Palaeoecology and plant succession in a borehole through the Rhynie cherts, Lower Old Red Sandstone, Scotland
Published:January 01, 2000
Clare L. Powell, Nigel H. Trewin, Dianne Edwards, 2000. "Palaeoecology and plant succession in a borehole through the Rhynie cherts, Lower Old Red Sandstone, Scotland", New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone, P. F. Friend, B. P. J. Williams
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A cored borehole through the Early Devonian Rhynie cherts at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland, has revealed 53 chert beds in 35.41 m of core. The cherts originated as sinters deposited by hot-spring activity. Chert comprises 4.20 m of the cored succession, with the thickest bed, representing a single silicification event, being 0.31 m thick and the thickest composite chert (comprising six beds) 0.76 m thick. Average chert bed thickness is 80 mm. Forty-five plant-bearing chert beds are interbedded with sandstones, mudstones and shales. The sediments were deposited on an alluvial plain with local lakes, the area being periodically affected by hot-spring activity. Plants initially colonized both subaerial sand and sinter surfaces. Rhynia gwynne-vaughanii and Horneophyton lignieri commonly form the basal parts of the profiles with subsequent colonization by other genera. Rhynia is commonly found in life position above originally sandy substrates, and Horneophyton above sinter surfaces. The composition of the Rhynie vegetation is compared with coeval assemblages and, on the basis of current knowledge, it is concluded that there is no unequivocal evidence that the plants were adapted to life in the stressed environments in the immediate vicinity of hot springs.
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New Perspectives on the Old Red Sandstone
From the 1960s onwards, the Old Red Sandstone of both borders of the Atlantic Ocean has acted as a test-bed for the development of new ideas on the interpretation of fluvial, lacustrine and aeolian sedimentary rocks, and the investigation of tectonically-active basins. Much of the earlier reconnaissance work is now being reviewed in the light of further detailed field study, along with new developments in the understanding of the biostratigraphy, palaeobiology, geochronology, pedogenesis and tectonics.
Three general papers review recent work on the stratigraphical and chronological analysis of the Late Silurian, Devonian and Early Carboniferous strata, and summarize present understanding of the tectonics of the basins. These are then followed by twenty-seven contributions covering new work in Eastern USA, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Greenland and Spitsbergen.