Stratigraphy and age of the Grippia niveau bonebed, Lower Triassic Vikinghøgda Formation, Spitsbergen

We report on a newly excavated Spathian (Lower Triassic) bonebed on Marmierfjellet, Central Spitsbergen. The bonebed contains a varied material of bones and teeth from marine vertebrates along with conodont elements. The fauna of the bonebed could prove interesting in a global context of recovery and speciation after the Late Permian mass extinction. For this reason it is important to place the bonebed in a stratigraphic and chronologic framework. The bonebed sits within the Grippia niveau and is likely to be the one first described by Stensiö in 1921. The bonebed and the Grippia niveau are part of the Vendomdalen Member of the Vikinghøgda Formation. Based on the level in the stratigraphy, the bonebed most likely correlates to the Bajarunia euomphala Zone or the Parasibirites grambergi Zone which makes it either early or early/middle Spathian in age. Some conodont elements from the bonebed are reworked from older sediments but the youngest found are supporting a Spathian age. Vanadium data and TOC content from the bonebed indicate that it was formed under increasingly anoxic conditions.

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