T0 peat-forming plant assemblage preserved in growth position by volcanic ash-fall: A case study from the Middle Pennsylvanian of the Czech Republic

 

Authors: Opluštil S, Pšenička J, Bek J, Wang J, Feng Z, Libertin M, Šimůnek Z, Bureš J, Drábková J

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 89, issue 4; pages: 773 - 818; Received 21 January 2014; Accepted in revised form 15 April 2014; Online 9 September 2014

Keywords: Pennsylvanian, Tsup>0 plant assemblage, coal forests, volcanic ash beds, Radnice Basin,

full text (PDF, 23.49 MB)

Export to RIS

 

Abstract

A Middle Pennsylvanian tuff bed (the Bělka bed) in the roof of the Lower Radnice Coal bears T0 t-forming vegetation preserved in growth position. This vegetation has been studied in detail at the 12 hectares large Ovčin coal deposit in the southern part of the Radnice Basin. Documentation of the fossil record in six excavations and that previously collected in the former opencast mine allowed for a detailed reconstruction of the local peat-forming lepidodendrid-cordaitalean forest structured into well-developed stories. It consists of about 33 species, which colonized the occasionally flooded planar peat swamp precursor of the Lower Radnice Coal. The canopy story of this vegetation was dominated by Lepidodendron (Paralycopodites) simile, L. lycopodioides, Lepidophloios acerosus and Cordaites borassifolius. They formed a relatively dense canopy, locally interrupted with significant gaps allowing development of a rich groundcover that together with liana-like plants represents the most diverse part of the forest. A less diverse understory composed of calamites, medullosan pteridosperms and Psaronius tree ferns displays a patchy distribution pattern presumably related to density of the canopy. The minimal area that sufficiently represents the pattern of this forest phytocoenosis is estimated to be about 200 m2, although lower stories are well represented even within much smaller areas of about 60 m2. Slight heterogeneity in the population density of dominant taxa (Cordaites vs. lepidodendrid lycopsids) was documented across the Ovčin coal deposit. The fossil record of the Bělka tuff bed also indicates that the coal-forest colonizing the peat swamp prior the generation of forest killed by volcanic ash fall, was destroyed, presumably due to long-lasting flooding and thus suggests that catastrophic events were probably a relatively common part of the evolution of peat-forming Pennsylvanian successions.

References

BEK, J. 1986. Palynological characteristics of the borehole VP-29 from the locality Přívětice-Ovčín. M.Sc. thesis, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Prague. [in Czech]

BATENBURG, L.H. 1981. Vegetative anatomy and ecology of Sphenophyllum zwickaviense, S. emarginatum, and other “compression species” of Sphenophyllum. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 32(2-3), 275-313.View article

Boersma, M. 1972. The heterogeneity of the form genus Mariopteris Zeiller: A comparative morphological study with special reference to the frond composition of West-European species. Atlas with 43 plates. Ph.D. thesis, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, State University, Utrecht. Published by Drukkerij Elinkwijk, Utrecht.

Boardman, D.R., Iannuzzi, R., de Souza, P.A. & Lopes, R.C. 2012. Paleobotanical and palynological analysis of Faxinal Coalfield (Lower Permian, Rio Bonito Formation, Paraná Basin), Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: Taxonomy, biostratigraphy and paleoecological implications. International Journal of Coal Geology 102, 12-25.View article

Bohor, B.F. & Triplehorn, D.M. 1993. Tonsteins: Altered Volcanic-Ash Layers in Coal-Bearing Sequences. Geologial Society of America Special Papers 285.

Breiter, K. 1997. The Teplice rhyolite (Krušné hory Mts, Czech Republic) - chemical evidence of a multiply exhausted stratified magma chamber. Věstník Českého geologického ústavu 72(2), 205-213.

Bureš, J., Opluštil S., Pšenička, J. & Tichávek, F. 2013. The Whetstone Horizont (Bolsovian) with in situ preserved flora in the lokality Kamenný Újezd near Nýřany (Pilsen Basin). Zprávy o geologických výzkumech v roce 2012, 12-19. [in Czech with English abstract]

Burnham, R.J. 1994. Plant deposition in modern volcanic environments. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Earth Sciences 84, 275-281.View article

Burnham, R.J. 2009. An overview of the fossil record of climbers: Bejucos, Sogas, Trepadoras, Lianas, Cipos and Vines. Revista Brasileira de Paleontologia 12(2), 149-160.View article

Burnham, R.J. & Spicer, R.A. 1986. Forest Litter Preserved by Volcanic Activity at El Chicón, Mexico: A Potentially Accurate Record of the Pre-Eruption Vegetation. Palaios 1, 158-161.View article

Cain, S.A. 1938. The species-area curve. American Midland Naturalist 19, 573-581.View article

Cleal, J.C. 2005. The Westphalian macrofloral record from the cratonic central Pennines Basin, UK. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowischenschaften 156(3), 387-401.View article

Cleal, J.C. 2008. Palaeofloristics of Middle Pennsylvanian lyginopteridaleans in Variscan Euramerica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 261(1-2), 1-14.View article

Corda, A.J. 1845. Beiträge zur Flora der Vorwelt. 128 pp. J.G. Calvesche Buchhandlung, Prague.

DiMichele, W.A. 1980. Paralycopodites Morey & Morey, from the Carboniferous of Euramerica - a reassessment of generica affinities and evolution of “Lepidodendron” brevifolium Williamson. American Journal of Botany 67(10), 1466-1476. View article

DiMichele, W.A. 2014. Wetland-dryland vegetational dynamics in the Pennsylvanian ice age tropics. International Journal of Plant Sciences 175(2), 123-164.View article

DiMichele, W.A., Blaine, C.C., Montanez, I.P. & Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2010. Cyclic changes in Pennsylvanian paleoclimate and effects on floristic dynamics in tropical Pangea. International Journal of Coal Geology 83, 329-344.View article

DiMichele, W.A., Cortland, F.E. & Chaney, D.S. 1996. A drowned lycopsid forest above the Mahoning Coal (Conemaugh Group, Upper Pennsylvanian) in eastern Ohio, U.S.A. International Journal of Coal Geology 31, 249-276.View article

DiMichele, W.A. & Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2011. Pennsylvanian “fossil forest” in growth position (T0 assemblages): origin, taphonomic bias and palaeoecological insights. Journal of the Geological Society, London 168, 585-605.View article

DiMichele, W.A. & Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2012. Calamitalean “pith casts” reconsidered. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 173, 1-14.View article

DiMichele, W.A., Falcon-Lang, H.J., Nelson, W.J., Elrick, S.D. & Ames, P.R. 2007. Ecological gradients within a Pennsylvanian mire forest. Geology 35(5), 415-418.View article

DiMichele, W.A., Montanez, I.P., Poulsen, C.J. & Tabor, N.J. 2009. Climate and vegetational regime shifts in the late Paleozoic ice age earth. Geobiology 7, 200-226.View article

DiMichele, W.A. & Phillips, T.L. 1994. Paleobotanical and paleoecological constraints on models of peat formation in the Late Carboniferous of Euramerica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 106(1-4), 39-90.View article

DiMichele, W.A. & Phillips, T.L. 1996. Climate change, plant extinctions, and vegetational recovery during the Middle-Late Pennsylvanian transition: the case of tropical peat-forming environments in North America, 201-221. In Hart, M.L. (ed.) Biotic Recovery from Mass Extinction Events. Geological Society Special Publication 102.

DiMichele, W.A., Phillips, T.L. & Pfefferkorn, H.W. 2006. Paleoecology of Late Paleozoic pteridosperms from tropical Euramerica. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 33(1), 83-118.View article

Drábková, J. 1986. Litologická a palynologická charakteristika karbonských sedimentů na Dole Pokrok - Přívětice. 63 pp. M.Sc. thesis, Faculty of Sciences, Charles University, Prague.

Drábková, J., Bek, J. & Opluštil, S. 2004. The first compression fossils of Spencerites (Scott) emend., and its isospores, from the Bolsovian (Pennsylvanian) of the Kladno-Rakovník and Radnice basins, Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 130, 59-88.View article

Eggert, D.A. 1961. The ontogeny of Carboniferous arborescent lycopsida. Palaeontographica, Abteilung B 108, 43-92.

Falcon-Lang, H. & Bashforth, A.R. 2005. Morphology, anatomy and upland ecology of large cordaitalean trees from the Middle Pennsylvanian of Newfoundland. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 135, 223-243.View article

Galtier, J. 1997. Coal-ball floras of the Namurian-Westphalian of Europe. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 95(1-4), 51-72.View article

Gastaldo, R.A. 1986. Implications on the paleoecology of autochthonous lycopods in clastic sedimentary environments of the early Pennsylvanian of Alabama. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 53, 191-212.View article

Gastaldo, R.A., Pfefferkorn, H. W. & DiMichele, W.A. 1995. Taphonomic and sedimentologic characterization of roof-shale floras, 341-352. In Lyons, P.C., Morey, E.D. & Wagner, R.H. (eds) Historical Perspective of Early Twentieth Century Carboniferous Paleobotany in North America (W.C. Darrah volume). Geological Society of America Memoir 185.

Gastaldo, R.A., Stevanović-Walls, I. & Ware, W.N. 2004a. Erect forests are evidence for coseismic base-level changes in Pennsylvanian cyclothems of the Black Warrior Basin, U.S.A., 219-238. In Pashin, J.C. & Gastaldo, R.A. (eds) Sequence stratigraphy, Paleoclimate, and Tectonics of Coal-Bearing Strata: AAPG Studies in Geology 51.

Gastaldo, R.A., Stevanović-Walls, I.M., Ware, W.N. & Stephen, F.G. 2004b. Community heterogeneity of Early Pennsylvanian peat mires. Geology 32(8), 693-696.View article

Gradziński, R. & Doktor, M. 1995. Upright stems and their burial conditions in the coal-bearing Mudstone Series (Upper Carboniferous), Upper Silesia Coal Basin, Poland. Studia Geologica Polonica 108, 129-147.

He, X., Wang, S., Hilton, J., Galtier, J., Li, Y. & Shao, L. 2013. A unique trunk of Psaroniaceae (Marattiales) - Psaronius xuii sp. nov., and subdivision of the genus Psaronius Cotta. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 197, 1-14.View article

Hess, J.C., Lippolt, H.J., Holub, V.M. & Pešek, J. 1985. Isotopic ages of two Westphalian C tuffs - a contribution to the Upper Carboniferous time scale. Terra Cognita 5, 236-237.

Hilton, J., Wang, S.J., Galtier, J., Glasspool, I.J. & Stevens, L. 2004. A Late Permian permineralized plant assemblage in volcaniclastic tuffs from the Xuanwei Formation, Guizhou Province, China. Geological Magazine 141, 661-674.View article

Hoffmann, U., Breitkreuz, C., Breiter, K., Sergeev, S., Stanek, K. & Tichomirowa, M. 2012. Carboniferous-Permian volcanic evolution in Central Europe - U/Pb ages of volcanic rocks in Saxony (Germany) and northern Bohemia (Czech Republic). International Journal of Earth Sciences (Geologische Rundschau).

Johnson, K.R. 2007. Palaeobotany: Forest frozen in time. Nature 447, 786-787.View article

Kent, M. & Coker, P. 1992. Vegetation Description and Analysis, A Practical Approach. 363 pp. Belhaven Press, London.

Kerp, H. & Krings, M. 1998. Climbing and scrambling growth habits: common life strategies among Late Carboniferous seed ferns. Comptes Rendus de l’Academie de Sciences, Series 2A, 326, 583-588.

Krings, M., Kerp, H., Taylor, T.N. & Taylor, E.L. 2003. How Paleozoic vines and lianas got off the ground: on scrambling and climbing Carboniferous-Early Permian pteridosperms. The Botanical Review 69(2), 204-224.View article

Libertín, M., Bek, J. & Drábková, J. 2008. Two new Carboniferous fertile sphenophylls and their spores from the Czech Republic. Acta Paleontologica Polonica 53(4), 723-732.View article

Libertín, M., Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Bek, J., Sýkorová, I. & Dašková, J. 2009. Middle Pennsylvanian pioneer plant assemblage buried in situ by volcanic ash-fall, central Bohemia, Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 155, 204-233.View article

Mašek, J. 1973. Volcanic products of the Central Bohemian Carboniferous. Sborník geologických věd, Geologie 24, 73-104. [in Czech with English abstract]

Moravec, J. et al. 1994. Fytocenologie. 403 pp. Academia, Prague.

Mueller-Dombois, D. & Ellenberg, H. 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. 547 pp. Wiley, New York.

Němejc, F. 1947. The Lepidodendraceae of the coal districts of Central Bohemia. Sborník Národního musea B 7(2), 45-87.

Němejc, F. 1963. Paleobotanika II. 523 pp. Nakladatelství Československé akademie věd, Praha.

Niklas, K.J. 1994. Predicting the height of fossil plant remains: an allometric approach to an old problem. American Journal of Botany 81(10), 1235-1242.View article

Opluštil, S. 2005. Evolution of the Middle Westphalian river valley drainage system in central Bohemia (Czech Republic) and it palaeogeographic implication. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 222(3-4), 223-258.View article

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M., Bashforth, A.R., Šimůnek, Z., Drábková, J. & Dašková, J. 2009a. A Middle Pennsylvanian (Bolsovian) peat-forming forest preserved in situ in volcanic ash of the Whetstone Horizon in the Radnice Basin, Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 155, 234-374.View article

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M., Bek, J., Dašková, J., Šimůnek, Z. & Drábková, J. 2009b. Composition and structure of an in situ Middle Pennsylvanian peat-forming plant assemblage in volcanic ash, Radnice Basin (Czech Republic). Palaios 24, 726-746.View article

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M. & Šimůnek, Z. 2007. Vegetation paterns of Westphalian and Lower Stephanian mire assemblages preserved in tuff beds of the continental basins of Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 143, 107-154.View article

Pešek, J. 1994. Carboniferous of Central and Western Bohemia (Czech Republic). 60 pp. Czech Geological Survey, Prague.

Pfefferkorn, H.W. & Wang, J. 2007. Early Permian coal-forming floras preserved as compressions from the Wuda District (Inner Mongolia, China). International Journal of Coal Geology 69, 90-102.View article

Phillips, T.L. 1981. Stratigraphic occurrences and vegetational patterns of Pennsylvanian pteridosperms in Euramerican coal swamps. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 32, 5-26.View article

Phillips, T.L. & DiMichele, W.A. 1990. From plants to coal: peat taphonomy of Upper Carboniferous coals. International Journal of Coal Geology 16(1-3), 151-156.View article

Phillips, T.L., Peppers, R.A. & DiMichele, W.A. 1985. Stratigraphic and interregional changes in Pennsylvanian coal-swamp vegetation: Environmental inferences. International Journal of Coal Geology 5(1-2), 43-109.View article

Prokop, J. & Nel, A. 2010. New griffenfly, Bohemiatupus elegans from the late Carboniferous of western Bohemia in the Czech Republic (Odonatoptera: Meganisoptera: Meganeuridae). Annales de la Société entomologique de France (n.s.) 46(1-2), 183-188.View article

Pšenička, J. 2005. Taxonomy of Pennsylvanian-Permian ferns from coal basins in the Czech Republic and Canada. 185 pp. Ph.D. thesis, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague.

Pšenička, J. & Bek, J. 2001. Oligocarpia lindsaeoides (Ettingshausen) Stur and its spores from the Westphalian of Central Bohemia (Czech Republic). Acta Musei nationalis, Series B - historia naturalis 57(3-4), 57-68.

Pšenička, J. & Bek, J. 2009. A new reproductive organ Echinosporangites libertite gen. and sp. nov. and its spores from the Pennsylvanian (Bolsovian) of the Pilsen Basin, Bohemian Massif, Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 155, 145-158.View article

Pšenička, J., Bek, J. & Rößler, R. 2005. Two new species of Sonapteris gen. nov. (Botryopteridaceae) based on compressions from the Upper Carboniferous (Bolsovian-Westphalian D) of the Pilsen Basin, Bohemian Massif. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 136, 111-142.View article

Pšenička, J. & Opluštil, S. 2013. The epiphytic plants in the fossil record and its example from in situ tuff from Pennsylvanian of Radnice Basin (Czech Republic). Bulletin of Geosciences 88(2), 401-416.View article

Pšenička, J. & Schultka, S. 2009. Revision of the Carboniferous genus Rhodeites Němejc from European and American localities. Bulletin of Geosciences 84(2), 241-256.View article

Rößler, R. 2006. Two remarkable Permian petrified forests: correlation, comparison and significans, 39-63. In Lucas, S.G., Cassinis, G. & Schneider, J.W. (eds) Non-Marine Permian Biostratigraphy and Biochronology. Geological Society of London, Special Publication 265.

Rößler, R. & Barthel, M. 1998. Rotliegend taphocoenoses preservation favoured by rhyolithic explosive volcanism. Freiberger Forschungshefte, Paläontologie, Stratigraphie, Fazies C 474(6), 59-101.

Rößler, R., Merbitz, M., Annacker,V., Luthard, L., Noll, R., Neregato, R. & Rohn, R. 2014. The root systems of Permian arborescent sphenopsids: evidence from the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Palaeontographica, Abteilung B 290(4-6), 65-107.

Rößler, R., Zierold, T., Feng, Z., Kretzschmar, R., Merbitz, M., Annacker,V. & Schneider, J. 2012. A snapshot of an early Permian ecosystem preserved by explosive volcanism: new results from the Chemnitz petrified forest, Germany. Palaios 27, 814-834.View article

Selden, P.A. & Penney, D. 2010. Fossil spiders. Biological Reviews 85, 171-206. View article

Scott, A.C. & Rex, G. 1985. The formation and significance of Carboniferous coal balls. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 311, 123-137.View article

Scott, A.C. & Taylor, T.N. 1983. Plant/Animal Interactions During the Upper Carboniferous. The Botanical Review 49(3), 259-307.View article

Shute, C.H. & Cleal, C.L. 2002. Ecology and growth habit of Laveineopteris: a gymnosperm from the Late Carboniferous tropical rain forests. Palaeontology 45(5), 943-972.View article

Šimůnek, Z., Opluštil, S. & Drábková, J. 2009. Cordaites borassifolius (Sternberg) Unger (Cordaitales) from the Radnice Basin (Bolsovian, Czech Republic). Bulletin of Geosciences 84(2), 301-336.View article

Turek, V. 1989. Fish and amphibian trace fossils from Westphalian sediments of Bohemia. Palaeontology 32(3), 623-643.

Turek, V. 1996. Fish trace fossil interpreted as a food gathering swimming trail from the Upper Carboniferous (Westphalian) of Bohemia. Časopis Národního muzea, Řada přírodovědná 165(1-4), 5-8.

Wagner, R.H. 1989. A late Stephanian forest swamp with Sporangiostrobus fossilized by volcanic ash fall in the Puertollano Basin, central Spain. International Journal of Coal Geology 12(1-4), 523-552.View article

Wang, J., Pfefferkorn, H.W. & Bek, J. 2009. Paratingia wudensis sp. nov., a whole Noeggerathialean plant preserved in an earliest Permian air fall tuff in Inner Mongolia, China. American Journal of Botany 96(9), 1676-1689.View article

Wang, J., Pfefferkorn, H.W., Zhang, Y. & Feng, Z. 2012. Permian vegetational Pompeii from Inner Mongolia and its implications for landscape paleoecology and paleobiogeography of Cathasia. PNAS, 1-6.View article

Wing, S.L., Hickey, L.J. & Swisher, C.C. 1993. Implication of an exceptional fossil flora for Late Cretaceous vegetation. Nature 363, 342-344.View article

Wootton, R.J. 1976. The fossil record and insect flight, 235-254. In Rainey, R.C. (ed.) Insect flight. Symposium of Royal Entomological Society 7.