This study provides new insights about depositional paleoenvironments through siliciclastic microfacies, carbonate microfacies, and biofacies analysis from sedimentary formations of the lower and middle Cambrian (Stage 4–Wuliuan), exposed in central Sonora, northern Mexico. Results of the petrographic analysis of 48 samples revealed the following lithologies: quartzarenite, oncolytic rudstone, grainstone-packstone, wackestone, mudstone, and to a lesser extent sandy limestone. Two siliciclastic microfacies were identified: (A) quartzarenite with cross-bedded and horizontal stratification deposited in an intertidal and supratidal environment; and (B) massive quartzarenite with Skolithos ichnofacies deposited in subtidal and intertidal environments. Four carbonate microfacies were identified: microfacies 1 is a sandy limestone with trilobite fragments; microfacies 2 is a grainstone with intraclasts, salterellids, hyolithids, trilobites, and echinoderms plates; microfacies 3 is an oncolytic rudstone consisting of microbes and abundant echinoderms plates; and microfacies 4 is a packstone-grainstone with abundant ooids, trilobite fragments, and echinoderm plates. Two biofacies were identified: Agnostid-polymeroid biofacies with predominance of the trilobites Pentagnostus, Bathyuriscus, Oryctocephalites, and Elrathina; and Pagetia biofacies with abundant trilobites of the genera Pentagnostus, Pagetia and Elrathina. It is concluded by the sedimentation model that changes in sea level is the most important parameter in determining the siliciclastic microfacies, carbonate microfacies and biofacies; as well as the depositional environments that vary from the coastline (subtidal to supratidal) to shallow-water open circulation marine platform with low and high energy waters. The Cambrian deposits of northern Mexico are correlated with the deposits of California and Nevada (USA), as well as to the Precordillera (Argentina), where the species in common show a strong affinity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank the financial support provided by the project PRODEP UNISON-PTC-301 “Paleoecología de los ecosistemas marinos del Cámbrico de Sonora, México: bioestratigrafía, paleobiogeografía y su relación con el cratón de Norteamérica”. We also thank the Department of Geology at the University of Sonora. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions greatly help to improve the final manuscript.
- carbonate microfacies