Monday, August 12, 2013

Highlights—Paleosols: “Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence”

Recent studies of paleosols have provided important insights into landscape processes and climate; yet, due to their landscape position, they may not be preserved. In this paper, Gastaldo et al. describe mudclast aggregates in anabranching deposits of the Triassic Katberg Formation of South Africa. Results reveal that the aggregates are heterogenous coarse silt to fine sand and are not found as matrix or within in situ paleosols; instead, they are associated with reworked carbonate nodules and mudchip rip-up clasts. These attributes are used to interpret the former presence of PaleoVertisols across the Early Triassic Karoo landscape. These data and recognition of mud aggregates is interpreted to reinforce the idea that mudclast aggregates are characteristic of closed depositional systems, including continental-interior basins.

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