Microfacies analysis and point counts of thin sections from 608 hand samples were used to track changes in the abundance and diversity of fossil grains through the extended recovery interval following end-Permian mass extinction on the Great Bank of Guizhou (GBG)—an isolated Late Permian to Late Triassic carbonate platform in south China. Exposure of a two-dimensional cross-section of the platform permits the comparison of faunal patterns along an environmental gradient from shallow to deep water. The diverse Late Permian biota was dominated by calcareous sponges, crinoids, articulate brachiopods, foraminifera, and calcareous algae. In contrast, Early Triassic communities were dominated by mollusks, with increasing abundance of crinoids beginning in the Spathian. Increase in the diversity and abundance of fossils on the GBG was confined to a brief interval near the Spathian–Anisian boundary and concentrated along the platform margin. Later Middle Triassic diversification, the return of calcareous algae and calcareous sponges, and the appearance of scleractinian corals did not substantially alter the mollusk-crinoid-Tubiphytes assemblage before the end of the Middle Triassic. The low abundance of skeletal grains in Lower Triassic strata implies: (1) similarities in the relative contributions of micrite, microbialites, and oolites to Neoproterozoic carbonates result, at least in part, from the temporary removal of skeletal sinks for calcium carbonate; and (2) animals with hard skeletons remained at low abundance from the time of the end-Permian extinction through much of the Early Triassic.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1