Cretaceous angiosperms from an allegedly Triassic flora at Williams Point, Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands

A terrestrial sequence on Livingston Island, South Shetland Islands, known as the Williams Point Beds contains a well-preserved, diverse fossil flora previously assigned a Triassic age. Because of their supposed age, volcanic provenance and evidence for active volcanism, the Williams Point Beds have occupied a unique position in Gondwana (pre-Jurassic) stratigraphy in the Antarctic Peninsula region. However, a large new collection of plant specimens obtained at Williams Point has yielded several species of angiosperm leaves, which are abundant and occur at all levels within the Williams Point Beds sequence. Thus, a Triassic age is no longer tenable. On the basis of the plants present and published radiometric ages for associated strata, the Williams Point Beds fossil flora is reassigned to the Cretaceous, and there is some evidence for a more restricted Albian–Cenomanian age. This revision of the age of the Williams Point Beds removes all direct evidence for an active Triassic volcanic arc in the Antarctic Peninsula region.


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Authors: Rees, P.M., Smellie, John L.

1 September, 1989
Antarctic Science / 1
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