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Paleobotany and palynology of the Bristol Hill Coal Member (Bond Formation) and Friendsville Coal Member (Mattoon Formation) of the Illinois Basin (Upper Pennsylvanian)

Debra A. Willard and Tom L. Phillips
Paleobotany and palynology of the Bristol Hill Coal Member (Bond Formation) and Friendsville Coal Member (Mattoon Formation) of the Illinois Basin (Upper Pennsylvanian)
Palaios (December 1993) 8 (6): 574-586

Abstract

Late Pennsylvanian coal swamps of the Illinois Basin were dominated by Psaronius tree ferns with a spatially heterogeneous distribution of medullosan pteridosperms (subdominant), calamites, sigillarian lycopsids, and cordaites. Miospore and coal-ball plant assemblages from the Missourian-age Bristol Hill Coal Member (Bond Formation) and Friendsville Coal Member (Mattoon Formation) of southeastern Illinois were quantified to analyze vegetational patterns in Late Pennsylvanian peat swamps and to compare vegetational composition of the coals. In the Bristol Hill Coal (95 coal balls, 2613 cm (super 2) coal-ball peels), tree ferns are dominant (75.6%), followed by pteridosperms (11.5%), lycopsids (10.6%), sphenopsids (0.6%), small ferns (1.6%), and cordaites (0.1%). Coal-ball peats from the Friendsville Coal (719 coal balls, 26,659 cm (super 2) coal-ball peels) also are dominated by tree ferns (74.9%), followed by pteridosperms (15.4%), cordaites (6.6%), sphenopsids (2.5%), lycopsids (0.4%), and small ferns (0.2%). Tree-fern spores were the most abundant element in miospore assemblages from both coals, but the coals differ in relative abundance of tree-fern species. Bristol Hill samples are distinguished by abundant Speciosporites minutus (46%) and Cyclogranisporites (12%), whereas Friendsville samples incorporated more Punctatisporites minutus (27%) and Apiculatisporis saetiger (23%). Estimates of vegetational abundance from the coal-ball and miospore records were compared using ratios of percent abundance of miospore species to source plant abundance in the coal-ball record (R-values). In both coals, tree ferns are evenly represented in both micro- and megafossil records (R = 0.8-1.2), and pteridosperms are represented poorly (R < 0.02). Small ferns are over-represented in the miospore record (R = 12-32), and values for lycopsids and cordaites are quite variable (R = 0.6-3.4 and R = 0.03-6.5, respectively). Three-dimensional sampling over a 20 m (super 2) area (profiles collected from adjacent 1 m (super 2) grids) of a large coal-ball mass in the Friendsville Coal indicates the need for extensive collections of laterally separate profiles in the Upper Pennsylvanian. Large diameter (up to 1 m) Psaronius trunks and fallen trees, such as calamites, may markedly bias estimates of biomass composition because of size and varied distribution of such large plants.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 8
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Paleobotany and palynology of the Bristol Hill Coal Member (Bond Formation) and Friendsville Coal Member (Mattoon Formation) of the Illinois Basin (Upper Pennsylvanian)
Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, United States
Pages: 574-586
Published: 199312
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 49
Accession Number: 1994-017488
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables
N38°15'00" - N38°30'00", W88°00'00" - W87°45'00"
N38°52'00" - N39°10'00", W87°55'60" - W87°30'00"
N38°34'60" - N38°52'00", W87°55'00" - W87°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Plant Biology, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 199408
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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