Decoupling delta C-13 response to palaeoflora cycles and climatic variation in coal: A case study from the Late Permian Bowen Basin, Queensland, Australia

Van de Wetering, Nikola, Esterle, Joan and Baublys, Kim (2013) Decoupling delta C-13 response to palaeoflora cycles and climatic variation in coal: A case study from the Late Permian Bowen Basin, Queensland, Australia. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 386 165-179. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.05.016


Author Van de Wetering, Nikola
Esterle, Joan
Baublys, Kim
Title Decoupling delta C-13 response to palaeoflora cycles and climatic variation in coal: A case study from the Late Permian Bowen Basin, Queensland, Australia
Journal name Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-0182
1872-616X
Publication date 2013-09-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.palaeo.2013.05.016
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 386
Start page 165
End page 179
Total pages 15
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 1910 Oceanography
1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
1904 Earth-Surface Processes
1911 Palaeontology
Abstract The Late Permian coal measures of the Bowen Basin, Australia express both environmental and climatic changes that occurred prior to the Permian Triassic (P-T) boundary. In order to decouple the influence of environmental factors (salinity, pH, base level and temperature) from depositional and climatic factors (atmospheric CO) in organic δC, a high resolution study was performed on 24 coal seams (total 24.6m) in the Late Permian stratigraphy in the northern Bowen Basin. The Late Permian stratigraphy of the Bowen Basin records a transition from deltaic and lacustrine conditions within the Tinowan Formation and Black Alley Shale Formation, to fluvial deposition in the Kaloola and Bandanna Formations. Intermittent volcanism is recorded by tuff layers during periods of peat accumulation. Variations of coal lithotypes were recorded and formed the basis of sampling for petrography and isotope analysis. Coal samples were etched to expose cellular anatomy, and systematically identified to recognise palaeoflora assemblages. When observed within seam, δC of the coal varied cyclically (C enriched-depleted-enriched) as a response to environmental changes expressed in palaeoflora communities. The total range of δC was -26.6‰ to -21.9‰. The overall trend of δC progresses to increasing C enrichment, corresponding with dull lithotypes (rich in inertinite) which indicate fluctuations in base level. The C enrichment peaks at -22.5‰ within the Kaloola Member and shifting rapidly toward a depletion (maximum -26.6‰) of C in the upper Bandanna Formation, prior to the P-T boundary. These changes are expressed in palaeoflora communities where ecosystems shifted from dominant Glossopteris flora, to climax community flora including Palaeosmunda, Cycadales and Ginkgo, suited to temperate, early Mesozoic climates. The results of this study represent an insight into the effects of environmental variables on C uptake of plants. The identification of flora within coal gives an insight into palaeowetland evolution, and can be partnered with classic petrographical techniques for integrated analysis in coals. Both the geochemistry and the anatomical aspects of coal represent an important tool for future palaeowetland research.
Keyword Coal
Palaeoclimate
Palaeobotany
Carbon
Isotope
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
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