MP9: Part B: Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve Field Trip Guidebook
by Alex Liu, Jack Matthews, L.G. Herringshaw and Duncan McIlroy.
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This chapter is from GAC's Miscellaneous Publication 9: "Ichnology: Papers from Ichnia III" editted by Dr. Duncan McIlroy. To purchase the entire book on disc, please see the Miscellaneous Publications section of our bookstore at http://www.gac.ca/publications/view_pub.php?id=262.
This fieldtrip will introduce you to the late Ediacaran paleobiology and ichnology of Newfoundland, and will touch upon some of the most interesting current debates and research areas in this field. Newfoundland contains some of the worlds best exposures of latest Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions. Although Cryogenian and early Ediacaran sedimentary units are not exposed in Newfoundland, deposits relating to the Gaskiers glaciation (considered by some to represent the final Snowball Earth event), and extensive late Ediacaran fossil-bearing units, are well displayed and have been the subject of extensive study.
The localities on this trip span some of the major events in biotic and evolutionary history. The Avalon Peninsula enables study of the emergence of the macroscopic Ediacaran biota, a distinctive and enigmatic group of macroorganisms. This region contains important elements of ichnological interest. The base of the Cambrian Period is defined by the first appearance of the simple vertical burrow Treptichnus pedum on the nearby Burin Peninsula (Brasier et al., 1994), and spectacular assemblages of abundant trace fossils can be found within a few metres of that boundary. Meanwhile, the debate surrounding the phylogenetic affinities of the Ediacaran biota may be informed by horizontal surface traces dated at ~565 Ma from Mistaken Point (Fig. A), on the Avalon Peninsula (Liu et al., 2010a), which potentially document the earliest known metazoan trace fossils in the geological record. Participants are invited to examine both of these localities on this trip, along with several others that put these specimens into a geological
and evolutionary context.
The localities we will visit are located within some of the most beautiful coastal areas in Canada. It is hoped that you will find the trip both intellectually stimulating, and refreshingly relaxing.
Geological Association of Canada
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