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Paleobotanical Section

Ryberg, Patricia E. [1], Taylor, Edith L. [1].

Fossil tree rings as paleoclimatic indicators in the Permian and Triassic of Antarctica.

Tree rings are well preserved in Late Permian and Middle Triassic permineralized peats from the central Transantarctic Mountains, and can be used as paleoclimate indicators. During both of these time periods, the Earth had a greenhouse climate, with temperatures in polar regions sufficient for plant growth. Permian wood from Skaar Ridge and Triassic wood from Fremouw Peak both exhibit a large amount of earlywood and very little latewood, suggesting a long growing season followed by a short transition to dormancy. Minimal change in radial cell diameter across individual rings and the small amount of latewood may be due to a rapid transition to low light levels at the end of the growing season. Mean sensitivity, which measures the difference in ring widths from one year to the next, suggests that there was some climatic variation from year to year. However, mean sensitivities do not vary much between the Permian and Triassic woods, signifying that there was not a dramatic change in climate variability between these time periods. Previously there has not been much paleoclimate information obtained from Gondwana Triassic wood, and the permineralized material represents an important source of data on growing conditions in Antarctica at this time.

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1 - University of Kansas, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045-7534, USA

fossil wood
tree rings

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 26-3
Location: Salon G - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 8:30 AM
Abstract ID:98

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