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Journal Articles Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry Year : 2015

Fossil wood from the Miocene and Oligocene epoch: chemistry and morphology

Michel Bardet
Anastasia Pournou
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Abstract

Fossil wood is the naturally preserved remain of the secondary xylem of plants that lived before the Holocene epoch. Typically, fossil wood is preserved as coalified or petrified and rarely as mummified tissue. The process of fossilization is very complex and it is still unknown why in the same fossil record, wood can be found in different fossilisation forms. In 2007, a fossil forest was found in the Bukkabrany open-pit coal mine in Hungary. The non-petrified forest is estimated to be 7 million years old (Miocene epoch) and its trees were found standing in an upright position. This fossil assemblage is exceptionally rare because wood has been preserved as soft waterlogged tissue. This study aimed to investigate this remarkable way of fossil wood preservation, by examining its chemistry with C-13 CPMAS NMR and its morphology with light and electron microscopy. For comparison reasons, a petrified wood trunk from the Oligocene epoch (30 Myr) found in 2001 at Porrentruy region in Switzerland and two fresh wood samples of the modern equivalents of the Miocene sample were also examined. The results obtained showed that the outstanding preservation state of the Miocene fossil is not owed to petrification or coalification. Mummification is a potential mechanism that could explain Bukkabrany trunks' condition, however this fossilisation process is not well studied and therefore this hypothesis needs to be further investigated. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Dates and versions

hal-01585689 , version 1 (11-09-2017)

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Michel Bardet, Anastasia Pournou. Fossil wood from the Miocene and Oligocene epoch: chemistry and morphology. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry, 2015, 53 (1), pp.9-14. ⟨10.1002/mrc.4143⟩. ⟨hal-01585689⟩

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