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Environmental history of the German Lower Rhine Embayment during the Middle Miocene as reflected by carbon isotopes in brown coal

Lücke, A., Helle, G., Schleser, G. H., Figueiral, I., Mosbrugger, V., Jones, Timothy Peter and Rowe, N. P. 1999. Environmental history of the German Lower Rhine Embayment during the Middle Miocene as reflected by carbon isotopes in brown coal. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 154 (4) , pp. 339-352. 10.1016/S0031-0182(99)00122-4

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Abstract

Stable carbon isotope investigations have been carried out on Miocene brown coal from the Garzweiler Seam of the German Lower Rhine Embayment. Material studied included fossil wood from seven different taxa, and brown coal matrix. Isotope results from macrofossil analysis show variations of more than 6‰ within individual samples and reveal a general isotopic difference between angiosperm and gymnosperm wood specimens. According to mean carbon isotope values found for gymnosperms, angiosperms and brown coal matrix (−23.3‰, −26.0‰ and −25.8‰), the peat-forming vegetation of the Garzweiler Seam was dominated by angiosperm taxa. Results from brown coal matrix establish a continuous high-resolution depth profile of carbon isotope variations during the late Middle Miocene. They show a significant and characteristic isotope pattern with distinct medium- and short-term cycles (high-frequency variations) in the two main units of Garzweiler Seam (locally split into three units). The medium-term δ13C variations are most likely caused by varying proportions of gymnosperms within the peat-forming vegetation while high-frequency oscillations seem to be a direct signal of environmental changes. A long-term decline of carbon isotope values observed within the complete Garzweiler Seam from base to top is presumably due to a cooling trend in the Miocene.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: stable carbon isotopes; brown coal; fossil wood; Miocene; palaeoenvironment; palaeoclimate
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-0182
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:29
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/21893

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