A threshold-like vegetational change in tropical wetlands occurred in the early Kasimovian (the U.S. Desmoinesian-Missourian boundary) - Event 3. Two earlier significant changes occurred, first in the mid-Moscovian (Atokan-Desmoinesian; ∼Bolsovian-Asturian) - Event 1, and second in the late Moscovian (mid-Desmoinesian; mid-Asturian) - Event 2. These changes occurred during a time period of dynamic and complex physical change in Euramerican Pangaea driven by changes in polar ice volume and accompanying changes in sea level, atmospheric circulation, rainfall, and temperature. During the Event 3 change, hyperbolized as ‘the Carboniferous rainforest collapse’, lycopsid dominance of (mostly peat) swamps changed to marattialean tree-fern and medullosan pteridosperm dominance, and decrease in biodiversity. Event 3 encompassed one glacial-interglacial cycle and included vegetational turnover in other wetland habitats. For several subsequent glacial-interglacial cycles peatland dominance varied, known from palynology before stabilizing. These vegetational changes likely reflect climatic events driving unidirectional, non-reversible wetland vegetational changes, during cooler, wetter parts of glacial-interglacial cycles. Discussion is complicated by different placements of crucial stratigraphic boundaries, but under the same names, compromising both clear communication and understanding of the literature. Not the least is the floating base of the Cantabrian Substage, together with the position of the Westphalian-Stephanian Stage boundary.
|Geological Society Special Publication
|Geological Society of London