The Late Pennsylvanian flora of the Italian Carnic Alps

Stanislav Opluštil, Josef Pšenička, Zbyněk Šimůnek, Luca Simonetto, Evelyn Kustatscher, Jan Votočková Frojdová

The Pennsylvanian flora from the Italian Carnic Alps, stored in the Museo Friulano di Storia Naturale in Udine, Italy, was revised taxonomically. Plant fossils come from the Bombaso Formation and Pramollo (Auernig) Group (Late Pennsylvanian) that correspond to the lower part of the paralic to shallow marine Carboniferous–Permian Pramollo (or Pramollo-Nasfeld) Basin succession. Most of the ~2500 studied plant fossils and also the highest number of species come from the the Bombaso, Meledis and Pizzul formations, whereas the middle and upper part of the Pramollo Group in the Italian Carnic Alps yielded only few plant remains, contrarily to the successions on the Austrian side. In total 73 plant taxa have been identified, which represent about 59 biological species. The ferns, especially marattialen ferns, are the most diverse plant group (33 species in total) followed by pteridosperms (15 species). The stratigraphic range of the Bombaso Formation and the Pramollo Group have been re-evaluated based on presence of stratigraphically important species from both the Italian and Austrian parts of the Carnic Alps. The studied interval ranges from a middle Barruelian to middle Stephanian B sensu Wagner and Álvarez-Vázquez (2010a) and spans about 3.5 Ma. The diversity of the Carnic Alps flora is comparable with well-documented contemporaneous floras in NW Spain, French Massif Central and the Czech Republic. Floral richness and diversity together with intercalations of plant-rich horizons with fossiliferous marine limestone bands makes the Carnic Alps a potential candidate as a stratigraphically important reference section for non-marine to marine correlations.

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