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he association PALEORHODANIA organized field work in the Lafarge quarry of Val d'Azergues, Charnay (Rhône) from 2009 to 2013. This locality exposes marine sediments dated to the Jurassic (-183 to -175 million yeard ago). Our association did prospect, collect and identify the scientifically interesting levels within the Toarcian and Aalenian successions of this quarry. Our missions are focused on two approaches, one is stratigraphic framework, which builds up a geometric and temporal setting to the second: the investigation of the paleontological content. Currently, our activities concentrate on the valorisation of the discoveries.

Picture Lafarge quarry


ertebrates and Jurassic paleoenvironments :

Since 2010, our team studies the Jurassic sedimentary series of the Val d'Azergues Lafarge quarry, located in the communes of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, Charnay and Belmont (Southern Beaujolais, Rhône) approximately 25 kilometres NW of Lyon. Here, the exposed succession records a key period of the Jurassic and is particularly fossiliferous, giving us an exceptional opportunity to understand this particular episode in the history of the Earth.

Project picture  The end of the lower Jurassic, about 183 million years ago, is a period of profound global environmental changes accompanied by the extinction of numerous marine organisms. While the responses of marine invertebrates to the crisis is relatively well documented, ecological changes within vertebrate communities (fish, sharks, marine reptiles) remain poorly understood. Several deposits of the end of the Lower Jurassic, however, have yielded in abundance remains of vertebrates, providing valuable information on the vertebrate assemblages from this period: this is the case for Early toarcian Lagerstätten in Germany or England. However, these deposits have a limited vertical extension and do not allow to understand the response of these communities to climatic and environmental changes recorded at that time. 

  In this context, the marine deposit of Charnay (Rhône) are a scientific landmark and are demonstrably of significant value for our heritage. Indeed, the sedimentary record spans the entire lower Jurassic-middle Jurassic transition, which is only rarely observable in France and Europe. Beyond this stratigraphic interest, the deposits of Charnay are also exceptional for their palaeontological content containing vertebrate remains from various levels that are lacking elsewhere in the world (Middle and Upper Toarcian and basal Aalenian). The palaeontological potential of the Lafarge quarry has been recognized since the beginning of its activity in the early 1980s, thanks to the effort and enthusiasm of amateur palaeontologists. Abundant discoveries led to the creation of an association of amateurs (Section GeoPaleo), which aims to bring together members around a common theme: the establishment of a reference collection.

  Our goal is twofold : not only a systematic survey of the deposit falls under a scientific approach to better understand the evolution of marine organisms in response to environmental changes, it also increases the value of this unique geological and palaeontological heritage through exhibitions, article writings and lectures for a general audience.

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