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Compression-cuticle relationship of seed ferns: Insights from liquid-solid states FTIR (Late Palaeozoic-Early Mesozoic, Canada-Spain-Argentina)

January 1, 2009

Cuticles have been macerated from suitably preserved compressed fossil foliage by Schulze's process for the past 150 years, whereas the physical-biochemical relationship between the "coalified layer" with preserved cuticle as a unit has hardly been investigated, although they provide complementary information. This relationship is conceptualized by an analogue model of the anatomy of an extant leaf: "vitrinite (mesophyll) + cuticle (biomacropolymer) = compression". Alkaline solutions from Schulze's process as a proxy for the vitrinite, are studied by means of liquid-solid states Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). In addition, cuticle-free coalified layers and fossilized cuticles of seed ferns mainly from Canada, Spain and Argentina of Late Pennsylvanian-Late Triassic age are included in the study sample. Infrared data of cuticle and alkaline solutions differ which is primarily contingent on the mesophyll +biomacropolymer characteristics. The compression records two pathways of organic matter transformation. One is the vitrinized component that reflects the diagenetic-post-diagenetic coalification history parallel with the evolution of the associated coal seam. The other is the cuticle that reflects the sum-total of evolutionary pathway of the biomacropolymer, its monomeric, or polymeric fragmentation, though factors promoting preservation include entombing clay minerals and lower pH conditions. Caution is advised when interpreting liquid-state-based FTIR data, as some IR signals may have resulted from the interaction of Schulze's process with the cuticular biochemistry. A biochemical-study course for taphonomy is suggested, as fossilized cuticles, cuticle-free coalified layers, and compressions are responses to shared physicogeochemical factors. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2009
Title Compression-cuticle relationship of seed ferns: Insights from liquid-solid states FTIR (Late Palaeozoic-Early Mesozoic, Canada-Spain-Argentina)
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2009.06.001
Authors E.L. Zodrow, J. A. D'Angelo, Maria Mastalerz, D. Keefe
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Coal Geology
Series Number
Index ID 70036626
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization