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Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia
High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation
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7 - Fossil plant studies from late Early Miocene of the Santa Cruz Formation: paleoecology and paleoclimatology at the passive margin of Patagonia, Argentina

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2013

Sergio F. Vizcaíno
Affiliation:
Museo de La Plata, Argentina
Richard F. Kay
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
M. Susana Bargo
Affiliation:
Museo de La Plata, Argentina
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Summary

Abstract

This chapter analyses plant fossils including phytoliths, carbonized wood, and leaf compressions, along with microcharcoal, chrysophycean stomatocysts, sponge spicules, and diatoms, recovered from the Estancia La Costa Member, Santa Cruz Formation (late Early Miocene), in the Atlantic margin of Patagonia, Argentina. The floristic composition and paleoclimatic inferences based on this fossil plants assemblage from the late Early Miocene are presented. The fossil flora is characterized by the presence of herbaceous components including chloridoid, panicoid, danthonioid, pooid, and festucoid grasses. The arboreal elements include members of the Araucariaceae, Lauraceae, Arecaceae, Nothofagaceae, Myrtaceae, Cunoniaceae, Fabaceae (Faboideae), and ?Proteaceae. The vegetation was a mixture of open temperate semi-arid forests and humid warm-temperate forests. The integrated analysis of multiple sets of proxy data suggests that southeastern Patagonia, during late Early Miocene, was characterized by a temperate to warm-temperate and semi-arid to humid climate, where seasonal low levels of precipitation served as a limiting factor for plant growth.

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Early Miocene Paleobiology in Patagonia
High-Latitude Paleocommunities of the Santa Cruz Formation
, pp. 104 - 128
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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