Deep-sea trace fossils from the Numidian Formation (Upper Oligocene–Lower Miocene) in the Ouarsenis Mountains, northwestern Algeria

Bouabdellah Menzoul, Alfred Uchman, Mohamed Adaci, Mustapha Bensalah


Trace fossils and lithofacies have been studied for the first time in the Numidian Formation (Upper Oligocene–Lower Miocene) of the Ouarsenis Mountains in Algeria to interpret their depositional environment. Twenty-two ichnogenera have been recognized in eight lithofacies of three main facies associations in four representative sections. Distribution of the trace fossils is dependent on the facies. Most trace fossils are dominated by post-depositional forms (62%) and occur in fine-grained, thin-bedded sandstones of facies F4. They belong to the Ophiomorpha rudis, Paleodictyon and the Nereites ichnosubfacies of the Nereites ichnofacies. The O. rudis ichnosubfacies is recorded in 1) medium- to very thick-bedded sandstones of the facies association FA1, interbedded with thinner sandstone beds of the facies F2 and F4 in the upper unit of the sections studied, which were deposited in channel fill and levee-overbank environments, and in 2) medium- to thin-bedded sandstones of the facies association FA2 in the lower unit of the Kef Maiz and the Ain Ghanem sections, which were deposited in isolated narrow channels within the mud-dominated part of the depositional system and occasionally fed with turbiditic sand. The Paleodictyon ichnosubfacies occurs in thin- to medium-bedded sandstones (FA2) of the lower units in the Ain Ghanem and Kef Maiz sections and the lowest part of the upper unit of the Kef Maiz section, which were deposited in channel margin or foremost channel-to-levee-overbank areas. The Nereites ichnosubfacies is recorded in thin-bedded sandstones (FA2), which were deposited in crevasse-splays or small lobes on a basin floor invaded occasionally by turbidites against a background of pelagic and hemipelagic sedimentation.


ichnology; flysch; turbidites; Atlas; Paleogene; Neogene

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