Carbonate strata preserve indicators of local marine environments through time. Such indicators often include microfossils that have relatively unique conditions under which they can survive, including light, nutrients, salinity, and especially water temperature. As such, microfossils are environmental proxies. When these microfossils are preserved in the rock record, they constitute key components of depositional facies. Spence et al. (2004, 2007) has proposed several approaches for determining the facies of a given stratigraphic succession based upon these proxies. Cluster analysis can be used to determine microfossil groups that represent specific environmental conditions. Identifying which microfossil groups exist through time can indicate local environmental change. When new observations (microfossils) are found, classification analysis can be used to predict group membership. Kristen Briggs (2005) identified the microfossils present in sedimentary strata within a specific time interval (Morrowan) of Pennsylvanian-age rocks. In this study we expand analysis to overlying Atokan and Desmoinesian strata. The Bird Spring Formation in Arrow Canyon, Nevada records cycles of environmental change as evidenced by changes in microfossils. Our research investigates cluster and classification analyses as tools for determining the marine facies succession. Light, nutrients, salinity, and water temperature are very dependent on water depth; therefore, our analyses essentially indicate the relative rise and fall of sea-level during Early to Middle Pennsylvanian time.



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Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Statistics



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Selected Project




classification, geostatistics