Algal Fossils from a Late Precambrian, Hypersaline Lagoon

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  27 Jul 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4404, pp. 388-390
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4404.388


Organically preserved algal microfossils from the Ringwood evaporite deposit in the Gillen Member of the Bitter Springs Formation (late Precambrian of central Australia) are of small size, low diversity, and probable prokaryotic affinities. These rather primitive characteristics appear to reflect the stressful conditions that prevailed in a periodically stagnant, hypersaline lagoon. This assemblage (especially in comparison with the much more diverse assemblages preserved in the Loves Creek Member of the same formation) illustrates the potential utility of Proterozoic microbiotas for basin analysis and local stratigraphic correlation and demonstrates the need to base evolutionary considerations and Precambrian intercontinental biostratigraphy on biotas that inhabited less restricted environments.