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By A E Adams; W S MacKenzie

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103 104 Stained thin section, Lower Carboniferous, Northumbria, England, PPL, × 18. 104 61 Carbonate Sediments and Rocks Under the Microscope Bryozoans Bryozoans are colonial marine organisms with a calcareous skeleton, and they are abundant on shallow shelves from the Ordovician to the present day. In the authors’ experience, students are surprised by the abundance and diversity of bryozoans in carbonate sediments and this seems to reflect the rather cursory treatment they receive in some palaeontology courses, perhaps partly because they are too large to be microfossils, but in most cases, paradoxically, too small to study easily without a microscope, and also because they are not usually of value biostratigraphically.

Calcite. 38 38 Stained thin section, Lower Carboniferous, South Wales, PPL, × 25. 29 Carbonate Sediments and Rocks Under the Microscope 39–41 show examples of lithoclasts. In 39 an elongate fragment of oolitic grainstone has been incorporated in a younger sediment. This grain can be recognised as a lithoclast since both the ooids and their original cement have been truncated by erosion. In fact this is a piece of Carboniferous Limestone that was eroded and re-deposited in a Lower Jurassic carbonate sediment.

However, the crystal boundaries (best seen right of centre) now delimit inclusion-rich calcite crystals. 91 Stained thin section, Jurassic, England, PPL, × 12. 91 92 93 92, 93 Stained thin section, Upper Jurassic, Morocco, PPL, 92 × 8, 93 × 25. 56 Bioclasts Tabulate and rugose corals, although constructed of calcite, appear to have a similar structure to the scleractinians, with little structure visible in planepolarised light and irregular blotchy or sweeping extinction when the microscope stage is rotated with polars crossed.

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