Abstract

Plant and root traces from the Fort Prével Member of the Battery Point Formation (late Early Devonian, Emsian), Gaspé Bay, Québec (Canada), are larger and more complex than previously postulated for land plants of this time. The traces are preserved as clay- and silt-lined casts in or near growth position and provide evidence that early vascular land plants achieved substantial stature (2–3 m) and were capable of deep rooting (to nearly 1 m). The root traces and alluvial deposits in which they occur suggest increased landscape stabilization and root system and paleosol morphologies that were influenced by a water-stressed, episodically energetic environment. Early Devonian plants of such large stature may have been partly responsible for initiation of a steep decline in atmospheric p(CO2), through organic carbon burial and accelerated terrestrial weathering.

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