Fossil Plants and Coal: Patterns of Change in Pennsylvanian Coal Swamps of the Illinois Basin

Science  28 Jun 1974:
Vol. 184, Issue 4144, pp. 1367-1369
DOI: 10.1126/science.184.4144.1367


Coal palynology and studies of petrified peat indicate major changes in coal-swamp floras and the botanical constituents of coal throughout Pennsylvanian time. The changes are the result of broad climatic shifts and local environmental factors. The most striking is the change from a lycopod-dominated flora to one in which tree ferns were the major element. This change occurred at the Desmoinesian-Missourian (Westphalian-Stephanian) boundary and is probably multicontinental in scope.

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