Peat-forming plants in the Maastrichtian coals of the Eastern Pyrenees



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Villalba Breva, Sheila and Martín Closas, C. and Marmi, J. and Gómez, Bernard and Fernández Marrón, María Teresa (2012) Peat-forming plants in the Maastrichtian coals of the Eastern Pyrenees. Geologica acta, 10 (2). pp. 189-207. ISSN 1695-6133

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The Lower Maastrichtian of Fumanya and neighbouring localities of the Vallcebre syncline (Eastern Pyrenees,
Catalonia, Spain) provide the first taphonomic evidence for the hypothesis that cheirolepidiacean conifers were
significant precursors of Maastrichtian Pyrenean coal. Most Frenelopsis-rich lignite beds do not bear rootlet
marks, suggesting that the original peat was detrital. Sedimentological and taphonomic evidence indicates
deposition on the margins of a lagoon after the transport of the cheirolepidiacean remains by flotation. The same
parautochthonous assemblage includes complete impressions of Sabalites longirhachis leaves and large impressions
of logs attributed to the same palm trees. Other parautochthonous or allochthonous plant megaremains include
extremely rare cycadalean and monocot leaves and abundant minute angiosperm seeds. Rootlet marks associated
with thin lignite beds occur at the top of some charophyte limestones. The charophyte association, dominated by
in situ accumulation of Peckichara and Microchara gyrogonites, suggests that these limestones were deposited
in shallow, freshwater lakes and that the corresponding peat mires were limnic rather than paralic in nature. The
botanical affinity of plant remains associated with these root-bearing lignites is uncertain. Palynological analysis
showed abundant bisaccates, with less abundant fern spores and freshwater algal oospores. Locally, the abundant
rootlet marks were associated with large brush-like rooting structures attributed to Sabalites longirhachis palms.
Our results show that, at the beginning of the Maastrichtian, cheirolepidiacean conifers were still significant peatproducing
plants, although, unlike analogous Lower Cretaceous ones, they shared this role with rare angiosperms,
such as palms.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Palaeobotany, Calcareous algae, Peat swamps, Upper Cretaceous, Pyrenees
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:25567
Deposited On:26 May 2014 12:07
Last Modified:11 Dec 2018 08:42

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