Cyclones and the formation of plant beds in late Carboniferous tropical swamps
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Rapid deposition of sediments over the Euramerican Carboniferous swamps has resulted in exceptionally well-preserved plant fossils that often contain fragments of both swamp- and levee-living plants. There is virtually no evidence that the fragments were the result of natural abscission; a fact emphasised by the presence of mature cones that are still full of spores, fern fronds that rarely appear withered or enrolled, and pteridosperm fronds with glandular trichomes still containing the remains of exudant. Very strong winds of cyclone intensity would have been needed to cause such damage to the vegetation while, at the same time, producing flooding with sediment-laden water.
KeywordsCarboniferous Swamp forests Cyclone Plant fossils
The authors are grateful to Dr Dieter Uhl (Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt) and an anonymous referee for valuable and constructive comments. This is a contribution towards IGCP 575: Late Carboniferous terrestrial habitats in south-eastern Europe.
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