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Silurian brachiopod faunas, Yass Syncline – taxonomy and biostratigraphy

Desmond L. Strusz

Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia


A paper on the rhynchonellide species in the Yass fauna, previously undescribed, has been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW, with an expected publication date of February 2009. Work is well advanced on revising, and adding to, the species of spiriferide brachiopods from the same succession. This will also involve revision of some species known from the slightly older succession in Canberra. The only remaining aspect of the study will be a compilation of all the biostratigraphic data, for presentation at the next Brachiopod Congress in Melbourne in February 2010.

Sections on Silurian stratigraphy and palaeontology were provided for the recent publication on the geology of the Canberra region compiled by D. Finlayson and published by the ACT Division of the Geological Society of Australia, and I was one of the few involved in reviewing and editing the whole volume. I was also involved in editing a generalized geological map of the ACT prepared by R.S. Abell and D. McCue also under the auspices of the Geological Society of Australia.

As a result of recent excavations in the heritage area on Woolshed Creek, Pialligo, large collections have been made which will be used to revise the species present, particularly the dominant one (Atrypa duntroonensis). It was this species which was recognized by Rev. W.B. Clarke as being, for the first time, an indicator of the presence in Australia of Silurian rocks. This study will follow completion of the Yass study, and will be the start of further work on the brachiopod faunas of the Canberra region.

I was consulted by the contractors and Heritage ACT on the possible impact of the work on the Woolshed Creek heritage site, and as a result of that early involvement the workers have been extremely cooperative and interested in preserving as much as possible – the original outcrops are untouched.