Oxford Clay Formation

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Oxford Clay (Jurassic) exposed near Weymouth, England.

The Oxford Clay Formation is a Jurassic marine sedimentary rock formation underlying much of southeast England, from as far west as Dorset and as far north as Yorkshire. The Oxford Clay is of middle Callovian to lower Oxfordian age and comprises 2 main facies. The lower facies comprises the Peterborough Member, a fossiliferous organic-rich mudstone. This facies and its rocks are commonly known as lower Oxford Clay. The upper facies comprises the middle Oxford Clay, the Stewartby Member, and the upper Oxford Clay, the Weymouth Member. The upper facies is a fossil poor assemblage of calcareous mudstones.

Oxford Clay appears at the surface around Oxford, Peterborough and Weymouth and is exposed in many quarries around these areas. The top of the Lower Oxford Clay shows a lithological change, where fissile shale changes to grey mudstone. The Middle and Upper Oxford Clays differ slightly, as they are separated by an argillaceous limestone in the South Midlands.

The Callovo-Oxfordian Clay also occurs in the Paris basin (France) and it is a potential host formation to dispose high-level radioactive waste in France.

Palaeontology[edit]

The Oxford Clay is well known for its rich fossil record of fish and invertebrates.[1] Many of the fossils are well preserved, occasionally some are found exceptionally well preserved. Animals which lived in the Oxford Clay Sea include plesiosaurs, marine crocodiles, ichthyosaurs, cephalopods (such as belemnites), bivalves (such as Gryphaea), and a variety of gastropods. Dinosaur eggs are stratigraphically present in the Lower Oxford Clay. Geographically, they are located in Cambridgeshire, England.[2]

Ornithischians[edit]

Indeterminate euornithopod remains stratigraphically present in the Lower Oxford Clay and geographically located in Cambridgeshire, England.[2]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Ornithischians of the Oxford Clay
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Callovosaurus

C. leedsi[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

"Femur."[3]

Lexovisaurus[4]

L. durobivensis[5]

Lower[5]

Indeterminate[7]

  • Bedfordshire[8]

Loricatosaurus[2]

L. priscus[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

Omosaurus[2]

O. leedsi[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

Sarcolestes[2]

S. leedsi[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

"Partial mandible."[9]

Saurischians[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Saurischians of the Oxford Clay
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Cetiosauriscus[2]

C. stewarti[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

"Rear half of a skeleton."[10]

Eustreptospondylus[11]

E. oxoniensis[11]

Middle[11]

Disarticulated skull and skeleton, with some referred limb elements.[12]

"Ornithopsis"

O. leedsi[2]

  • Cambridgeshire[2]

Lower[2]

An indeterminate titanosauriform.[13]

Sauropoda

Indeterminate[14]

Theropoda

Indeterminate[11]

Middle[11]

Plesiosaurs[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Genus Species Location Member Abundance Notes Images

Cryptocleidus

C. eurymerus

A cryptoclidid

C. richardsoni

A cryptoclidid

Liopleurodon

L. ferox

A thalassophonean pliosaurid

L. pachydeirus

A thalassophonean pliosaurid

Marmornectes

M. candrewi

A pliosaurid

Muraenosaurus

M. leedsi

A cryptoclidid

Pachycostasaurus

P. dawnii

A pliosaurid

Peloneustes

P. philarchus

A thalassophonean pliosaurid

Picrocleidus

P. beloclis

A cryptoclidid

"Pliosaurus"

"P." andrewsi

A thalassophonean pliosaurid; represents a new genus distinct from Pliosaurus

Simolestes

S. vorax

A thalassophonean pliosaurid

Thalattosuchians[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Genus Species Location Member Abundance Notes Images

Gracilineustes

G. leedsi

A metriorhynchine metriorhynchid

Metriorhynchus

M. superciliosus

A metriorhynchine metriorhynchid

Steneosaurus

S. durobrivensis

A teleosaurid

S. edwardsi

A teleosaurid

S. leedsi

A teleosaurid

S. obtusidens

A teleosaurid

Suchodus

S. brachyrhynchus

A geosaurine metriorhynchid

S. durobrivensis

A geosaurine metriorhynchid

Tyrannoneustes[15]

T. lythrodectikos

A geosaurine metriorhynchid

Uses[edit]

Oxford Clay has a porous consistency and is soft and is often used in the making of roads. It is also the source of the Fletton stock brick of which much of London is built. For brick making, the Oxford Clay has the advantage of containing carbon which provides part of the fuel required in firing it so reducing the requirement for an external fuel source.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Martill, D.M.; Hudson J.D. (1991). Fossils of the Oxford Clay. Palaeontological Association. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "10.9 Cambridgeshire, England; 1. Lower Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 540.
  3. ^ "Table 18.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 396.
  4. ^ Weishampel, et al. (2004). Pages 539-540.
  5. ^ a b "10.7 Dorset, England; 3. Lower Oxford Clay" and "cambridgeshire">"10.9 Cambridgeshire, England; 1. Lower Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Pages 539-540.
  6. ^ "10.7 Dorset, England; 3. Lower Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 539.
  7. ^ Listed as "?Lexovisaurus sp." in "10.10 Bedfordshire, England; 1. Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 540.
  8. ^ "10.10 Bedfordshire, England; 1. Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 540.
  9. ^ "Table 17.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 367.
  10. ^ "Table 13.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 265.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "10.14 Oxfordshire, England; 8. Middle Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 540.
  12. ^ "Table 4.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 72.
  13. ^ Mannion, P. D., Upchurch P., Barnes R. N., & Mateus O. (2013). Osteology of the Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropod dinosaur Lusotitan atalaiensis (Macronaria) and the evolutionary history of basal titanosauriforms. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 1-109.
  14. ^ a b "10.14 Wiltshire, England; 4. Oxford Clay," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 540.
  15. ^ Mark T. Young, Marco Brandalise de Andrade, Stephen L. Brusatte, Manabu Sakamoto and Jeff Liston (2013). "The oldest known metriorhynchid super-predator: a new genus and species from the Middle Jurassic of England, with implications for serration and mandibular evolution in predacious clades". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 11 (4): 475–513. doi:10.1080/14772019.2012.704948. 

References[edit]

  • Andrews, C. W. (1910). "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Marine Reptiles of the Oxford Clay, Part I". British Museum (Natural History), London, England: 205 pp.
  • Andrews, CW. 1913. A descriptive catalogue of the Marine Reptiles of the Oxford Clay, Part II. British Museum (Natural History). pp. 205pp.
  • M. J. Benton and P. S. Spencer. 1995. Fossil Reptiles of Great Britain. Chapman & Hall, London 1-386
  • J. B. Delair. 1973. The dinosaurs of Wiltshire. The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine 68:1-7
  • P. M. Galton. 1980. European Jurassic ornithopod dinosaurs of the families Hypsilophodontidae and Camptosauridae. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen 160(1):73-95
  • D. M. Martill. 1988. A review of the terrestrial vertebrate of fossils of the Oxford Clay (Callovian-Oxfordian) of England. Mercian Geologist 11(3):171-190
  • Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. 861 pp. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.