Plants provide important insights into paleo-landscapes and -climate, yet commonly are not well preserved in the geologic record. This paper by Simon et al. describes a perplexing case where the features of the abandoned channel deposits, plant fossils and paleosol sections suggest that conditions were relatively wet, although the formation has been interpreted to have been deposited under semi-arid to arid conditions. Within the Leonardian (Permian) Clear Fork Formation of north-central Texas, the Colwell Creek Pond site represents an abandoned channel Integrated field, sedimentologic, mineralogic, paleobotanic, and taphonomic observations reveal the formative conditions and preservation of the laminated mudstone beds, as well as the types of plants preserved and biomineralization process. The findings of this paper broaden understanding of the conditions within the equatorial regions of Permian Pangea, providing perspectives on these unique systems without complete modern analogs.
An abandoned-channel fill with exquisitely preserved plants in redbeds of the Clear Fork Formation, Texas, U.S.A.: an Early Permian water-dependent habitat on the arid plains of Pangea Sharane S.T. Simon, Martin R. Gibling, William A. DiMichele, Dan S. Chaney, Cindy V. Looy, and Neil J. Tabor