Distribution of living taxa is controlled by soil moisture, resulting in a mosaic vegetational pattern. Once introduced into an aquatic setting, plant parts may undergo a variety of interactions before final deposition and burial.

Preservation Potential Along and Adjacent to River Channels

The potential for preservation of canopy plant parts is dependent upon the microhabit within the river system (Burnham, 1989).

Preservation Potential in Channel Cut-offs (Oxbow Lakes)

Chickasawbayou Oxbow Lakes

Gastaldo and others (1989) have evaluated the potential for preservation of plant detritus in a temperate oxbow in the Alabama River floodplain, and have compared these empirical data to the Tertiary of central Europe (Gastaldo and others, 1996; in press).

Tagebau Bockwitz Highwall

Bedding Surface with Parautochthonous Leaves


Lakes, in contrast to unconstrained river systems, often contain rich fossil plant assemblages due, in part, to episodic high rates of deposition. The abundance and types of plant remains in lakes is a function of the distance and mode of transportation, as well as the biological and mechanical degradation operating within the system at the time of transport and burial.

Where several streams enter into a lake basin, each may provide a different suite of plant parts to that depositional site.

Isolated Lakes may act as sites for the deposition of peat (dark-brown or black residuum produced by the partial decomposition and degradation of wetland plants).

© Copyright 1997 by Robert A. Gastaldo. All rights reserved. No part of these lecture notes may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the author.