Amber droplets in the Southern Alps (NE Italy): A link between their occurrences and main humid episodes in the Triassic

Giuseppa Forte, evelyn Kustatscher, Eugenio Ragazzi, Guido Roghi

The anisian amber from the “Voltzia beds” of the recoaro area, produced by Voltzia recubariensis, represents the most ancient triassic amber known so far. the discovery of amber in the anisian localities of Kühwiesenkopf/Monte Prà della Vacca and Piz da Peres, in the Dolomites area, fills a gap in the amber fossil record and contributes to the knowledge of Triassic amber. The finding of amber droplets, both dispersed in the sediment and anatomically connected to shoot fragments of V. recubariensis, demonstrates that during the anisian this species was a resin-producer and that the favorable conditions for the preservation of resin and plant remains were present at regional scale. The contribution of Voltziales to Middle Triassic resin production in Northern Italy is also testified by the ladinian amber from the “Wengener schichten” of Wengen Formation, produced by Voltzia ladinica, whereas the upper triassic amber from heiligkreuz Formation was mainly produced by cheirolepidiaceous conifers. the finding of an unidentified inclusion in the amber of Kühwiesenkopf/Monte Prà dalla Vacca is noteworthy, although difficult to interpret, and shows once again its capability to entrap and preserve witnesses of past life. Moreover, the correspondence between the triassic amber occurrences and regional/global scale humid shifts, suggests a cause-andeffect relationship, in which the rise of amber production/preservation potential is related to climate/environmental changes, particularly in marginal marine/coastal environments.

Anisian; pelsonian; fossil resin; conifers; Voltzia recubariensis; norian amber

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