Antarctic Science


Late Miocene Asterozoans (Echinodermata) in the James Ross Island Volcanic Group

Mark Williams a1c1, John L. Smellie a1, Joanne S. Johnson a1 and Daniel B. Blake a2
a1 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
a2 Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 245 NHB, 1301 West Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA

Article author query
williams m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
smellie jl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
johnson js   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
blake db   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Asterozoans (Echinodermata) of Late Miocene age (6.02 ± 0.12 Ma) are preserved as external moulds in water-lain tuffs of the James Ross Island Volcanic Group (JRIVG), James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula. The asterozoans are complete, and appear to represent specimens suffocated after having been pinioned by rapid sedimentation on the distal fringe of an erupting sub-aqueous tuff cone. Although the coarse nature of the host sediments has obliterated the fine morphological detail of the specimens, at least one suggests evidence of entrainment by a turbidity current. A second shows evidence of detachment of the distal tip of one of its arms. In addition to fossil discoveries from glaciomarine sediments, the volcanic tuffs of the JRIVG represent a new source of fossil data that can be used to interpret the ecology and environment of the Antarctic marine shelf biota during the Neogene.

(Received July 18 2005)
(Accepted September 20 2005)

Key Words: fossil asterozoans; James Ross Island Volcanic Group; Late Miocene; volcanic tuffs.

c1 corresponding address: School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Building, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth PO1 3QL, UK