Integrated stratigraphical study of the Rhuddanian-Aeronian (Llandovery, Silurian) boundary succession in the Rheidol Gorge, Wales: A proposed Global Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Aeronian Stage

Michael J. Melchin*, Jeremy R. Davies, Arnoud Boom, Julie DE WEIRDT, Andrew J. McIntyre, Catherine Russell, Thijs R.A. Vandenbroucke, Jan A. Zalasiewicz

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The Rheidol Gorge section, approximately 17 km east of Aberystwyth, mid Wales, exposes a ca. 20 m-thick succession of Llandovery (Silurian) strata from the upper Rhuddanian Pernerograptus revolutus Biozone through the lower Aeronian Demirastrites triangulatus Biozone and basal Neodiplograptus magnus Biozone. The section records deposition under a range of bottom-water oxygenation states. The Rhuddanian-Aeronian boundary is located 0.8 m above an abrupt lithological change from predominantly organic-poor, bioturbated ‘oxic’ mudrocks to an interval of black, richly graptolitic ‘anoxic’ shales. The graptolite fauna through the boundary interval, including the local lowest occurrence of D. triangulatus, allows precise correlation with other parts of the world. Graptolite assemblages indicative of separate divisions in the underlying revolutus Biozone and of the lower and upper parts of the triangulatus Biozone are also present. Chitinozoans are relatively well preserved in the section and indicate the Spinachitina maennili Biozone throughout the boundary interval, as is widely the case. The results of carbon isotope analyses from organic matter indistinctly show the weak interval of positive shift in δ13Corg values through the Rhuddanian-Aeronian boundary interval, as observed globally, though local or regional processes appear largely to overprint the global signal. Overall, the excellent biostratigraphical record, well-documented local and regional stratigraphical context, historical significance, as well as easy access and assured longterm preservation, mean that the Rheidol Gorge section can be proposed as a strong candidate for a new Global Stratotype Section and Point for the base of the Aeronian Stage.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalLethaia
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Aeronian
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Chitinozoa
  • Global Stratotype Section and Point
  • Graptolites
  • Llandovery
  • Rhuddanian
  • Silurian

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