The age of the Cretaceous Santana Formation fossil Konservat Lagerstätte of north-east Brazil: a historical review and an appraisal of the biochronostratigraphic utility of its palaeobiota

David Martill

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    Abstract

    This paper is concerned with the famous fossil-bearing carbonate concretions of the Romualdo Member of the Santana Formation Konservat Lagerstätten of north-east Brazil. This palaeontologically important horizon was first dated as Cretaceous by the French palaeoichthyologist Louis Agassiz on the basis of fish fossils obtained by Bavarian explorers Spix and Martius between 1817 and 1820 and Scottish botanist and explorer George Gardner between 1836 and 1841. Gardner equated the concretion level with the English Albian ‘Upper Greensands’ on the basis of an imagined similarity of stratigraphic sequence with that of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Since then high precision dating of this remarkable deposit has proved elusive and the concretion-bearing part of the Santana Formation has been variously dated as early Late Cretaceous or late Early Cretaceous. Attempts at greater precision over the last 30 years have cited its age variously as Aptian, Albian or possibly Cenomanian, but few reliable data have been presented to support these dates.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)895-920
    Number of pages26
    JournalCretaceous Research
    Volume28
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

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