Taphonomy of a Panopea Ménard de la Groye, 1807 shell bed from the Pisco Formation (Miocene, Peru)

Giulia BOSIO, Valentina Alice BRACCHI, Elisa MALINVERNO, Alberto COLLARETA, Giovanni COLETTI, Anna GIONCADA, Tomáš KOČÍ, Claudio DI CELMA, Giovanni BIANUCCI & Daniela BASSO

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 20 (8) - Pages 119-140

Published on 02 March 2021

Invertebrate taphonomy can provide significant information about the post-mortem processes that affected the fossil record. In the East Pisco Basin of southern Peru, a Panopea Ménard de la Groye, 1807 shell bed was found in the upper Miocene strata of the Pisco Formation, hinting at a peculiar biostratinomic and diagenetic history. This bed contains abundant invertebrate fossil molds cemented by dolomite. The specimens of the deep infaunal bivalve, Panopea sp., occur together with bivalves representative of shallow infaunal species (Trachycardium sp. and Dosinia ponderosa [Gray, 1838]) and balanid barnacles, which are sessile encrusters. The Panopea specimens host compound molds evidencing an abundant encrusting fauna, including serpulids, ?foraminifera, bryozoans, and barnacles that colonized the inner surfaces of the valves before their final burial. We hypothesize that short-term, storm-related processes exhumed the living bivalves, resulting in a sedimentological concentration of relatively well-preserved shells. After the death of the exhumed bivalves, the inner surfaces of the articulated Panopea shells, representing hard-substratal, sheltered environments on an otherwise unstable sandy seafloor (i.e., “benthic islands”), were colonized by different encrusting organisms. Following the final burial, dolomite precipitated, cementing the sediment infill of the valves. Lastly, a decrease of pH occurred at the sulfate reduction-methanogenesis boundary, inducing the dissolution of the shell carbonate.


Biostratinomy, diagenesis, East Pisco Basin, encrusters, fossil geoduck, dolomite

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