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Analysis and application of ichnofabrics

Taylor, A., Goldring, R. and Gowland, S. (2003) Analysis and application of ichnofabrics. Earth-Science Reviews, 60 (3-4). pp. 227-259. ISSN 0012-8252

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Bioturbation at all scales, which tends to replace the primary fabric of a sediment by the ichnofabric (the overall fabric of a sediment that has been bioturbated), is now recognised as playing a major role in facies interpretation. The manner in which the substrate may be colonized, and the physical, chemical and ecological controls (grainsize, sedimentation rate, oxygenation, nutrition, salinity, ethology, community structure and succession), together with the several ways in which the substrate is tiered by bioturbators, are the factors and processes that determine the nature of the ichnofabric. Eleven main styles of substrate tiering are described, ranging from single, pioneer colonization to complex tiering under equilibria, their modification under environmental deterioration and amelioration, and diagenetic enhancement or obscuration. Ichnofabrics may be assessed by four attributes: primary sedimentary factors, Bioturbation Index (BI), burrow size and frequency, and ichnological diversity. Construction of tier and ichnofabric constituent diagrams aid visualization and comparison. The breaks or changes in colonization and style of tiering at key stratal surfaces accentuate the surfaces, and many reflect a major environmental shift of the trace-forming biota. due to change in hydrodynamic regime (leading to non-deposition and/or erosion and/or lithification), change in salinity regime, or subaerial exposure. The succession of gradational or abrupt changes in ichnofabric through genetically related successions, together with changes in colonization and tiering across event beds, may also be interpreted in terms of changes in environmental parameters. It is not the ichnotaxa per se that are important in discriminating between ichnofabrics, but rather the environmental conditions that determine the overall style of colonization. Fabrics composed of different ichnotaxa (and different taphonomies) but similar tier structure and ichnoguild may form in similar environments of different age or different latitude. Appreciation of colonization and tiering styles places ancient ichnofabrics on a sound processrelated basis for environmental interpretation. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:4142
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