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Book Chapter

Environmental and Structural Differentials in Peatland Development

By
Norman W. Radforth
Norman W. Radforth
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Published:
January 01, 1969

In muskeg (peatland) there is no climactic response. The culminating floras overlying the peat conform to life-form in characteristic ways despite circumpolar differences in species composition. Specific life-forms recur areally and relate primarily to hydrological phenomena.

Commonly, especially in unconfined muskeg, the culminating flora is representative for the entire underlying section of peat, if allowances are made for selectivity as fossilization occurs. Selectivity is partly responsible for limitation of the number of structural kinds of peat; only 17 are recognized qualitatively.

Geomorphic and edaphic features of the landscape enclosing the organic terrain contribute to control in development of peat-structure type. A confining feature (for example, the sides of an island of mineral soil or of a kettle or a depression in Precambrian rocks) induces characteristic changes in the structural composition of organic terrain. Low and high latitudes with associated temperature differences, even those that induce permafrost, are less influential in controlling peat structure than are geomorphic and water factors. Structural differences are reflected in surficial patterns. Five such are discernible at heights of 30,000 feet above the Earth’s surface.

Peat-forming environments resemble those which have led to coal development in that the factor primarily responsible for the structure of organic matter fossilized en masse is natural selection from new evolutionary products. Local surface temperature and other physical environmental factors are regarded as unimportant to structure.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Environments of Coal Deposition: Papers Presented at a Symposium by the Coal Geology Division of The Geological Society of America at the Annual Meeting Miami Beach, Florida, 1964

Edward C. Dapples
Edward C. Dapples
Editors
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M. E. Hopkins
M. E. Hopkins
Editors
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Geological Society of America
Volume
114
ISBN print:
9780813721149
Publication date:
January 01, 1969

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