Factors regulating the development of elevator rudist congregations

E. Gili, P. W. Skelton

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Upper Cretaceous carbonate platform deposits show a widespread development of distinctive lenticular to tabular bodies of rock (lithosomes) formed by congregations of upright tubular (elevator') rudist bivalves. Here we discuss the factors that regulated the initiation, consolidation and termination of such lithosomes, based on examples in the Santonian of the southern Central Pyrenees. In the study area, rudist congregations developed between phases of sediment influx from neighbouring source areas. For the initiation of settlement, sedimentation rate evidently had to be very low or nil. The first rudist settlers both provided more hard substrates for subsequent recruitment, and fuelled the in situ formation of bioclastic sediment, leading to the embedding and consolidation of the congregation (both positive feedbacks to establishment). Thereafter, rudist density correlated with inferred sediment destabilization at the benthic boundary layer, which in turn affected rudist recruitment. Thus, successful rudist larval settlement declined with increasing numerical density of individuals in the congregation-a crucial negative feedback mechanism. The density of the rudist congregations could then have been maintained at more or less the same level through time by this stabilizing process, usually involving reworking of their upper parts and/or burial by renewed influxes of sediment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000


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