The Furongian (Upper Cambrian; Jiangshanian and Sunwaptan) Tunnel City Group (Lone Rock Formation and Mazomanie Formation), exposed in Wisconsin and Minnesota, represents a shallow-marine clastic environment during a time of exceptionally high sea level. Lithofacies from shoreface to transitional-offshore settings document deposition in a wave- and storm-dominated sea. Flooding of the cratonic interior was associated with formation of a condensed section and the extensive development of microbial mats. Biolamination, mat fragments, wrinkle structures, and syneresis cracks are preserved in various sandstone facies of the Lone Rock Formation, as is evidence for the cohesive behavior of sand. These microbial-induced sedimentary structures (MISS) provide unique signals of biological–physical processes that physical structures alone cannot mimic. The MISS are associated with a trilobite extinction event in the Steptoean–Sunwaptan boundary interval. This may support recent claims that Phanerozoic microbial mats were opportunistic disaster forms that flourished during periods of faunal turnover. Further investigation of stratigraphic, taphonomic, and other potential biases, however, is needed to fully test this hypothesis.
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Suspected microbial-induced sedimentary structures (MISS) in Furongian (Upper Cambrian; Jiangshanian, Sunwaptan) strata of the Upper Mississippi Valley