Matanuska Formation

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Matanuska Formation
Stratigraphic range: Late Cretaceous
TypeGeological formation
Location
RegionNorth America

The Matanuska Formation consists of more than 3 km (1.9 mi) of sedimentary strata exposed in the northern Chugach Mountains, Matanuska Valley, and southern Talkeetna Mountains of South-Central Alaska.[1] The Matanuska Formation contains strata from Early Cretaceous (Albian) to Late Cretaceous (Maestrichtian).[2] Parts of the formation contain abundant marine mollusks, foraminifera, and radiolaria. Fossils of non-marine plants are found in some beds. Fossils of two dinosaurs have been recovered from marine mudstones in the formation.[3][4] The lower Matanuska Formation (MF) is several hundred meters thick and includes non-marine and marine sediments. Campanian-Maastrichtian graded sandstone, conglomerate, and mudstone comprise the upper 2000 meters of the Formation.[1]

Invertebrate paleofauna[edit]

Annelida[edit]

Calcareous worm tube fossils are known from the formation.[5]

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.
Annelids reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes

Planolites[6]

Indeterminate[6]

Bivalves[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.
Bivalves reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Acila[5]

A. (Truncacila) sp.[5]

Inoceramus[5]

I. cuvieri[7]

I. hobetsensis[8]

I. mamatensis[9]

I. teshioensis[10]

Nucula[5]

Indeterminate[5]

Teredolites[5]

Indeterminate[5]

Cephalopods[edit]

The formation's thin shelled heteromorphic ammonites probably lived at depths of 36–183 m.[11] The formation's ammonites generally suggest that its rock were of Turonian age.[12]

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.
Cephalopods reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes

Eubostrychoceras[13]

E. japonicum[13]

Eubostrychoceras is known from Japan, Germany, and Madagascar.[14] E. japonicum is Turonian, and likely confined to the middle Turonian.[15]

Gaudryceras[16]

G. denseplicatum[16]

Mesopusozia[17]

M. indopacifica[17]

Muramotoceras[18]

M. yezoense[18]

Muramotoceras is an unusual heteromorph previously known only from Japan. It is also middle Turonian.[12]

Otoscaphites[5]

O. teshioensis[5]

Synonym of Yezoites.[5]

Sciponoceras[5]

Indeterminate[5]

Tetragonites[19]

T. glabrus[19]

Yezoites[5]

Y. puerculus[5]

Cnidarians[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.
Cnidarians reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes

Platycanthus[20]

Indeterminate[20]

Small solitary hexacoral.[20]

Gastropods[edit]

An unidentified naticid snail is known from the formation.[5]

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.
Gastropods reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes

Biplica[21]

Indeterminate[21]

Opisthobranch

Porifera[edit]

A sponge spicule fragment is known from the formation.[5]

Scaphopods[edit]

Scaphopods reported from the Matanuska Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes

Dentalium[5]

Indeterminate[5]

Vertebrate paleofauna[edit]

Cartilaginous Fish[edit]

Mako-like shark teeth are known from the formation.[5]

Ray-finned fish[edit]

Other fish fossils include teeth, jaw fragments and scales.[5]

Dinosaurs[edit]

Tylosaurus proriger may have scavenged the Matanuska hadrosaur's remains after it drifted out to sea.

In 1994, excavations for road material uncovered a hadrosaur specimen near the Glenn Highway, approximately 150 miles northeast of Anchorage.[22] That Fall, excavation began on the specimen, now known as the "Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur" and concluded in the summer of 1996.[23] The rocks containing the specimen were part of the formation's Member Four.[24] The specimen is now housed at the University of Alaska Museum.[23] It was formally described for the scientific literature by Pasch and May in 2001.[25] The location of the specimen makes it significant as a biogeographic link between the hadrosaurs of North America and Asia.[25] It was also the first associated skeleton of an individual dinosaur in Alaska.[25]

Their examination of the specimen found the "Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur" to be a juvenile animal about 3 m (10 feet) long.[26] It preserves the bones of the forelimbs, part of the front feet, ribs, and tail vertebrae. Other remains probably include the back vertebrae and pelvis.[27] The researchers could not tell if the Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur was a hadrosaurid or lambeosaurid.[28]

Pasch and May also attempted to reconstruct how the Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur came to be preserved in the fossil record. They determined that the specimen formed from the remains of a hadrosaur carcass that had bloated with gasses and been washed out to sea. Since none of the skull bones were present, the head must have fallen off before the carcass sank to the seafloor.[29] The associated heteromorphic ammonites and inoceramid bivalves indicate that the Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur was buried at a depth greater than 35 m.[30] The body came to rest on its left side with limbs outstretched.[29] Pyrite was present in the rocks around the specimen, and may have formed from sulfur given off by the bacteria consuming the carcass.[31]

About 20% of the hadrosaur's bones were enveloped by calcareous concretions but every single bone not found in a concretion bore many closely spaced ovualar conical depressions. These ranged in diameter from 2.1 to 5.8 mm and from 1.6 to 3.6 mm deep.[32] The damage to the body must have occurred after it drifted out to sea because if the damage had occurred beforehand, it likely would have punctured the body, preventing the buildup of bloating gases that allowed the carcass to drift out to sea in the first place.[33] The depressions are the wrong shape to have been gastropod or sponge borings, so they are probably bite marks. However, none of the teeth belonging to the fishes preserved in the Matanuska Formation fit the size or arrangement of the bite marks. Pasch and May therefore ruled them out as candidates for the bite marks' origin.[34]

Nevertheless, the size, spacing, and shape of the marks were similar to those of teeth from the mosasaur species Tylosaurus proriger.[33] The distribution of bite marks corresponds inversely to the presence of flesh in the animal.[33] For instance, lower limb bones sustained the most damage because there was the least amount of flesh shielding the bones at those locations.[33] The largest parts of the animal would have been too large for the scavenging mosasaur to completely wrap its jaws around, and these are the areas around which the concretions formed.[33] By contrast, the bones pulled free from the carcass were buried in the mud, which later lithified as mudstone.[33]

Lizards[edit]

Nevertheless, the size, spacing, and shape of apparent bite marks on the bones of the Talkeetna Mountains Hadrosaur were similar to those of teeth from the mosasaur species Tylosaurus proriger, suggests that some similar animal swam in the waters of the Matanuska Formation's depositional environment.[33]

Paleoflora[edit]

Palynomorphs[edit]

  • Lycopodophyta: One Species[5]
  • Pteridophyta: Sixty-Nine Species[5]
  • Ginkgophyta: Nine Species[5]
  • Cycadophyta: Nine Species[5]
  • Pinophyta: Nine Species[5]
  • Anthophyta: Five Species[5]

Trees[edit]

Fragments of petrified wood are known from the formation.[5]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Trop (2003).
  2. ^ Merritt (1985).
  3. ^ Weishampel, et al. (2004).
  4. ^ Pasch and May (1997).
  5. ^ 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 z aa ab "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  6. ^ a b Listed as "Planolites sp. (?)" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  7. ^ Listed as "Inoceramus aff. I. cuvieri" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  8. ^ Listed as "Inoceramus aff. I. hobetsensis" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  9. ^ Listed as "Inoceramus aff. I. mamatensis" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  10. ^ Listed as "Inoceramus aff. I. teshioensis" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  11. ^ "Paleoecologic Context," Pasch and May (2001); page 224.
  12. ^ a b "Age of the Bone-Bearing Unit," Pasch and May (2001); page 220.
  13. ^ a b Listed as "Eubostrychoceras cf. japonicum" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  14. ^ "Age of the Bone-Bearing Unit," Pasch and May (2001); pages 220-222.
  15. ^ "Age of the Bone-Bearing Unit," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  16. ^ a b Listed as "Gaudryceras aff. G. denseplicatum" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  17. ^ a b Listed as "Mesopuzosia cf. indopacifica" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  18. ^ a b Listed as "Muramotoceras aff. G. yezoense" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  19. ^ a b Listed as "Tetragonites aff. T. glabrus" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  20. ^ a b c Listed as "Small solitary hexacoral (Platycanthus?)" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  21. ^ a b Listed as "Biplica (or similar opisthobranch)" "Table 16.1," Pasch and May (2001); page 222.
  22. ^ "Location and Geologic Setting," Pasch and May (2001); page 220.
  23. ^ a b "Introduction," Pasch and May (2001); page 220.
  24. ^ "Age of the Bone-Bearing Unit," Pasch and May (2001); page 223.
  25. ^ a b c "Abstract," Pasch and May (2001); page 219.
  26. ^ "Hadrosaur Skeletal Material from the Talkeetna Mountains," Pasch and May (2001); page 223.
  27. ^ "Figure 16.3," Pasch and May (2001); page 224.
  28. ^ "Hadrosaur Skeletal Material from the Talkeetna Mountains," Pasch and May (2001); page 224.
  29. ^ a b "Taphonomy," Pasch and May (2001); page 228.
  30. ^ "Paleoecologic Context," Pasch and May (2001); page 228.
  31. ^ "Paleoecologic Context," Pasch and May (2001); page 226.
  32. ^ "Taphonomy," Pasch and May (2001); page 229.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g "Taphonomy," Pasch and May (2001); page 233.
  34. ^ "Taphonomy," Pasch and May (2001); page 230.

References[edit]

  • Merritt, Roy D. (October 1985). "Coal Atlas of the Matanuska Valley, Alaska" (PDF). Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.
  • Pasch, Anne D.; May, Kevin C. (1997). "First occurrence of a hadrosaur (Dinosauria) from the Matanuska Formation (Turonian) in the Talkeetna Mountains of south-central-Alaska" (PDF). Short Notes on Alaska Geology 1997: 99–110.
  • Pasch, A. D., K. C. May. 2001. Taphonomy and paleoenvironment of hadrosaur (Dinosauria) from the Matanuska Formation (Turonian) in South-Central Alaska. In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life. Ed.s Tanke, D. H., Carpenter, K., Skrepnick, M. W. Indiana University Press. Pages 219-2
  • Trop, Jeffrey M. (2003). "Sedimentology, Palynology, and Petrology of the Cretaceous Matanuska Formation, South-Central Alaska: Relationship Between Forearc Basin Development and Accretionary Tectonic Events". The Geological Society of America.
  • Weishampel, David B; et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution (Late Cretaceous, North America)". In Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.) (eds.). The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 574–588. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)