Fire ecology of a Late Carboniferous floodplain, Joggins, Nova Scotia

HJ Falcon-Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)
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The facies distribution and palaeobotanical identity of fossil charcoal is described from the Upper Carboniferous (Westphalian A–B) Joggins section, Nova Scotia, in order to examine the fire ecology of early Westphalian floodplains. Three charcoal assemblages are noted. Assemblage (1) consists of channel sandstone bodies, containing beds of calcrete breccia, cordaite logs (up to 3 m long), and coniferopsid wood charcoal. This assemblage records upland coniferopsid forest fires which altered basin hydrology and promoted flooding in downstream floodplain rivers. Assemblage (2) consists of thin (1–8 mm thick) coals containing hollow, sigillarian tree stumps and lepidodendrid and medullosan plant compressions. Fifteen of the 29 stumps observed have a 2–5 cm thick basal layer infilling the stumps, composed entirely of sigillarian charcoal. Sigillarian and medullosan charcoal is also scattered around the outside of these stumps. This assemblage represents fire in lowland peat-forming communities dominated by Sigillaria and medullosan pteridosperms. These forest fire profiles were slowly buried in floodplain muds. Assemblage (3) consists of a heterolithic sheet sandstone body containing a 2.5 m high sigillarian tree trunk with an internal, basal trunk deposit of sigillarian charcoal and a lightly charred bark rind. This also records fire in lowland sigillarian forests, but, in contrast to (2), this forest fire profile was buried rapidly in a distributary lobe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137 - 148
JournalJournal of the Geological Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999

Bibliographical note

Terms of use: This material has been published in the Journal of the Geological Society, Volume 156, Number 1, January 1999, pp. 137-148 the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by The Geological Society of London (Copyright © 1999 The Geological Society of London)

Publisher: Geological Society Publishing House


  • fires
  • Westphalian
  • charcoal
  • Lycopsida
  • carboniferous

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