Life in an ancient sea of sand: trace fossil associations and their paleoecological implications in the Upper Triassic/Lower Jurassic Nugget Sandstone, Northeastern Utah

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Mines & Earth Sciences
Department Geology & Geophysics
Author Good, Thomas Roger
Title Life in an ancient sea of sand: trace fossil associations and their paleoecological implications in the Upper Triassic/Lower Jurassic Nugget Sandstone, Northeastern Utah
Date 2013-12
Description The Nugget Sandstone is a Triassic/Jurassic eolianite in western North America. It represents a portion of one of the largest dune environments to have ever existed in the geologic record. Paleontological interest in the Nugget Sandstone has grown in recent years upon numerous discoveries of vertebrate and invertebrate body fossils, trace fossils, and plant fossils. Invertebrate trace fossils in the Nugget Sandstone near Vernal, Utah, are identified, described and highlighted in this study, with an overview of past fossil discoveries in the Nugget and Navajo sandstones. Invertebrate trace fossils in this area include Entradichnus meniscus, Entradichnus isp., Planolites beverleyensis, Taenidium isp. "A," Taenidium isp. "B," Skolithos and Planolites isp., ‘burrow clusters', ‘large oblique burrows', ‘flared burrows', Paleohelcura, and Octopodichnus. Arthropods, such as insects and arachnids, are considered possible trace makers. Vertebrate trace fossils of this same area include Brasilichnium, Grallator, Eubrontes, Brachychirotherium, Pseudotetrasauropus, Tetrasauropus, and Otozoum. Possible sphenophytes, cycads, and algal build-ups comprise the evidence for primary production in the ecosystem. Sediment moisture must have played a key role in the production and preservation of all trace fossils in the Nugget Sandstone. Because of this, these trace fossils indicate that moisture was important for supporting such complex ecosystems, and that extended wet climatic intervals must have persisted intermittently between arid intervals. With fossil evidence for primary production, herbivorous insects, and carnivorous arachnids provided in this thesis, as well as indirect evidence for environmental moisture content during deposition of the Nugget Sandstone, a more complete picture of the paleoecology of this ancient sea of sand can be constructed.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Entradichnus; Fossils; Ichnology; Nugget; Sandstone; Trace
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Master of Science
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Thomas Roger Good 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 2,888,985 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/2610
ARK ark:/87278/s6jm5jtz
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2014-01-10
Date Modified 2017-08-09
ID 196185
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6jm5jtz