Silicified wood from the Permian and Triassic of Antarctica: Tree rings from polar paleolatitudes

Open-File Report 2007-1047-SRP-080
By:  and 



The mass extinction at the Permian-Triassic boundary produced a floral turnover in Gondwana in which Paleozoic seed ferns belonging to the Glossopteridales were replaced by corystosperm seed ferns and other seed plant groups in the Mesozoic. Secondary growth (wood production) in both plant groups provides information on plant growth in relation to environment in the form of permineralized tree rings. Techniques utilized to analyze extant wood can be used on fossil specimens to better understand the climate from both of these periods. Late Permian and early Middle Triassic tree rings from the Beardmore Glacier area indicate an environment where extensive plant growth occurred at polar latitudes (~80–85°S, Permian; ~75°S, Triassic). A rapid transition to dormancy in both the Permian and Triassic woods suggests a strong influence of the annual light/dark cycle within the Antarctic Circle on ring production. Latewood production in each ring was most likely triggered by the movement of the already low-angled sun below the horizon. The plants which produced the wood have been reconstructed as seasonally deciduous, based on structural and sedimentologic evidence. Although the Late Permian climate has been reconstructed as cold temperate and the Middle Triassic as a greenhouse, these differences are not reflected in tree ring anatomy or wood production in these plant fossils from the central Transantarctic Mountains.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Silicified wood from the Permian and Triassic of Antarctica: Tree rings from polar paleolatitudes
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2007-1047-SRP-080
DOI 10.3133/ofr20071047SRP080
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Antarctica: A Keystone in a Changing World--Online Proceedings for the Tenth International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences. Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.--August 26 to September 1, 2007
Other Geospatial Antarctica
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details