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A new high-paleolatitude late Permian permineralized peat flora from the Sydney Basin, Australia
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6723-239X
Australian Synchrotron.
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5416-2289
2019 (English)In: International journal of plant sciences, ISSN 1058-5893, E-ISSN 1537-5315, Vol. 180, p. 513-539Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Premise of research. Permineralized peats are prized for hosting three-dimensionally preserved plant remains that provide insights into fossil plant anatomy and the composition of coal-forming ecosystems. A new record of siliceous permineralized peat is documented from a Lopingian-aged (upper Permian) strata from the southern Sydney Basin. It represents the fifth Permian permineralized peat identified from eastern Australia.

Methodology. The single permineralized peat block was cut into smaller blocks, and both cellulose acetate peels and standard thin sections were prepared for study using transmitted light microscopy. Quantitative analysis of the peat was carried out using point counts perpendicular to bedding. One block examined using synchrotron X-ray computed tomography (CT) revealed the three-dimensional anatomy of abundant fossil seeds.

Pivotal results. The peat contains a plant assemblage dominated by glossopterid leaves, seeds, and axes; although degraded, probable pteridophyte remains represent a significant subsidiary component of the assemblage. A new leaf form (Glossopteris thirroulensis McLoughlin et Mays sp. nov.) and a new type of seed (Illawarraspermum ovatum McLoughlin et Mays gen. et sp. nov.) are described. Leaf-, wood/seed-, and fine detritus-rich organic microfacies with gradational boundaries are evident within the peat.

Conclusions. Regular growth rings in the small permineralized axes, together with the occurrence of autumnal mats of glossopterid leaves, signify a strongly seasonal climate. The presence of abundant charcoal in the peat indicates that fire was a significant influence on the high-paleolatitude mire ecosystem. Differentiation of organic microfacies within the peat profile indicates subtle variation in the contribution of plant components to the peat through time. The absence of mineral grains in thin section and CT, together with the presence of authigenic sulfides, indicates accumulation of organic matter in a stagnant mire away from the influence of clastic input.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019. Vol. 180, p. 513-539
Keywords [en]
Glossopteris, Lopingian, fire, peat-forming ecosystems, seasonality, taphonomy, plant anatomy
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Ecosystems and species history; The changing Earth; Diversity of life
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3427DOI: 10.1086/702939OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3427DiVA, id: diva2:1372960
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2014-5234Swedish Research Council, 2018-04527
Note

Additional funding from:

National Science Foundation (project no. 1636625);

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Australian Synchrotron grant 11959)

Available from: 2019-11-01 Created: 2019-11-25Bibliographically approved

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