Paleozoic vegetation and the Siluro-Devonian rise of fluvial lateral accretion sets

Davies, Neil S. and Gibling, Martin R. (2010) Paleozoic vegetation and the Siluro-Devonian rise of fluvial lateral accretion sets. Geology, 38 (1). pp. 51-54. ISSN 0956-540X, ESSN: 1365-246X DOI 10.1130/G30443.1

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Abstract

A long-standing hypothesis links the increased prominence of meandering rivers in the middle Paleozoic to the colonization of terrestrial environments by vegetation. This hypoth- esis is tested using a data set of Cambrian to Devonian fl uvial literature and fi eld examina- tion of key stratigraphic units. According to some researchers, Cambrian to mid-Silurian river systems were braided in planform, with a sharp increase in the abundance of mean- dering rivers during the Silurian–Devonian. Although meandering systems were largely identifi ed on the basis of thick mudstones and organized channel deposits, the data set record of lateral accretion sets appears to be a robust proxy for the abundance of meander- ing river point bars. Lateral accretion is fi rst recorded from Pridolian–Lochkovian strata, but is noted in nearly 40% of fl uvial case studies by the Famennian. This trend matches the known record of rooted vegetation, suggesting that vegetation progressively stabilized river banks and promoted single-thread channels. However, the presence of Precambrian and extraterrestrial meandering systems indicates that vegetation is not essential for meander- ing, and the lack of evidence for Cambrian to Silurian (Ludlow) point bars is surprising. If originally present, they may largely have been destroyed by extreme fl oods, chute cut-offs in coarse-grained meandering systems, and eolian activity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NILAREP; IA65;
Subjects: 07 - Sedimentary Geology
Divisions: 11 - Sedimentary Geology
Journal or Publication Title: Geology
Volume: 38
Page Range: pp. 51-54
Identification Number: 10.1130/G30443.1
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 21 May 2013 15:39
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 14:03
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2782

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