Plant fossils from the Norian Seefeld Formation of the Northern Calcareous Alps

Evelyn Kustatscher, Christoph Daxer & Karl Krainer

The Norian is the longest time interval of the Triassic but almost devoid of plant fossils in Europe. The Seefeld flora thus gives important insights in the composition of the flora of this time interval. It is composed mainly of vegetative shoots and reproductive organs of conifers (Brachyphyllum, Pagiophyllum, Elatocladus, Voltzia, Cheirolepidiaceae), but also includes a few remains putatively assigned to the cycadophytes (Taeniopteris) and lycophytes (Lepacyclotes). Plant fossils of the Seefeld flora occur mainly in organic-rich calcareous laminites of the middle Norian Seefeld Formation of the Northern Calcareous Alps (Tyrol, Austria). The conifer-dominated and fragmentary nature of the plant remains, generally protected by thick cuticles, was interpreted as due to the palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental conditions the plants lived in arid and hot climate, probably growing on small islands. The plant remains were subject to transport from islands to deeper marine sediments of an intraplatform basin before deposition.

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