International Journal of Coal Geology
Four different compression/impression floras are preserved in only 4.32 m to of the geologic section in the Early Permian Shanxi Formation of the Wuda District of Inner Mongolia, northwestern China. These floras represent four different plant communities and landscapes that followed each other in time. The oldest flora was rooted in sandy clay and initiated peat accumulation that lead to the formation of the lower coal seam. This seam is 230-cm thick and overlain by a 66-cm thick volcanic tuff that preserves a second different flora that grew on the peat at the time of the ash-fall. Standing stems and large plant parts are present. The upper part of the tuff is rooted by a single species of lycopsid (the third flora) again initiating peat accumulation. On top of this second seam of 120 cm thickness rests a roof-shale, deposited as mud in a shallow lake, the formation of which was responsible for the cessation of peat deposition. This fourth flora represents the plants growing around the lake on elastic substrate. Four different environments followed each other in this locality over a geologically short time span and each time conditions prevailed to preserve plant macrofossils. Three of these floras represent peat-forming plant communities of essentially the same time interval. This demonstrates the great variability of vegetation and landscapes in the tropical Cathaysian realm of the Late Paleozoic. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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