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Sauropod hydrothermal nesting site in Argentina described



From: Ben Creisler
bscreisler@yahoo.com

 
A new advance online paper:
 
Lucas E. Fiorelli, Gerald Grellet-Tinner, Pablo H. Alasino & Eloisa Argañaraz 
(2011)
The geology and palaeoecology of the newly discovered Cretaceous neosauropod 
hydrothermal nesting site in Sanagasta (Los Llanos Formation), La Rioja, 
northwest Argentina.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2011.12.002 
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667111002023
 
 
The recent discovery of the Cretaceous Sanagasta geothermal nesting site in the 
Los Llanos Formation, La Rioja Province, northwestern Argentina, has shed light 
on new and unexpected neosauropod reproductive behaviours. Here we recapitulate 
the palaeontological discovery at Sanagasta and the oological characterization 
of the nesting site (reported in 2010). In addition, we describe in detail the 
geology, sedimentology, petrology, and geochemistry of the nesting site with 
the goals of assessing the palaeoenvironment of the Los Llanos Formation at 
this site. The Sanagasta Geologic Park, where the nesting site is located, 
represents a local expression of a geothermal process that occured in the 
Sierras Pamepanas during the Cretaceous Period. This geothermal cycle allows 
for the first time an Early Cretaceous dating (Hauterivian--Aptian) for the Los 
Llanos Formation, which is further supported by the occurrence of notosuchians, 
and ornithopod, sauropod and
 theropod dinosaurs in other exposures of the same formation in La Rioja 
Province. As such, in additon to shedding light on neosauropod palaeobiology 
and their nesting environment, this investigation clarifies longstanding 
geological issues pertaining to the sedimentary basins in the Sierras Pampeanas 
Orientales (central-west Argentina).