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Ordovician trilobites (completed)

In the period 12th of July to 8th September 1971, an expedition from the former Palaeontological Museum, University of Oslo worked along the shores of Hinlopenstretet, Ny Friesland, Spitsbergen at 79°N. The object of the exercise was to make detailed collections of fossils from a relatively undisturbed section of exposed Cambrian-Ordovician rocks first discovered by geologists from the University of Cambridge, England in 1965 and later measured in 1967. From samples taken, it was obvious that the Ordovician section contained a great variety of trilobites, graptolites, brachiopods and other invertebrates. The first group was the subject of a Ph.D. study by Richard A. Fortey, who joined the 1971 expedition and together with David L. Bruton described the detailed stratigraphy with map (Fortey & Bruton 1973). Since then the trilobites (Fortey 1974, 1975, 1980) and graptolites (Cooper & Fortey 1982) have been described. Both fossil groups afforded detailed correlation between the area and adjacent limestone successions of Greenland (East and Northwest), Novaya Zemlya and Pai Khoy, Northwest Scotland and Newfoundland. However, the early Ordovician witnessed flooding intervals of the carbonate platform with the deposition of black shales containing a fauna closely similar to that of Scandinavia. Such intervals have recently yielded a superbly preserved fauna of some of the earliest known radiolarian whose distribution has yielded important data for a more precise biostratigraphical use of this group in the Ordovician (Maletz & Bruton 2007).

Map of the Hinlopen field area
Front page of Norsk Geologisk Tidsskrift, with the image of Paladin (Neokaskia) from Akseløya
Svalbardospiculum arenigium - a new radiolarian genus from the Ordovicium of Svalbard

Selected references

  • Cooper, R. A. & Fortey, R. A. 1982: The Ordovician graptolites of Spitsbergen . Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Geology, 36, 1-171.
  • Fortey, R. A. 1974: The Ordovician trilobites of Spitsbergen I. Olenidae. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 160, 1-81.
  • Fortey, R. A. 1975: The Ordovician trilobites of Spitsbergen II. Asaphidae, Nileidae, Raphiophoridae and Telephinidae of the Valhallfonna Formation. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 162, 1-125.
  • Fortey, R.A. 1980: The Ordovician trilobites of Spitsbergen III. Remaining trilobites of the Valhallfonna Formation. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter 171, 1-163.
  • Fortey, R.A. & Bruton, D.L. 1973: Cambrian-Ordovician Rocks Adjacent to Hinlopenstretet, North Ny Friesland, Spitsbergen . Geological Society of America Bulletin 84, 2227-2242.
  • Maletz, J. & Bruton, D.L. 2007: Lower Ordovician (Chewtonian to Castlemainian) radiolarians of Spitsbergen . Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 5 (3), 245-288.

Permian trilobites from Akseløya, Svalbard.

Joint field work on the island of Akseløya between geologists from the University of Tromsø and the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo produced more than 50 trilobite specimens from sections of Permian rocks at the northern and middle parts of the island. This material included the first record of Paladin (Neokaskia) an Old World form known elsewhere from Timor and Oman and specimens of Ditomopyge sp. similar to forms from the Artinskian of Ellesmere Island. Both support the assumed marine contact between Svalbard, Arctic Canada, Alaska and Eurasia during the Permian rather than with the Tethys region which became isolated after closing of the Uralian seaway earlier on.


Bruton, D.L. 1999. Permian trilobites from Akseløya, Svalbard. Geologica et Palaeontologica 33, 191-201.

Published Sep. 14, 2015 11:58 AM - Last modified Apr. 12, 2022 8:26 AM