Note on the discovery of Carboniferous amber associated with the seed fern Linopteris obliqua, Sydney Coalfield, Nova Scotia, Canada
We report on a discovery of amber from the Carboniferous sedimentary rocks of the Sydney Coalfield, Nova Scotia, Canada. The amber occurs in the form of droplets and as a linear feature and ranges in colour from light brown to dark purple. The amber was found in situ in siltstone above the Middle Pennsylvanian Hub coal seam, where it was associated with abundantly abscised pinnules of the seed fern Linopteris obliqua. The amber specimens were analyzed by infrared spectrometry and their spectrochemical characteristics were compared with those of other fossil ambers. This discovery not only expands the inventory of amber to as old as ~300 million years, but also documents that Carboniferous seed ferns were able to utilize biosynthetic mechanisms to produce resinous exudates.
Anderson, K.B., Winans, R.E., and Botto, R.E. 1992. The nature and fate of natural resins in the geosphere, II. Identification, classification, and nomenclature of resinite. Organic Geochemistry, 18, pp. 829–841. https://doi.org/10.1016/0146-6380(92)90051-X
Bray, P.S. and Anderson, K.B. 2009. Identification of Carboniferous (320 million years old) class Ic amber. Science, 326, pp. 132–134. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1177539
Broughton, P.L. 1972. Conceptual framework for geographical-botanical affinities of fossil resins. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 11, pp. 583–594. https://doi.org/10.1139/e74-053
Bunbury, C.J.F. 1847. On fossil plants from the Coal Formation of Cape Breton. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 3, pp. 423–438. https://doi.org/10.1144/GSL.JGS.1847.003.01-02.44
Clifford, D.J. and Hatcher, P.G. 1995a. Maturation of Class 1b (polylabdanoid) resinites. In Amber, resinite, and fossil resins. Edited by K.B. Anderson and J.C. Crelling. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 617. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, pp. 92–104. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-1995-0617.ch005
Clifford, D.J. and Hatcher, P.G. 1995b. Structural transformation of polylabdanoid resinites during maturation. Organic Geochemistry, 23, pp. 407–418. https://doi.org/10.1016/0146-6380(95)00022-7
Crelling, J.C. 1995. The petrology of resinite in American coals. In Amber, resinite, and fossil resins. Edited by K.B. Anderson and J.C. Crelling. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 617. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, pp. 218–233. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-1995-0617.ch012
Crelling, J.C. and Kruge, M. 1998. Petrographic and chemical properties of Carboniferous resinite from the Herrin #6 coal seam. International Journal of Coal Geology, 37, pp. 55–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0166-5162(98)00021-4
Edwards, H.G.M., Brown, D.R., Dale, J.A., and Plant, S. 2000. Raman spectroscopy of sulfonated polystyrene resins. Vibrational Spectroscopy, 24, 213–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-2031(00)00070-9
Goodarzi, F. and McFarlane, R.A. 1991. Chemistry of fresh and weathered resinites - an infrared photoacoustic spectroscopic study. International Journal of Coal Geology, 19, pp. 283–301. https://doi.org/10.1016/0166-5162(91)90024-D
Grimaldi, D. 2009. Pushing back amber production. Science, 326, pp. 51–52. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1179328
Kister, J., Guiliano, M., Mille, G., and Dou, H. 1988. Changes in the chemical structure of low rank coal after low temperature oxidation or demineralization by acid treatment. Fuel, 67, pp. 1076–1082. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-2361(88)90373-0
Langenheim, J.H. 2003. Plant resins. chemistry, evolution, ecology, ethnobotany. Timber Press, Portland, USA and Cambridge, UK, 586 p.
Langenheim, J.H. and Beck, C.W. 1965. Infrared spectra as a means of determining botanical sources of amber. Science, New Series, 149, pp. 52–55. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.149.3679.52
Lin, R. and Ritz, G.P. 1993. Studying individual macerals using IR microspectroscopy, and implications on oil versus gas/condensate proneness and "low-rank" generation. Organic Geochemistry, 20, pp. 695–706. https://doi.org/10.1016/0146-6380(93)90055-G
Lis, G.P., Mastalerz, M., Schimmelmann, A., Lewan, M.D., and Stankiewicz, B.A. 2005. FTIR absorption indices for thermal maturity in comparison with vitrinite reflectance R0 in type-II kerogens from Devonian black shales. Organic Geochemistry, 36, pp. 1533–1552. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orggeochem.2005.07.001
Lucas, A. and Harris, J.R. 1962. Ancient Egyptian materials and industries. 4th Edition, Edward Arnold, London, 523 p.
Lyons, P.C., Mastalerz, M., and Orem, W.H. 2009. Organic geochemistry of resins from modern Agathis australis and Eocene resins from New Zealand: diagenetic and taxonomic implications. International Journal of Coal Geology, 80, pp. 61–62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2009.07.015
McFarlane, R.A., Gentzis, T., Goodarzi, F., Hanna, J.V., and Vassallo, A.M. 1993. Evolution of the chemical structure of Hat Creek resinite during oxidation: a combined FT-IR photoacoustic, NMR and optical microscopic study. International Journal of Coal Geology, 22, pp. 119–149. https://doi.org/10.1016/0166-5162(93)90021-2
McKellar, R.C. and Wolfe, A.P. 2010. Canadian amber. In Biodiversity of fossils in amber from the major world deposits. Edited by D. Penney. Siri Scientific Press, pp. 96−113 (includes Appendix: arthropod families recorded from Canadian amber).
Painter, P.C., Snyder, R.W., Starsinic, M., Coleman, M.M., Kuehn, D.W., and Davis, A. 1981. Concerning the application of FTIR to the study of coal: a critical assessment of band assignments and the application of spectral analysis programs. Applied Spectroscopy, 35, pp. 475–485. https://doi.org/10.1366/0003702814732256
Poinar, G.O. and Mastalerz, M. 2000. Taphonomy of fossilized resins: determining the biostratinomy of amber. Acta Geologica Hispanica, 35, pp. 171–182.
Pradier, B., Landis, P., Rochdi, A., and Davis, A. 1992. Chemical basis of fluorescence alteration of crude oils and kerogens - II. Fluorescence and infrared microspectrometric analyses of vitrinite and liptinite. Organic Geochemistry, 18, pp. 241–249. https://doi.org/10.1016/0146-6380(92)90065-6
Streibl, V., Vasickova, S., Herout, V., and Bouska, V. 1976. Chemical composition of Cenomanian fossil resins from Moravia. Collection of Czechoslovak Chemical Communications., 41, pp. 3138–3145. https://doi.org/10.1135/cccc19763138
Van Bergen, P.F., Collinson, M.E., Scott, A.C., and Leeuw de, J.W. 1995. Unusual resin chemistry from Upper Carboniferous pteridosperm resin rodlets. In Amber, resinite, and fossil resins. Edited by K.B. Anderson and J.C. Crelling. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 617. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, pp. 149–169. https://doi.org/10.1021/bk-1995-0617.ch008
Vasallo, A.M., Lui, Y.L., Pang, L.S.K., and Wilson, M.A. 1991. Infrared spectroscopy of coal maceral concentrates at elevated temperatures. Fuel, 70, pp. 635–639. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-2361(91)90178-D
Wang, S.H. and Griffith, P.R. 1985. Resolution enhancement of reflectance IR spectra of coals by Fourier self-deconvolution, 1. C-H stretching and bending modes. Fuel, 64, pp. 229–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/0016-2361(85)90223-6
Zeiller, R. 1899. Étude sur le flore fossile du Bassin houiller d'Héraclée. Memoires de la Societé Géologique de la France. Paléontologie, 21, pp. 1–91. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.110944
Zodrow, E.L. and McCandlish, K. 1978. Distribution of Linopteris obliqua in the Sydney Coalfield of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Palaeontographica B, 168, pp. 1–16.
Zodrow, E.L., Tenchov, Y.G., and Cleal, C.J. 2007. The arborescent Linopteris obliqua plant (Medullosales, Pennsylvanian). Bulletin of Geosciences, 82, pp. 51–84. https://doi.org/10.3140/bull.geosci.2007.01.51
How to Cite
All material contained in Atlantic Geology is copyrighted by the journal. Permission to photocopy for internal or personal use or for the internal or personal use of specific clients is granted by Atlantic Geology to libraries and other users registered with the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), provided that the stated fee per copy is paid directly to the CCC, 21 Congress Street, Salem, Massachusetts 01970 USA. Other requests should be addressed to one of the journal editors, or sent to Atlantic Geology, Box 116, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada B4P 2R6. Permission to use a single graphic for which Atlantic Geology owns copyright is considered “fair dealing” under the Canadian Copyright Act and “fair use” by the journal, and no other permission need be granted, subject to the image being appropriately cited in all reproductions. The same fair dealing/fair use policy applies to sections of text up to 100 words in length.