High resolution ammonite stratigraphy of the Charmouth Mudstone Formation (Lower Jurassic: Sinemurian-Lower Pliensbachian) in south-west England, UK

Kevin PAGE


The “Lower Lias” mudrocks of the Charmouth Mudstone Formation inWest Dorset coast are world famous for their ammonite faunas, which range from mid Lower Sinemurian (Semicostatum Chronozone) to Lower Pliensbachian (topmost Davoei Chronozone) in age. The succession includes significant non-sequences, however, and as certain other intervals yield only crushed and relatively poorly preserved material, much of the sequence of ammonite faunas of this interval in south-west England has remained poorly understood. Inland, however, although it has been realised for many years that some of the missing horizons reappear, the Formation is very poorly exposed and asa consequence little has been known about its detailed stratigraphy and palaeontology. The systematic recording over 40 years by Mr H.C. Prudden (Montacute) of temporary excavations in East Somerset (around 20 km north of the Dorset coast), combined with material collected by others from similar exposures has now, however, revealed a virtually complete sequence of ammonite faunas through the interval represented by the Formation including from many of the which are missing on the Dorset coast. In particular, only one subchronozone remains to be conclusively proven in the region, the terminal Sinemurian, Aplanatum Subchronozone (Raricostatum Chronozone). This faunal succession iscorrelated with that on the coast to provide a detailed synthesis of the sequence of ammonite biohorizons in the region, which is correlated with a contemporary Standard Zonation and igh-resolution biohorizonal/ zonule scheme for interval in North-West Europe. The significance for regional and international correlations of the Lower Lias is also discussed.


ammonites; high-resolution stratigraphy; correlation; Jurassic; Sinemurian; Pliensbachian; Somerset; Dorset

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