Article: Classification and controls of internal banding in Palaeozoic stromatoporoids and colonial corals
Palaeozoic corals and stromatoporoids exhibit a variety of internal banding phenomena, many of which have been commonly interpreted as annual growth bands. We evaluate bands through analysis of colonial corals and stromatoporoids from three stratigraphic intervals: Upper Ordovician of Manitoba Canada, and Llandovery-Wenlock and Ludlow of Gotland, Sweden. Banding features are divided into four categories: (1) absence of banding; (2) density banding formed by variation in density or form of elements; (3) growth-interruption banding indicating growth cessation and regeneration; and (4) post-mortem banding caused by compaction or diagenesis. For discrimination of band types, it is essential to examine internal structures and skeletal margins in thin sections or acetate peels. Species vary considerably in degree and type of banding; each has a distinct pattern of variation. We propose criteria to determine if banding is consistent with seasonally induced growth variation: (1) consistency in band character and thickness; (2) continuity of skeletal growth; (3) marginal features; and (4) evidence of diagenetic alteration. Density bands in tabulate and rugose corals probably represent annual growth variations, but results for stromatoporoids are more ambiguous; although stromatoporoids commonly show banding, unequivocal density banding is poorly developed and growth interruption generated most stromatoporoid banding. Cerioid rugose and tabulate corals possess the thickest density bands; the thinnest bands are in stromatoporoids and heliolitid tabulates.