ABSTRACT: Biostratigraphic data from the Precordillera Basin have traditionally been analyzed to contribute to the understanding of its biogeographic evolution as an allochthonous microcontinent accreted to the western Gondwanan margin in the Middle-Late Ordovician. The first palynological data from Late Ordovician units of the eastern Precordillera are incorporated in an attempt to better constrain the timing of the collision. The Las Vacas Formation has previously been assigned to the Sandbian (gracilis–bicornis zones). Chitinozoans from the Las Vacas Formation are poorly diversified. The basal part of this unit contains Lagenochitina sp. cf. baltica, previously recorded in the late Darriwilian of Precordillera and the late Darriwilian-early Sandbian of eastern Canada. The assemblages from its upper part contain primarily Spinachitina bulmani, Cyathochitina sp. cf. kuckersiana, Cyathochitina sp. aff. macastyensis, and Desmochitina minor form typica. The lower-upper part of this formation also yields Kalochitina multispinata. Acritarchs are poorly preserved and the few recognized genera are not biostratigraphically significant. Cryptospore findings contribute to the record of evidences for land plants in the Ordovician of Argentina and suggest that the upper part of the unit was deposited proximal to the shoreline. The lower part of the Trapiche Formation contains a few poorly preserved chitinozoans, acritarchs and algae (cf. Gloeocapsomorpha sp.), probably due to reworking of the material. The basal chitinozoan assemblage could indicate that the deposition of the Las Vacas Formation started during the Middle-Late Ordovician (late Darriwillian-basal Sandbian). Typical Katian chitinozoans from the uppermost part of the Las Vacas Formation indicate that these deposits would have reached the middle Late Ordovician. Palynological studies seem to be a useful tool to contribute to the biostratigraphic knowledge of controversial terrains, such as the Precordillera.


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