Abstract

The South Wales Coalfield has the most complete Westphalian macrofloral record anywhere on the Variscan Foreland or adjacent basins, with 135 biodiversity-meaningful morphospecies having been recognized. All of the standard macrofloral biozones of the Westphalian Stage have been recognized, although a detailed comparison with the Central Pennines Coalfields has indicated some discrepancies in the relative positions of the biozonal boundaries. Total Species Richness progressively increases through the Langsettian Substage, and then remains relatively stable through most of the Duckmantian and Bolsovian substages. There is a distinct reduction in Total Species Richness towards the top of the Bolsovian Substage, but this partially recovers in the middle Asturian Substage with the appearance of a range of marattialean ferns, and medullosalean and callistophytaleans pteridosperms. There is no evidence of any significant drop in Total Species Richness towards the top of the succession, indicating that conditions at this time were relatively stable. The change from coastal floodplain to alluvial braidplain conditions in middle Bolsovian times correlates with a marked increase in the proportion of medullosalean remains being preserved in the adpression record, reflecting an expansion of the clastic-substrate habitats.

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