Cephalopods from reef limestone of the Vasalemma Formation, northern Estonia (latest Sandbian, Upper Ordovician) and the establishment of a local warm-water fauna
The cephalopods of the reef limestones of the Vasalemma Formation, northern Estonia, are highly diverse and comprise 22 species belonging to 10 families and seven orders in a sample of >300 specimens. Most of the specimens were collected from shell concentrations in synsedimentary cavities and are interpreted as parautochthonous, washed in from nearby habitats. Nearly all of the shells are fragmented and nearly 15% are partially encrusted by epibionts. The assemblage is dominated by small (mostly less than 30 mm wide), straight-shelled actinocerids and orthocerids; in addition, coiled tarphycerids are common. The high-level taxonomic composition of the Vasalemma cephalopod assemblage, with a dominance of actinocerids and an absence of endocerids, is in agreement with deposition in a warm-water (tropical or subtropical), shallow, subtidal regime. At the species level the assemblage is highly endemic, but the generic composition allows for a statistical comparison with other faunas. A cluster analysis of contemporary assemblages reveals a high degree of similarity with late Sandbian cephalopod faunas of epicontinental Laurentia. The palaeogeographical distribution pattern is similar to that of brachiopods, which supports earlier interpretations of these clusters as mainly controlled by water temperature and depositional depth. Several of the Vasalemma genera became conspicuous elements of epicontinental Laurentia during the Katian, which emphasizes that immigration towards Laurentia was an important factor in Late Ordovician diversity dynamics. Of the described taxa, the following are new: Beloitoceras cautis sp. nov., Curtoceras abditus sp. nov., Hemibeloitoceras arduum sp. nov., H. molis sp. nov., Hoeloceras muroni sp. nov., Isorthoceras cavi sp. nov., I. maris sp. nov., I. padisense sp. nov., I. vexilli sp. nov., Ordogeisonoceras tartuensis sp. nov., Orthonybyoceras isakari sp. nov., O. moisense sp. nov., Pleurorthoceras organi sp. nov., Rummoceras rummuensis gen. et sp. nov. and Trocholites gennadii sp. nov.