Late Triassic bivalves of the genus Monotis occur in at least 16 of the lithotectonic terranes and subterranes that together comprise nearly all of Alaska, and they also occur in the Upper Yukon region of Alaska where Triassic strata are regarded as representing non-accretionary North America. On the basis of collections made thus far, 14 kinds of Monotis that differ at the species or subspecies level can be recognized from alaska. These are grouped into the subgenera Monotis (Monotis), M. (Pacimonotis), M. (Entomonotis), and M. (Eomonotis). In places, Monotis shells of one kind or another occur in rock-forming abundance.
On the basis of superpositional data from Alaska, as well as from elsewhere in North America and Far Eastern Russia, at least four distince biostratigraphic levels can be discriminated utilizing Monotis species. Different species of M. (Eomonotis) characterize two middle Norian levels, both probably within the supper middle Norian Columbianus Ammonite Zone. Two additional levels are recognized in the lower upper Norian Cordilleranus Ammonite Zone utilizing species of M. (Monotis) or M. (Entomonotis), both of which subgenera are restricted to the late Norian.
An attached-floating mode of life is commonly attributed to Monotis; thus, these bivalves would have been pseudoplanktonic surface dwellers that were sensitive to surface-water temperature and paleolatitude. Distinctly different kinds of Monotis occur at different paleolatitudes along the Pacific and Arctic margins of the North American craton inboard of the accreted terranes. Comparison between thse craton-bound Monotis faunas and those of the Alaskan terranes in southern Alaska south of the Denali fault were paleoequatorial in latitude during Late Triassic time. Among these terranes, the Alexander terrane was possibly in the southern hemisphere at that time. Terranes of northern Alaska, on the other hand, represent middle, possibly high-middle, northern paleolatitudes.
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The Late Triassic bivalve Monotis in accreted terranes of Alaska