Eight zones of Precambrian stromatolites that are useful for local correlation are recognized in the Belt series of the Glacier National Park region, Montana. The zones vary in composition, thickness, and areal extent. Some are widespread and extend into neighboring regions, and others occur only in small areas. Their names are taken from the dominant species that occurs in each zone. The zones are, from youngest to oldest -
Conophyton zone 2
Collenia symmetrica zone 2
Collenia undosa zone 2
Collenia multiflabella zone
Conophyton zone 1
Collenia symmetrica zone 1
Collenia undosa zone 1
Collenia frequens zone
Only the Conophyton zones have been mapped in the park area.
The present study uses a classification based upon the three criteria of (1) mode of growth, (2) gross form of the colony, and (3) nature and orientation of the laminae. The scheme of classification also seems applicable to Paleozoic and later stromatolites. Possibly a consistent pattern of form-genera and form-species may be developed. Four form-genera and seven form-species are recognized in the Belt series of the park region. These are Cryptozoon occidentale Dawson, Collenia undosa Walcott, C. frequens Walcott, C. symmetrica Fenton and Fenton, Newlandia sp., and Conophyton inclinatum n. sp.
It is realized that these structures should not be classified according to biological nomenclature. However, biological names are here applied to the structures until a suitable system of classification can be devised.
Comparisons of the stromatolites of the Belt series with modern stromatolites on Andros Island, Bahama Islands, and Pleistocene stromatolites from Lake Lahonton, Nev., reveal similarities in structure that appear to be significant as to physical mode of origin.