Early Oligocene Nothofagus from CRP-3, Antarctica: implications for the vegetation history

A single fossil leaf of Nothofagus from CRP-3 drillhole in the Victoria Land Basin provides further evidence for woody vegetation in the Tertiary of East Antarctica. The plicate vernation of this small leaf indicates a deciduous habit and suggests a cold climate. Located in the interval between 44.12 to 44.18 mbsf this extends the range of these small-leaved deciduous taxa to the Early Oligocene, and adds to the sparse macrofossil record of the East Antarctic vegetation of this period. This further reinforces the suggestion that the transition from a diverse and mesic vegetation in the Eocene to a depauperate flora in the Early Oligocene was a relatively rapid event in East Antarctica. Despite limited Tertiary plant material from East Antarctica, an emerging picture is one of substantially cooler climates than that seen in West Antarctica at the same time.


Publication status:
Authors: Cantrill, D.J.

1 January, 2001
Terra Antartica / 8