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A review of the palaeoenvironments and biota of the Windyfield chert

  • Stephen R. Fayers (a1) and Nigel H. Trewin (a1)


The Windyfield chert site is located 700 m NE of the original Rhynie chert locality at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Originally identified by concentrations of surface float material, a drilling and trenching programme of the area in 1997 revealed a chert ‘pod’ in situ interbedded with fluvial/lacustrine sandstones and hydrothermally altered shales. Chert morphologies identified from float blocks and trench material range from tabular beds to lenticular pods displaying massive, nodular, laminated and brecciated fabrics, and geyserite splash textures. A suite of floral and faunal associations, when combined with distinctive macro- and microscopic chert textures, has been used to interpret depositional conditions. Palaeoenvironments ranged from terrestrial laminated, brecciated and vegetated sinter sheets to low-temperature pools and marginal aquatic settings. The flora comprises six higher land plant species, nematophytes, charophytes, various fungi and probable cyanobacteria. Arthropods include branchiopod crustaceans, a euthycarcinoid, trigonotarbid arachnids, centipedes, eoarthropleurids and a possible hexapod. The biota of the Windyfield chert is closely comparable to that found in the Rhynie chert. Together, the Windyfield and Rhynie cherts contain the most diverse associated fossil arthropod fauna of terrestrial and freshwater origin from rocks of comparable age anywhere in the world.




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