Abstract

As direct evidence of paleowildfires, fossil charcoal has so far rarely been reported from Triassic rocks around the world. Indeed there seems to be a scarcity of reports of charcoal between the Permian–Triassic boundary (PTB) and the Ladinian (upper Middle Triassic), an interval of ∼16 myr. There are only a few published records in this time period, consisting either of microscopic charcoal in palynological samples or of indirect evidence such as potential fire scars in wood. Macroscopic charcoal has recently been discovered in the early Middle Triassic (early Anisian) Voltzia Sandstone fossil Lagerstätte in southwestern Germany, providing the oldest macroscopic post-Permian evidence of wildfire currently known. Previous authors have suggested a lack of fuel as a reason for the scarcity of charcoal in Lower-Middle Triassic rocks. As the Voltzia Sandstone includes the oldest known, moderately diverse regional paleoflora after the PTB (interpreted by some authors as representing the recovery of the land flora after end-Permian biotic events), a lack of fuel cannot be claimed as a possible reason for the scarceness of charcoal in these rocks. It seems possible in this particular case that previous researchers simply may have overlooked charcoal remains from this formation, either because they were not recognized or were not considered important at the time.

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