability of Permian tetrapods to find an important refuge in India may indicate a geologic puzzle not yet fully so ved.


Traditional Configuration

The relatively brief but powerful incursion of marine waters into Arabia during part of Guadalupian time carried as far south as the present Arabian Sea. Farther east, but at a considerably more northern latitude, Guadalupian waters may have moved south beyond the well-known Tethyan occurrences in the Salt Range, possibly as far south as Karampur in West Pakistan (Appendix, 17). The evidence from these two areas of Tethyan geography does not prove the breakthrough

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of Guadalupian waters into the site of the present Indian Ocean. However, the records are significant when considered together with contemporaneous faunas from Malagasy (Madagascar).

The discovery by Besairie et al. (1936) of the ammonoids Xenaspis and Cyclolobus in (then) Madagascar indicated marine communication between Malagasy (Madagascar) and the Indian subcontinent. The simplest solution was to assume that communication had taken place along a SSW-NNE line in the western part of a Guadalupian Indian Ocean. The land boundaries shown in Figure 5 permit this solution, although the water gap at about 20°N lat. may have been as narrow as 10° longitude (about 600 mi). There is no evidence on which to base an estimate of the width of waters south of the gap. However, there is evidence to suggest that Guadalupian marine waters may have been in existence from at least 10°S lat. on Malagasy (Appendix, 14, 15) to nearly 10°N lat. on or near the east coast of Africa (Appendix, 13).

The consensus of paleogeographers has been that the Permian ammonoids and associated fauna indicate the "opening" of an ancestral Mozambique channel between Africa and Malagasy in Late Permian time. My own conclusion is different. Unless I have overlooked some critical information available in the literature, I do not see the necessity for an ancestral Mozambique channel. I favor the simpler solution that, in Guadalupian time generally, west was land and east was water from 25°S lat. to 10°N lat. along the eastern fringe of present Africa (Fig. 5).

Figure 6 shows further the presumed water gap between Arabia and India, the presumed shoreline near the present eastern coast of Africa, and the nature of the Indian Ocean as a whole in Guadalupian time. The shorelines for Arabia and India are drawn more generously than in Figure 5, as far as this is permissible on available evidence. The gap between the two lands is thus widened to about 12° of longitude or nearly 1,000 mi. Arabia disappears as an entity and becomes a kind of ancestral Horn of Africa to define the west side of the postulated gap. India is an inverted triangle, isolated by waters northwest, northeast, and south. The spread of waters in southern latitudes is considerable, for these waters reach from an expanded Africa in the west to a possibly expanded Australia i the east. Actually the spread is exaggerated by the particular map projection used in Figure 6 (and some previous figures). Nevertheless, it can be seen from the degree marks that the hypothetical Indian Ocean of Guadalupian time spread across more than 50° of longitude in much the same manner as its presumed successor does today.

The boundaries chosen for Figure 6 tend to focus attention on India at almost the center of the figure. On the assumption that a land bridge did not exist between Africa and India, the figure would tend to stress the complete isolation of India from all other land masses in Guadalupian time. However, India is not the only case of geographic isolation. Geologists working with fossil faunas in Australia have stressed their interpretation that this landmass also was isolated or almost isolated over long periods of geologic time. Details of this type of interpretation may be seen in the works of Teichert (1958), Glaessner (1962), and Meyerhoff and Teichert (1971).

The degree of isolation of Australia as a whole is perhaps not a crucial question for the specific paleogeography of Guadalupian time as envisaged in Figure 6. It is important to assume that even if Guadalupian waters did not come westward across the coastline of present Western Australia such waters were not far distant. On this assumption Australia was "isolated" at least on its western side during Guadalupian time. This degree of isolation is sufficient to support the thesis of Figure 6, namely, that marine waters lay between Guadalupian Australia and Guadalupian India.

The isolation of India according to the hypothesis of Figure 6 would imply that the ammonoids, as presumed nekton, could swim or drift from Tethys around India either to the west or the east. Thus, if the gap between the ancestral Guadalupian Horn of Africa and Guadalupian India had been closed, the ammonoids could have reached Malagasy by the eastern route--that is, the "long way around." As already inferred, a land bridge formed by the closing of the gap may have been explored by Late Permian tetrapods,

Fig. 6. Hypothetical Indian Ocean and contemporaneous geographic units in Guadalupian time (Late Permian). Present latitudes and longitudes.

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but rejected because of unacceptable conditions at the eastern end in India.

Farther south a Guadalupian Indian Ocean may have been characterized by major deeps like the Indian Ocean of today. Fusulinids with a possible planktonic stage in the life cycle may have experienced no difficulty in migrating across an ocean of this kind but the long-distance propagation of benthos may have involved major travel around peripheral shallows. One possibility for the distribution of benthos is a route through far southern latitudes around the shores of a greatly expanded Guadalupian Antarctica. Alternative routes for the benthos might involve migration over distances equal to half the circumference of the globe.

Pre-Drift Configuration

Figure 7 shows the effects obtained when lands in the Eastern Hemisphere are placed in a typical pre-drift configuration, in this case one by Robinson (1971) for the Late Permian. My own interpretation of Guadalupian geography is superimposed on the theoretical base. In pre-drift positions the southern continents appear massed together in an almost solid accumulation of land and are joined by an additional relatively small piece of land destined eventually to move great distances and become today's peninsular India. Again in Figure 7 the pre-drift distance of Southeast Asia from Australia is so great that it amounts to approximately 70° of latitude, as compared with the present 15°. Between the two continents in Late Permian time would lie part of the marine waters that enci cled the massed continents of the world. On the principle of approximately constant volume of water in global seas there may well have been oceanic deeps.

The question of an Indian Ocean in Late Permian time becomes largely irrelevant in a configuration such as that of Figure 7. The configuration admits of fairly broad marine waters between the Horn of Africa and ancestral peninsular India, but these waters are in no way the counterpart of the broad Indian Ocean of southern latitudes envisaged in the traditional scheme of Figure 6.

The pre-drift configuration of Figure 7 presupposes that questions such as the mechanics of moving continents over thousands of miles and the revolutions in paleoclimatology which might result therefrom have been adequately answered by invoking the theory of continental drift. However, if such important, not to say critical, questions are set aside, the pre-drift geography is responsive in many respects. Benthos, nekton, and plankton could move easily out of the Tethyan inlet to take alternative paths along shoreline and open sea to reach southeastern Asia. The same organisms could move with equal ease through or beyond the southern inlet to skirt ancestral peninsular India and reach Australian waters. All these possibilities satisfy the traditional interpretations made from available faunas, including the isolation of India and partial isolation of Australia already discussed. Even more consistent with the evidence of available fauna is the ease with which a tetrapod such as Lystrosaurus might leave Africa in latest Permian time and arrive in Antarctica to flourish in Early Triassic time, virtually without the necessity of entering water. Lystrosaurus could also migrate from Antarctica to India with convincing ease.


The responsiveness of the pre-drift configuration to biogeographic requirements may seem to weigh heavily in favor of a Late Permian history without an Indian Ocean like today's body of oceanic water. However, it should be noticed that, when biogeography is part of the problem, the solution which gives most advantages and appears most logical is not necessarily the correct solution. The position of ancestral peninsular India is a case in point. In theory this piece of land could be placed anywhere from complete union with Malagasy and Africa to wider and wider separation. If there were complete union the evidence

Fig. 7. Guadalupian (Late Permian) geography and concept of "pre-drift" landmasses. Disposition of Late Permian lands from Robinson (1971).

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of the ammonoids would be violated. On the other hand if the separation between Africa and ancestral peninsular India were made progressively wider, the waters between the two would become less of an inlet and more of a sea, not unlike part of the present Indian Ocean. Another case in point is the biogeography of the tetrapods. A massive grouping of the southern continents would seem on the face of things to be by far the better of alternative solutions to accommodate tetrapod migrations. However, biogeography is not necessarily rational. Modern investigations have shown that microfauna and megafauna alike can accomplish migrations in the face of heavy odds and can succeed in achieving astonishing goals (interpreted from written correspondence, A.A. Meyerhoff, 1970-1971). A third case to be considered as an example is the morphology of tetrapods and their interpreted biology. Because the tetrapod Lystrosaurus is found either in nonmarine sediments or in brackish sediments at best, the organism is believed by most vertebrate geologists to have been unable to venture into open marine waters. Nevertheless, the morphology of Lystrosaurus is consistent with the idea that this genus may have been a powerful swimmer. If this should be true, the potential of the genus for crossing major bodies of marine water should not be denied completely, as has commonly been done. In any case, there remains the possibility of rafting of tetrapods across marine waters, despite consistent downgrading of the concept. Experiments in rafting conducted by man in the last decade surely suggest t at this process deserves reconsideration as a mechanism for faunal and floral migration.

On balance, I would suggest that the alternatives of a discrete Guadalupian Indian Ocean and a single ocean flanking massed continents in the Eastern Hemisphere seem incapable of a unique resolution. At least there may be no purely unique solution. At least there may be no purely unique solution from a study of marine and terrestrial Guadalupian faunas. It must be admitted that a massing of the southern continents in a pre-drift configuration appears to offer important advantages, especially where tetrapod migrations are concerned. However, biogeographic interpretations are difficult to make and the apparent advantages of the pre-drift configuration may prove to be illusory in the end. If it were possible to find shallow-water marine Late Permian faunas below the sea floor south of th present peninsula of India, some of the seeming disparity between alternatives might be redressed. However, the chances of finding such faunas are not great even with considerable exploratory coverage. Furthermore, in the last analysis the search would run the risk of proving fruitless if post-Permian erosion had removed for all time the evidence which might have been present regarding Late Permian paleogeography.


The present study has discussed some Permian records capable of expanding in a small way the concepts held concerning Early and Late Permian paleogeography. The examples used were the Sakmarian Stage sensu lato of the Early Permian and the Guadalupian Stage of the Late Permian, largely because previous workers had provided in these two stages valuable bases on which to proceed. Also, to avoid confusion the examples were developed in large part on the assumption that modern configurations of lands and seas offered a model which was approximately true also for Permian time. In the framework of such an assumption, Permian Tethys appears as a link between an ancestral Atlantic Ocean on the west and incursive marine waters leading to an ancestral Pacific Ocean on the east. On the same assu ption a broad Indian Ocean could have lain between Africa and Australia in Late Permian time, either joined to Tethys through a gap between Arabia and India or separated from Tethys by an Arabian-Indian land bridge.

If the model of present lands and seas is discarded and a pre-drift configuration is substituted, the paleogeography of Tethys and of the Indian Ocean is revolutionized. At their most important development these two areas become little more than inlets of a single ocean flanking the massed southern continents. Despite the revolution in paleogeography which the pre-drift configuration imposes, its arrangement is consistent with the evidence from invertebrate fauna at least as much as the traditional arrangement. When the evidence from vertebrate fauna is considered, especially evidence of the tetrapods, the pre-drift configuration would appear to be considerably favored.

Logic would appear to be on the side of the pre-drift configuration, but logic is not necessarily the final answer for biogeography. Despite apparent lack of strength in the theory of approximately modern geographic coordinates when it is applied to Permian time, I conclude from an appraisal of the faunal evidence that the theory is at least as plausible as a theory of pre-drift coordinates. What we have here is a conclusion that is inconclusive. The inconclusion applies to a particular area at a particular time, namely the Indian Ocean during the span of the Guadalupian Stage. It may well be that a similar inconclusion would arise if the study were extended to a paleogeography of the whole of the globe during Permian time.

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Discussion of Locations

1. Minorca:
Minorca is the most northeasterly of the Balearic Islands, all of which lie off the eastern coast of Spain. Hollister (1934) noted that the ammonoids Agathiceras and Paragastrioceras were present on Minorca. Both these ammonoids begin their range in the Carboniferous, but as Sander (1968) noted, they seem to have been overlooked as valid evidence not only of latest Carboniferous but also of Early Permian age for the calcareous sandstones in which they occur. On the basis of the ammonoid evidence I would extend Sakmarian marine waters a significant distance westward in the Mediterranean area.

2. Kasbah Leguine, Tunisia:
The Kasbah Leguine area of Tunisia lies about 60 km southeast of the noted Upper Permian outcrop at Tebaga. Baird (1967) described the faunal results from three wells drilled in this locality. The drill first penetrated Upper and Middle Permian beds with diagnostic fusulinid and verbeekinid foraminiferal faunas. Below these was a sequence of beds containing the fusulinid genera Triticites, Pseudoschwagerina, and Parafusulina indicative of the presence of the Sakmarian, Artinskian, and possibly Kungurian Stages (Fig. 2). Still deeper beds, with Triticites as the main fusulinid genus suggested the presence of the Upper Carboniferous Stephanian (Uralian) Stage. This fusulinid evidence is compelling and justifies the extension of Sakmarian waters considerably south of present western Mediter anean waters. Thus, I would bring Sakmarian waters across the fault-block belt of the Saharan platform.

3. Gulf of Suez:
On the western shore of the Gulf of Suez, Said (1964) reported the coral Lophophyllidium, the brachiopod Neospirifer, and crinoid stems from a shale believed to be the base of a newly discovered Permian sequence. The main part of the sequence, about 8 km northwest along the shore at Wadi Aheimer, was reported to contain many crinoidal limestones in a column about 250 m thick.

Said and Eissa (1968) submitted micropaleontologic evidence from the assigned Permian beds. Organisms present were largely arenaceous foraminifers, although conodonts also were present. Although genera and species suggested a Late Pennsylvanian or Late Carboniferous age, the authors referred to the megafauna to suggest that an Early Permian age could be adduced. In addition, they noted an alternative correlation of the conodonts with forms in the Lower Permian Tensleep Formation of the western United States (Bighorn Mountains).

Subsequently, Said (personal commun., 1971) noted that Lophophyllidium was a widespread genus in the Pennsylvanian and Permian, especially abundant in Pennsylvanian strata of the Mid-Continent. He also noted that presumed Permian beds overlying the Lophophyllidium shale contained the brachiopods Rhipidomella missouriensis(?), Spirifer "blasil," and Orthis sp., together with the tetracoral Clisiophyllum.

The faunal evidence of the Gulf of Suez area suggests that Sakmarian marine waters came southward across the region of the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean and reached a latitude as far south as the northern end of the Red Sea.

4. South Oman:
In the southeastern corner of the Arabian peninsula, at Haushi, Morton (1959) described a Permian sequence with a basal boulder bed containing interbedded sands with a brachiopod fauna. The boulder beds grade upward into platy marls and limestones 36 m thick with a "rich brachiopod, trilobite and goniatite fauna of Sakmarian-Artinskian age." Individual genera were not listed, but the goniatites (ammonoids) in this rich fauna provide a reasonable assurance that the beds were reliably dated. On the basis of Morton's statement it seems justifiable to suggest that Sakmarian marine waters advanced a considerable distance south of the Persian Gulf.

5. Umaria, India:
Umaria is situated almost 800 km west-northwest of Calcutta, hence approximately at the top of peninsular India. fossils include the seemingly specialized yet cosmopolitan pelecypod Eurydesma, formerly considered an indicator of the Late Carboniferous but in the last few decades considered to be characteristic of the Early Permian Sakmarian Stage.

Umaria long has seemed exceptional because it lay some distance south of the typical Himalayan Tethys. Its Permian geography has therefore been solved by placing it at the head of a gulf, according to some authors reaching eastward from the Indian Ocean, according to others reaching southward from the main seaway of Himalayan Tethys. A recent reconstruction of Sakmarian geography by Robinson (1967) shows Umaria at the head of a dog-legged gulf opening southward from Tethys. Robinson's reconstruction also shows a second gulf opening south from Tethys to accommodate the find of presumably Sakmarian marine invertebrate fossils in the region of Jodphur, far northwest of Umaria. Several reconstructions have shown a highland between Umaria and Jodphur from which boulder trains are believed o have radiated (Ghosh et al., 1969, in press). I would suggest that the highland had

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been eroded before Eurydesma entered peninsular India and that the waters which bore that fossil came southward along a broad front rather than in isolated lobes.

6. St. Girons, France:
St. Girons lies on the northern or French flank of the Pyrenees. Caralp (1903) found marine fossils at St. Girons and assigned them to the Permian. In reviewing this occurrence Neaverson (1955) observed that the fauna was reexamined by Schmidt (1931). Although Schmidt did not find the critical Late Permian genus Waagenoceras he recorded the two paraceltitid genera Daraelites and Paraceltites, also Agathiceras and Thalassoceras. Figure 2 shows that the ammonoid Paraceltites straddles the Early Permian-Late Permian line. The same is true of the ammonoid Agathiceras. There is an obvious possibility that the St. Girons fauna could belong to the Early Permian, yet Schmidt believed that there should be no objection ("nichts einzuwenden") to a correlation with the apparently Late Permian Sosio auna of Sicily. If Upper Permian is present at St. Girons it must belong to the lower substage (Word equivalent) of the Guadalupian. Thus Guadalupian waters, if only during the early part of the stage, may have lain considerably west of the limits proposed for western Tethys by Termier and Termier (1960) or by Gobbett (1967).

7. Tebaga, Tunisia:
A review by Baird (1967) showed that the Permian affinities of the fauna at Djebel Tebaga were noted several decades ago and were discussed in increasing detail by a succession of authors, especially Glintzboeckel and Rabate (1964). The outcrop alone is a most important clue to the paleogeography of Permian Western Tethys, but the information was expanded and enhanced by results obtained in a deep well drilled nearby. Investigation of both outcrop and subsurface shows that the critical fusulinid genera Yabeina, Codonofusiella, Polydiexodina, and Parafusulina are present in the upper part of the local column. The evidence is clear that a full Guadalupian sequence exists in this key area.

Baird made the important observation that Permian marine waters came as far south as lat. 31°30^primeN. This is well into the fault-block zone of the Saharan platform. I believe that Guadalupian waters could have extended as far south as 30°00^primeN lat. Whatever the limit may actually have been, it is certain that the corresponding evidence has been removed by latest Permian or Early Triassic erosion.

8. Sosio, Sicily:
Sosio in northwest Sicily, like Tebaga in Tunisia, is a key location for the Permian of the western Mediterranean area. Miller (1933) recorded that the Sosio fauna had been known and described by Italian geologists before 1910. Miller also recorded the long-known fact that the Sosio fauna came from no more than a few limestone blocks rarely of more than 100-m maximum dimension. The distribution of the blocks suggested to Miller a control by faulting in a highly tectonized area, but Baird believed, on the authority of Marchetti (1960), that the Permian blocks floated in a shaly Mesozoic mass which slid into place as a Tertiary olistostrome.

Miller's conclusions on the ammonoids were significant and are still generally accepted. The critical ammonoid is the cyclolobid genus Waagenoceras, which is more advanced than the ammonoids of the Urals hence presumably younger than Artinskian. Waagenoceras is accompanied by another cyclolobid, Hyattoceras, and the correlation of these ammonoids is with ammonoids in the Word subdivision of the Guadalupian Stage in the USA. Marine waters almost surely came through Sosio in early Guadalupian time. The presumed event is recorded on all paleogeographic maps of the Late Permian.

9. Dead Sea:
The drilling of two wells revealed significant evidence of Permian deposits in the subsurface south of the Dead Sea (Weissbrod, 1969). The foraminifer genus Hemigordiopsis was cited among others as evidence for the Permian, and the foraminifer genus Glomospira and others as evidence for the "Permo--Triassic." Proof of the presence of Guadalupian waters in this area south of the Dead Sea is not yet complete, but the possibility is good.

Farther south Paleozoic sedimentary rocks crop out near the Gulf of Aqaba, but Permian sediments are not present in this southern outcrop. Furthermore, the more southerly of the two wells registers increased sandiness in the assigned Permian sediments. A Guadalupian shoreline between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is a possibility. Even so, it would appear that Guadalupian marine waters came slightly farther south than previously postulated in this easternmost Mediterranean area.

10. Northwest Saudi Arabia:
Location 10 is the most northwesterly outcrop of Permian sediments in the Arabian peninsula. The formation involved is the dominantly limestone Khuff Formation (Powers et al., 1966).

11. Southwest Saudi Arabia:
Location 11 is the most southwesterly outcrop of Permian sediments in the Arabian peninsula. The formation involved is also the Khuff, in this case possibly deposited not far from a shoreline, as there is a considerable amount of terrigenous clastic material in the local Khuff beds.

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Between Locations 10 and 11 an arc of outcrops containing Khuff beds swings through a distance of about 1,200 km. This is obviously one of the world's great Permian marine outcrops, but because of the difficulties of desert exploration and a lack of exploration incentive the recovery of fauna has been relatively poor. Organic remains from the Khuff Formation include the brachiopod Derbyia, the pelecypod Aviculopecten, the gastropod Bellerophon, the cephalopod "Nautilus," bryozoans, echinoid fragments, ostracods, and algae. The evidence from the fauna is far from definitive, but was interpreted by several early authors and by Powers et al. (1966) to indicate a Late Permian age for the Khuff Formation. As the Khuff Formation lies below redbeds believed to contain Permian palynomorphs, t e Khuff Formation probably is an indicator of the Guadalupian Stage or part of the stage. The Khuff outcrop thus may be a manifestation of considerable transgression by Guadalupian waters much farther west and much farther southwest in Saudi Arabia than had been realized by most paleogeographers.

12. South Oman:
Location 12 is approximately the locality of Haima in the southern part of Oman. Definite information concerning the Late Permian fauna is not available. However, in the correlation chart of Tschopp (1967) a comprehensive carbonate column occupies almost the whole of the space devoted to Permian and Triassic in the area sequence. If this is true, and if it is also true that no stratigraphic gaps are hidden in the seemingly continuous carbonate column, Guadalupian waters probably invaded Oman at least as far south as 20°N lat. A southern limit as far south as 19°N lat. is also possible.

13. Kidodi, Tanzania (Tanganyika):
Although some distance inland, this location is part of the general coastal area of eastern Africa. Quennel et al. (1956) described a marine intercalation in an outcrop or outcrops of otherwise continental Karroo rocks between Kidodi and Ruaha. The marine fauna included the pelecypods Gervillia, Myalina, and Modiolopsis, and an indeterminate gastropod. A second marine fauna was reported from Karroo rocks elsewhere in Tanzania but neither a list of genera nor an estimate of age was released. The Kidodi-Ruaha fauna was interpreted to be late-early Beaufort and Late Permian in age.

From an area off coastal Kenya, Gregory (1921) reported the arthropod (branchiopod) genus Estheria in the form of E. greyi, a species reported also from outcropping Karroo beds on the mainland. The Karroo beds are typically nonmarine, but possibly Gregory's E. greyi is indicative of a marine Permian episode. However, it should be remembered that Gregory also included a Triassic age as a possibility for the species.

Farther south, from the Mandawa well in coastal Tanzania (Tanganyika), the operators also recorded E. greyi, as did Furon (1968). Possibly influenced by the fact that the fossil is found within an evaporitic sequence in the Mandawa well, and that the same species or a similar species occurs in the evaporitic Upper Permian Zechstein of northern Europe, Furon decided that the beds containing E. greyi in the Mandawa well were Late Permian in age. However, near the bottom of the well, in what I take to be a thrust slice formed by diapirism, Kent noted that E. greyi occurred above a fish diagnosed as Leptolepis of Triassic age (P. E. Kent, personal commun., 1971). If the evidence of the fish can be reinforced it would seem that at least part of the range of E. greyi is Early Triassic.

I would agree with Kent that the paleoenvironment for the sequences containing evaporites at Mandawa was "paralic." One could substitute the designation "sabkha," especially in the sense that the term connotes coastal flats under highly arid tropical conditions. However, whether the sabkha environment began as early as Late Permian in the area of coastal Tanzania is as yet not completely determined in my opinion. In fact, the evidence from fauna for marine episodes of considerable persistence in Late Permian time leaves something to be desired over the whole of the area of eastern Africa. However, it seems permissible to suppose that Guadalupian shorelines were related to the eastern Africa of their day much as the present shorelines are related to the present eastern Africa. Thus, a ea or ocean may well have skirted east Africa in Guadalupian time just as the Indian Ocean skirts it today.

14. North Malagasy (Madagascar):
Besairie et al. (1936) presumably were the first to describe Permian ammonoids in the northern area. In 1952 Besairie listed a fauna which included the brachiopods Spirifer and Productus and the ammonoids Cyclolobus, Xenaspis, Propinacoceras, and Popanoceras. The presence of the ammonoids Popanoceras (Fig. 2) and Propinacoceras suggests that an Early Permian element is possible in this fauna at the northern end of the island, but the ammonoids Cyclolobus and Xenaspis redress the balance. At any rate Besairie assigned a Late Permian age to the fauna ("Permien superieur"). Actually an early part of the Late Permian is suggested. Thus it may be assumed that Guadalupian waters came across the northern end of Malagasy.

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15. South Malagasy (Madagascar):
Besairie's locality Vohitolia yielded a fauna which, among other genera, showed the brachiopods Productus and Spirifer and the pelecypods Avicula and Myalina. Also present was the marine algal form Anthracoporella. Besairie was unable to correlate the zone at Vohitolia directly with the Upper Permian of the northern end of the island but assumed that the two sections were expressions of a nearly equivalent incursion of marine waters. Later, Besairie and Colignon (1956) decided that the section at Vohitolia could be referred to the Middle Permian ("Permien moyen"). Apparently the Permian paleontologic evidence at the south end of the island of Malagasy is not referable to a single stage or even to two stages. Pending more exact evidence there would appear to be possibility that Guadalupia waters came into the southern end of Malagasy.

16. Salt Range, West Pakistan:
Kummel and Teichert (1970) confirmed extensive fossil faunas found by previous workers in the Salt Range and neighboring ranges and made a precise definition of deposits of Guadalupian age (Wargal Limestone, formerly Middle Productus Limestone). Guadalupian deposits contain an abundant brachiopod fauna accompanied by sponges, corals, bryozoans, pelecypods, gastropods, ostracods, trilobites, fish, and cephalopods. Among the cephalopods is the important ammonoid genus Xenodiscus, also an ammonoid genus which is probably Pseudogastrioceras. According to the Permian Subcommittee (1960) the genus Xenodiscus ranges into post-Guadalupian time. However, in the Salt Range, beds with Xenodiscus lie below beds with the ammonoid Cyclolobus. From this relation the Guadalupian assignment seems on firm ground.

The Salt Range is included in all Late Permian paleogeographic maps.

17. Karampur, West Pakistan:
A well was drilled at Karampur, considerably south of the Salt Range but still in northern West Pakistan. The available records are reported to show that a Permian fauna was recovered (A. A. Meyerhoff, written commun., 1971). Details of taxonomy have not been released but from available information the presence of Upper Permian sedimentary rocks is a plausible assumption.

The interpretation to be placed on results from the Karampur well must remain uncertain, but there is a distinct possibility that Guadalupian waters may have extended a considerable distance south from the Salt Range. Such an extension would move the traditional boundary of Late Permian Tethys correspondingly southward.


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(2) Consultant.

The writer is grateful for the receipt of important correspondence from the following: R. C. Bostrom, D. J. Gobbett, P. E. Kent, R. E. King, B. Kummel, J. F. Mason, A. A. Meyerhoff, P. L. Robinson, A. S. Romer, R. Said, G. G. Simpson, and C. Teichert.

Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists

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