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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 67 (1983)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 444

Last Page: 445

Title: Plants of Devonian-Mississippian Black Shales, Eastern Interior, U.S.A.: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Aureal T. Cross

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Macrofossils of the New Albany shale and equivalents of Late Devonian of Early Mississippian age in the east-central United States are known from three main "floras" or assemblages. One "flora" is almost entirely composed of Callixylon logs, slabs,

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and slivers, presumed to be driftwood permineralized after burial. Callixylon fossils are most abundant in the upper part of the Clegg Creek Member of the New Albany shale ()Famennian) and equivalent strata in western New York, Ohio, and contiguous areas, perhaps because these Progymnosperms reached the zenith of their development at that time. They also occur sporadically throughout the New Albany shale and equivalent strata. The principal geographic concentration of Callixylon is in western New York, principally in marine sediments, and on the west side of the Cincinnati arch. Callixylon is also sparsely and sporadically distributed in nearly all areas of outcrop of the Devonian black shales including the New Albany, Antrim, Kettle Point, and Ohio shales, and is found in Kinderhooki n age shales from Illinois and Tennessee.

A second, and later, flora consists principally of permineralized wood pieces (phosphatized free-wood or concretions) of stems, rachises, petioles, and possibly even mid-veins of pinnules of diverse members of the Lycopsida, Sphenopsida, Cladoxylales, Coenopteridales, Progymnospermae, and Pteridospermae. A few of these disjunct pieces have been reconstructed into more complete plants known from the Catskill delta in western New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The principal concentration of these stem and petiolar segments is in the Falling Run Member of Sanderson Formation of the New Albany shale on the west side of the Cincinnati arch in southern Indiana and Kentucky, and in central Kentucky in the low saddle between the Cincinnati arch proper and its southward extension as th Nashville dome. This abundant distribution of minute stem axes and other such small plat fragments strongly suggests the source of these palnts to be a nearby island (Cincinnatia?). Alternatively, it is proposed that they have been concentrated by currents on a very shallow choal on or near a structurally positive submarine rise of the Cincinnati arch, or by floating algal mats in which the waterworn wood and leaf fragments became enmeshed as flotsam near some shore and were transported by these mats to more distant sites before the disintegration of the mats.

The third type of macrofossil palnt assemblage is constituted of Foerstia. These plants are considered to be algal in origin and indicate no clear relationship either to distance from shore or depth of water. The main concentration is in middle and lower New Albany shale and equivalents. It is also found sparingly in West Virginia and Michigan and much farther west (one specimen from the Exshaw shale of Montana).

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