Cambrian stratigraphy (Series 2 to Miaolingian) of the El Sahuaral area in central Sonora, Mexico: Biostratigraphic implications

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The lower and middle Cambrian strata exposed in the state of Sonora, Mexico, consists of sequences of quartzarenite, limestone, shale and dolomite exposed in several localities, mainly in the northwestern and central regions of Sonora. Approximately 800 m interval of Cambrian marine sedimentary rocks are exposed in the El Sahuaral area, a new Cambrian locality in central Sonora. The sedimentary succession of these marine facies is divided into five lithostratigraphic units previously documented in Mexico: Proveedora, Buelna, Cerro Prieto, El Gavilán and El Tren formations. The Proveedora Formation is the oldest sequence of Cambrian strata in the region and consists of a 168 m thick sequence of bioturbated, fine-grained quartzarenite. The Buelna Formation conformably overlies the Proveedora Formation in the El Sahuaral and adjacent areas and consists of 70 m of interbedded limestone and shale, with abundant fragments of olenellid trilobites from either the Bristolia mohavensis or Bristolia insolens zones (Series 2, Stage 4). The overlying Cerro Prieto Formation is composed of a 70 m thick sequence of recrystallized oolitic limestone with possible fragments of Amecephalus arrojosensis, suggesting the Amecephalus arrojosensis Zone (uppermost Series 2, Stage 4). The El Gavilán Formation conformably overlies the Cerro Prieto Formation with a thickness of 225 m; it is composed of interbedded limestone and shale deposited in a marine open shelf environment, with abundant fauna of the upper Ehmaniella Zone (Altiocculus Subzone), Ptychagnostus praecurrens - Ptychagnostus gibbus Zone (Miaolingian Series, Wuliuan Stage). The El Tren Formation, reported by the first time in central Sonora, conformably overlies the El Gavilán Formation and consists of 250 m thick sequence of dolomitic limestone with unidentified trilobite fragments. The Cambrian deposits of central Sonora present marine facies that vary from the littoral zone to open marine shelf, accumulated in the western part of the North American craton and contains an abundant and diverse biota comprised by cyanobacteria, poriferans, brachiopods, trilobites, and echinoderms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102797
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the financial support provided by CONACYT through a scholarship award given to the first author, and to 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 Departamento de Geología and Posgrado en Biociencias, from the Universidad de Sonora, for the support given to carry out this research. We thank Dr. Mark Webster (University of Chicago), Dr. Josep A. Moreno Bedmar (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and an anonymous reviewer for their important and constructive comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cambrian
  • Miaolingian
  • Series 2
  • Sonora
  • Stratigraphy
  • Trilobites


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