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Paleohydrological significance of trace fossil distribution in Oligocene fluvial-fan-to-lacustrine systems of the Ebro Basin (Spain)
Gibert Atienza, Jordi Maria de; Sáez, Alberto
Universitat de Barcelona
The ichnological study of fluvial fan and lacustrine Oligocene deposits in the NE Ebro Basin has allowed the recognition of three ichnoassemblages having a strong correlation with depositional facies associations. Lacustrine deposits lack bioturbation due to the hydrologically closed character of the lake that caused hypersalinity and made it inhospitable for benthic life. Terminal lobe deposits of the fluvial fan, which were sedimented in low wetland areas around the lake, bear a moderately diverse ichnoassemblage dominated by horizontal Taenidium barretti, Cochlichnus anguineus and bird footprints (Gruipeda isp.). This assemblage can be assigned to the 'shorebird ichnofacies', a subset of the Scoyenia ichnofacies that characterizes the subaerial part of low-energy shore areas. Crevasse splay deposits in medial fluvial fan areas present a different assemblage also belonging to the Scoyenia ichnofacies. It includes most of the trace fossils found in the terminal lobes, except for the bird tracks, plus very abundant vertical burrows (Taenidium barretti and unnamed ornamented burrows). The presence of deep-tier traces of terrestrial invertebrates is consistent with the more proximal fan setting, having greater relief and consequently a lower mean groundwater position than lowland areas. Fluvial channels only bear irregularly clustered tunnel structures of unknown affinity formed after abandonment of the channel. Thus, trace fossil assemblages are mostly controlled by the position and fluctuations of water tables, which are the cause for their composite nature.
Conques sedimentàries
Ebre, Depressió de l'
Sedimentary basins
Ebro River Watershed (Spain)
(c) Elsevier B.V., 2009
Elsevier B.V.

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