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History and development of Carboniferous palynology in North America during the early and middle twentieth century

By
Aureal T. Cross
Aureal T. Cross
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Robert M. Kosanke
Robert M. Kosanke
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Published:
January 01, 1995

Three main roots of upper Paleozoic palynology in North America date from the opening of the twentieth century. These are Gresley’s recognition of spores in Iowa coal balls in 1901, analyses of spores by Sellards from Mazon Creek compressions in 1902, and Thiessen’s analyses of dispersed spores from coal macerations and thin sections in 1913. The Pollen Analysis Circular brought workers with dual interests in Holocene and ancient spore/pollen analyses into contact in the 1940s and generated interest in older fossils. Two umbrella organizations—the Paleobotanical Section of the Botanical Society of America (1936) and the Coal Geology Division of the Geological Society of America (1955)—encouraged palynologists to participate in meetings and field trips.

Fundamental papers by Schopf et al. in 1944 and Kosanke in 1950 established Carboniferous palynology in North America. Active teaching and research centers at the University of Chicago in the 1920s and the University of Illinois and Coe College in the 1930s spawned new palynological centers, particularly throughout the Midwest. Palynological contributions on dispersed spores, mainly from coals and associated rocks, appeared from educational centers from 1929 through the 1950s (in approximate succession) from the University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati, Harvard University, Washington University (St. Louis), West Virginia University, Pennsylvania State University, Nova Scotia Research Foundation, Indiana University, University of Missouri, and the University of Oklahoma. Limited reviews of early researches at these early palynologic centers are here included by regions: Maritime Canada, the Appalachian, Illinois and Michigan basins, the Midcontinent and Texas, western North America, and the Arctic islands. Palynology applied to petroleum exploration appeared in the 1940s, and major petroleum companies had palynology laboratories in place by 1960. The first international palynology journals appeared in the 1950s and catalogs first appeared in the mid-1960s, except the Catalog of Fossil Spores and Pollen, which began in 1957. The first specific palynology organization, the American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, was founded in 1968.

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GSA Memoirs

Historical Perspective of Early Twentieth Century Carboniferous Paleobotany in North America

Paul C. Lyons
Paul C. Lyons
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Elsie Darrah Morey
Elsie Darrah Morey
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Robert H. Wagner
Robert H. Wagner
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Geological Society of America
Volume
185
ISBN print:
9780813711850
Publication date:
January 01, 1995

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