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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter



Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter

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ASFNC newsletter


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter




Alice Springs


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Biology; Natural history; Alice Springs (N.T.); Periodicals

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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club

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Alice Springs


Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club newsletter


Newsletter, August 2016

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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club.



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Alice Springs Field Naturalists Club August 2016 7 The Australian continent was sitting across the equator at this time, and was unlike the continent we see today, with a series of seas covering the northern part of the landmass, so the deposits at Maloney Creek formed in a shallow, warm equatorial sea. The Horn Valley Siltstone, which crops out at various places across the Amadeus basin, was laid down between the Pacoota Sandstone and the Stairway Sandstone. It is estimated to have formed between 472 and 468 million years ago, so at Maloney Creek we are looking at a tiny slice of time in the early Ordovician. Although there is some siltstone at Maloney Creek, we mainly see a hard limestone. The consolation is that it's chock full of fossils. Ordovician waters worldwide were full of the creatures whose remains are common at Maloney Creek, although the fossils are poorly preserved as a result of weathering. As a result , here we find creatures which had hard shells, rather than soft-bodied animals. Not only are the more complex animals such as Trilobites disarticulated (in pieces) which can make them harder to identify, but so are nautiloids, gastropods and brachiopods. Massed Brachiopods, a handful of typical Gastropods, a pyritised Nautiloid and below typical Nautiloid pieces - Maloney Creek fossils found and photographed by Pete and Lisa Nunn. A scientists image of a Nautiloid. Nautiloid cephalopods were one of the top predators in these seas, and sections of their remains are relatively easy to find and to recognise with their cone like shape comprising reasonably well delineated segments. Some even retain the siphuncle (central tube) which they used to adjust their buoyancy. Marine gastropods, bearing some resemblance to garden snails, are also quite recognisable. Trilobites are mainly found as pygidia (tail sections), but tiny spines and sections of carapace can also be spotted, usually jumbled in with a lot of other unrelated bits and pieces. Brachiopods became extremely common in the Ordovician- some slabs of limestone at Maloney Creek appear to be largely made up of them, their shells still shining after millions of years of burial.

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