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What happened to the coal forests during Pennsylvanian glacial phases?

Howard J. Falcon-Lang and William A. DiMichele
What happened to the coal forests during Pennsylvanian glacial phases?
Palaios (September 2010) 25 (9): 611-617


Sequence stratigraphic analysis of Pennsylvanian coal-bearing strata suggests that glacial-interglacial fluctuations at high latitudes drove cyclic changes in tropical biomes. A literature review of plant assemblages in this paleoclimatic context suggests that coal forests dominated during humid interglacial phases, but were replaced by seasonally dry vegetation during glacial phases. After each glacial event, coal forests reassembled with largely the same species composition. This remarkable stasis implies that coal-forest refugia existed across the equatorial landscape during glacial phases, expanding to repopulate lowlands during and following deglaciation. One possibility is that refugia comprised small pockets of wetland forest strung out along valleys at some sites, but data are currently insufficient to test this hypothesis. The model presented here, if accepted, dramatically alters our understanding of the coal forests and helps explain aspects of their dynamics.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 25
Serial Issue: 9
Title: What happened to the coal forests during Pennsylvanian glacial phases?
Affiliation: Royal Holloway University of London, Department of Earth Sciences, Egham, United Kingdom
Pages: 611-617
Published: 201009
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 64
Accession Number: 2010-081079
Categories: Paleobotany
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
Secondary Affiliation: Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 201043
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