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Sedimentological evidence for rooting structures in the Early Devonian Anglo-Welsh Basin (UK), with speculation on their producers

Hillier, Robert D., Edwards, Dianne and Morrissey, Lance B. 2008. Sedimentological evidence for rooting structures in the Early Devonian Anglo-Welsh Basin (UK), with speculation on their producers. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 270 (3-4) , pp. 366-380. 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.01.038

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Abstract

Rooting structures preserved as casts in alluvial deposits of the Lower Devonian Lower Old Red Sandstone occur more extensively than previously thought in the Anglo-Welsh Basin. Two rooting structure morphotypes are identified: morphotype 1 being predominantly horizontal, and morphotype 2 comprising vertical forms. Both morphotypes taper along their length, are oval in cross-section, branch, and can be linear or sinuous. Fills are heterolithic in nature. The rooting structures are observed in sediments deposited in a wide variety of environments including both low-sinuosity within-channel bar-tops and accretionary bar surfaces (inclined-heterolithic stratification); accretionary banks of sinuous ephemeral channels (inclined-heterolithic stratification); floodplains (including margins of shallow floodplain ponds) of both ephemeral and perennial river channels, and well-developed calcic Vertisols. Although a vascular plant origin to the rooting structures cannot be discounted, there is circumstantial evidence that the structures were produced by the enigmatic Prototaxites, recently reinterpreted as a giant fungus. It is possible that they represent underground aggregates (rhizomorphs or cords) of hyphae involved in anchorage and nutrient foraging. Organic matter associated with biofilms and crusts is hypothesized as a source of nutrients for the presumed saprotroph.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QK Botany
Uncontrolled Keywords: Basidiomycetes; Early Devonian; Drylands; Fluvial; Microbial mats; Old Red Sandstone; Prototaxites; Rooting structure; Trace fossil; Terrestrial environment; Tracheophytes
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-0182
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:09
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/10053

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