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Tribes Hill–Rochdale formations in east Laurentia: proxies for Early Ordovician (Tremadocian) eustasy on a tropical passive margin (New York and west Vermont)

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  • Published online: 09 August 2011

Slow subsidence and tectonic quiescence along the New York Promontory margin of Laurentia mean that the carbonate-dominated Tribes Hill and overlying Rochdale formations serve as proxies for the magnitude and timing of Tremadocian eustatic changes. Both formations are unconformity-bound, deepening–shoaling, depositional sequences that double in thickness from the craton into the parautochthonous, western Appalachian Mountains. A consistent, ‘layer cake’ succession of member-level units of the formations persists through this region. The Tribes Hill Formation (late early Tremadocian, late Skullrockian, late Fauna B–Rossodus manitouensis Chron) unconformably overlies the terminal Cambrian Little Falls Formation as the lowest Ordovician unit on the New York Promontory. It was deposited during the strong early Tremadocian, or Stonehenge, transgression that inundated Laurentia, brought dysoxic/anoxic (d/a) slope water onto the shelf and led to deposition of the Schaghticoke d/a interval (black mudstone and ‘ribbon limestone’) on the Laurentian continental slope. The uniform lithofacies succession of the Tribes Hill includes a lower sand-rich member; a middle, dark grey to black mudstone that records d/a in eastern exposures; and an upper, shoaling-up carbonate highstand facies. A widespread (12000+ km2) thrombolitic interval in the highstand carbonate suggests the New York Promontory was rimmed by thrombolites during deposition of the Tribes Hill. Offlap and erosion of the Tribes Hill was followed by the relatively feeble sea-level rise of the Rochdale transgression (new) in Laurentia, and deposition of the Rochdale Formation. The Rochdale transgression, correlated with the Kierograptus Drowning Interval in Baltica, marks a eustatic rise. The Rochdale Formation represents a short Early Ordovician interval (early late Tremadocian, middle–late Stairsian, Macerodus dianae Chron). It correlates with a depositional sequence that forms the middle Boat Harbour Formation in west Newfoundland and with the Rte 299 d/a interval on the east Laurentian slope. The Rochdale has a lower carbonate with abundant quartz silt (Comstock Member, new) and an upper, thrombolitic (Hawk Member, new) high-stand facies. Tribes Hill and Rochdale faunas are mollusc-rich, generally trilobite-poor, and have low diversity, Laurentian faunal province conodonts. Ulrichodina rutnika Landing n. sp. is rare in Rochdale conodont assemblages. Trilobites are also low in diversity, but locally form coquinas in the middle Tribes Hill. The poorly preserved Rochdale trilobites include the bathyurid Randaynia, at least two hystricurid species and Leiostegium.

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