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Palynological Fossil Response to Low-Grade Metamorphism in the Arkoma Basin
Spores and other plant microfossils apparently do not occur in the Arkoma basin coals of eastern Oklahoma where the fixed carbon is in excess of 70%. This fact has been related to the low grade metamorphism associated with the structural deformation of the area. On the western side of the basin the fixed carbon content of the coal is less than 50%. This increases eastward until it is more than 80% near the Arkansas state line. The preservation characteristics of ten genera of fossil spores, plant cuticles, and wood tissues were studied in several coal seams that have a geographic distribution across the fixed carbon range of the Arkoma basin. Plant cuticles were not found in coals with a fixed carbon ratio of more than 67% and plant spores and wood tissues were not observed above 70.08%. Certain genera of fossil spores with delicate structures appear to have ranges restricted to less than 70% fixed-carbon. Correlation of coal seams by fossil spores must include an understanding of the relationship between fixed-carbon ratio and spore occurrence.
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