Sunday, November 22, 2015

Coniacian Cretaceous Antarctic Flora Suggest a Warm Temperate to Tropical PaleoClimate

Late Cretaceous flora of the Hidden Lake Formation, James Ross Island (Antarctica), its biostratigraphy and palaeoecological implications


Kvaček et al


Plant fossils from the volcano-clastic marine deposits of the Coniacian Hidden Lake Formation of James Ross Island in Antarctica are described based on their macromorphology. Stratigraphic positions of fossiliferous horizons and details of the lithostratigraphic situation of the middle part of the Hidden Lake Formation are published for the first time. The flora consists primarily of leaf impressions and petrified wood. There are also small amounts of mesofossils, dispersed cuticles and charcoalified wood. The megafossils typically occur fragmented, underpinning their allochtonous origin. The plants are described in systematical order. This contribution in contrast to earlier observations reports a high diversity of pteridophytes (11 taxa) and conifers (6 taxa). Angiosperms representing families Nothofagaceae, Atherospermataceae, probably Lauraceae and Sterculiaceae are the most abundant and common plant groups of the flora (12 taxa). The presence of the tropical fern family Marattiaceae and rarity of the genus Nothofagus are of interest, arguing for the prevalence of a warm temperate to tropical humid climate during the Coniacian in this part of Antarctica.

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