Age and depositional environment of the “dinosaur graveyard” at Las Águilas, southern Coahuila, NE Mexico
Vogt et al
Here we provide a detailed description of the upper Campanian sediment succession at Las Águilas, southern Coahuila, northeastern Mexico, including the first absolute age dating for this interval, paleoenvironmental reconstructions and taphonomic observations on the abundant dinosaur remains at the locality. Stratigraphic investigations of the dinosaur-bearing succession at the Las Águilas vertebrate fossil area near Porvenir de Jalpa reveal a diverse vertebrate assemblage, including dinosaurs, crocodilians and turtles. New findings in adjacent sites include eusuchian crocodylomorphs, four different kinds of turtles, dromaeosaurids, lambeosaurines, pterosaurs and elasmosaurid plesiosaurs. Strontium isotope measurements on fossil oyster shells provide an absolute age of 73 ± 1 Ma for the lower part of the Las Águilas section. The locality is thus of late Campanian age. The vertebrate, invertebrate and plant materials as well as the sediment structures observed in a 50 m thick predominantly siliciclastic succession of the Cerro del Pueblo Formation suggest deposition in an extensive delta plain environment. The facies succession indicates a short-termed cyclicity of limnic, brackish and shallow marine environments during the late Campanian–early Maastrichtian Cerro del Pueblo Formation with numerous layers containing dinosaur fossil remains.