Lower Permian carbonate and overlying red bed clastic rocks are present in a 2 km2 stratigraphic window in the vicinity of Rancho La Cueva, Santa Cruz sheet (scale 1:50,000), northern Sonora, Mexico. This exposure lies unconformably beneath predominantly intermediate Upper Cretaceous volcanics yielding 40Ar/39Ar ages of 73.4?? 0.18 and 71.1 ?? 0.35 Ma. The lower part of the Permian succession consists of light- to medium-gray colored limestones of the Colina Limestone, with a minimum thickness of 235 m. Sedimentary features suggest shallow water, slightly restricted depositional environments. Although lacking observable fossils for the most part, two intervals of richly fossiliferous, silicified shell beds are present near the base and top of the Colina Limestone. The lower fauna consist mostly of gastropods and bivalves. The presence of a new microdomatid gastropod species. Glyptospira sonorensis n. sp., close to Glytospira arelela Plas, suggests a late Wolfcampian age for this horizon. The upper fauna are predominantly molluscan dominated (gastropods and bivalves), but some brachiopods (productids and the rhynchonellid genus Pontisia) are also present. Gastropod genera include Bellerophon, Warthia, Euomphalus (represented by the species, Euomphalus kaibabensis Chronic), Baylea, Worthenia, Naticopsis, Goniasma, Kinishbia, Cibecuia, and Glyptospira. The gastropods suggest a Leonardian (late Early Permian) age for this horizon, and many of the species have previously been recorded from the Supai Group and Kaibab Formation of northern and central Arizona. The Colina Limestone is conformably overlain by 11.2 m of light-gray lime mudstone and dolostone, assigned here to the Epitaph Dolomite, which in turn is succeeded by 58.8 m of red-colored sandstone and gray lime mudstone, assigned here to the Scherrer Formation. This Lower Permian succession is significant because it further strengthens the stratigraphic ties of southeastern Arizona rocks with those of northern Sonora and confirms the presence of North American cratonal stratigraphy in the northern part of the state of Sonora, Mexico. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
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Stratigraphy and paleontology of Lower Permian rocks north of Cananea, northern Sonora, Mexico