Abstract

Sedimentary and palynofacies analysis, total organic carbon content (TOC), and palynology from a densely sampled, small, lignite-bearing succession of Late Miocene age at Badersdorf, SE Austria, were compared with modern wetland ecologies. From this, six hydrologically controlled palynofacies types and six associated paleo-plant habitats in an ancient wetland system were differentiated. The associated woody and herbaceous hinterland flora also were distinguished. At least four horizons with relatively high fusinite content have been preserved, indicating occurrence of paleo-wildfires in either the wetland or the hinterland. The palynofacies types were used to determine the taphonomic bias of the associated palynomorph assemblages, which, together with a comparison with modern wetland vegetation, led to differentiation of the paleo-plant habitats. The paleo-wetland was dominated mainly by Glyptostrobus-containing vegetation, and comprised clastic swamp forests with woody angiosperms, natural levee forests, fern- and Glyptostrobus-dominated organic swamps, freshwater marshes, and wet prairies. The occurrence of more than 40 herbaceous taxa at this locality indicates that the lowland vegetation was not composed of only different closed-forest types, but also of areas with herbaceous vegetation. The more zonal vegetation of the adjacent hinterland has been interpreted as a mix of Pinaceae and woody angiosperms with patches of more herbaceous xeric layers.

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