|SECOND GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF PENNSYLVANIA - REPORT OF PROGRESS
P. DESCRIPTION OF THE COAL FLORA OF PENNSYLVANIA
AND OF THE
CARBONIFEROUS FORMATION THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES
BY LEO LESQUEREUX; ©1879
|Tables of Contents:
|All Four Volumes:
Scans and Webpage
©George Langford III, 2011
||TAONURUS COLLETTI||PALAEOPHYCUS MILLERI||ASTEROPHYCUS SIMPLEX|
|TAONURUS||Chondrites Colletti||PALAEOPHYCUS GRACILIS||CONOSTYCHUS|
|TAONURUS MARGINATUS||TAONURUS CAUDA-GALLI||PALAEOPHYCUS DIVARICATUS||CONOSTICHUS BROADHEADI|
|Caulerpites marginatus||Fucoides Cauda-Galli||ASTEROPHYCUS||CONOSTICHUS PROLIFER|
|Physophicus marginatus||PALAEOPHYCUS||ASTEROPHYCUS COXII||CONOSTICHUS ORNATUS|
whose branches and filaments are so thickly interwoven, that they
sometimes become impassible to ships; though also in the cold regions
of both Arctic and Antarctic oceans, species of Algae are found of
immense stature, either of a prodigious length, or of a thickness
equaling that of the trunks of large trees,—remains of marine plants
are scarcely, if ever, found imbedded, in a state of preservation,
either in sand, in clay, or in any other compound, where woody plants
generally remain unimpaired and preserved with their normal shape for
ages. This difference between the woody, or vascular tissue of the land
plants, and the cellular compound of the marine, or fresh water Algae,
mere filaments glued together or imbedded in vegetable mucous or
gelatine, explains at once not only why the remains of Fucoids are so
rarely found petrified, but also why marine plants could not have
entered into the formation of the coal for an essential constituent, as
some naturalists of old believed it. I have had the opportunity
of visiting, in exploring the different phases of the formation of the
peat, the shores of the Northern European seas, from Russia to Denmark,
and France; and in this country, those of Virginia, South Carolina,
especially on the borders of the Dismal Swamp; and nowhere have I been
able to find any deposit of seaweeds preserved from decomposition under
any kind of superposed materials, sand, clay, etc. And
nevertheless, in some of the countries visited, the many localities are
strewn with immense heaps ants thrown out by the waves. Marine
vegetables, though they may appear of hard leathery texture, like some
of the most common species of Fucus,
soon disintegrate, and pass into a gelatinous, half fluid matter, which
penetrates he sand, so that the lowest strata of these heaps, when
exposed to atmospheric action, do not generally preserve traces of
their organism for more than one year.
In the experiments of Lindley, made in studying the comparative duration of the various groups of plants analogous to those which are recognized as entering into the composition of the coal, the author omitted the marine plants, well knowing how soon they are decomposed and destroyed when immersed in fresh water, or under the influence of humidity. It is, as everybody knows, the contrary with woody plants whose tissue is indefinitely preserved by immersion.
Prof. Schimper remarks on this subject, Paleont. Veget., 1, p.149, that the number of the living Algae is very great, as seven or eight thousand species have been described; that from the dispersion of the Thalassophytes in the sea now, the banks of Sargassum between the Canary Islands and Newfoundland, the floating prairies of Fucoids between the Kurile Islands, we should suppose that a large number of these plants would be found petrified in the geological strata, but that on the contrary their remains are extremely rare in the marine, and still much more so in the fresh water formations. That only one hundred and eighty fossil species are known until now, while the living species are counted by thousands.
The absence of fossil Thalassophytes is still more marked in the Carboniferous formations than in any other. It is questionable whether any species of true marine Alga had been recognized in these formations before 1866, when I described Caulerpites marginatus, Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc. Vol. XIII, p. 313, from remains found in a kind of carboniferous limestone at the horizon of the Millstone grit. This plant, as seen in the description, is closely allied to Fucoides Cauda-Galli, a species which had been already traced from the upper strata of the Silurian to the Devonian Chemung, and which Prof. J. Hall supposed as possibly extending its habitat to the lower Carboniferous. I have since that time received from the coal measures specimens of fossil remains positively representing marine organized bodies. The characters of some of them are, however, very peculiar, and as they may be considered as doubtfully ascribable to vegetables, they have been all described here and separately figured in Atlas, Plate A and Plate B in order to review the subject with all the materials obtained up to this time. As seen in the references, some have already been published in a Report of the Geological survey of Indiana.
Fucoides, Vanuxem. Taonurus, Fisch. Ost., 1858. Spirophyton, Hall 1866. Physophycus, Schp., 1869. Cancellophycus ? Sap. in litt. 1879.
Frond membranaceous, derived from utricules attached to a lateral or central axis, erected or twisted in spiral, flattened in various ways, ribbed; ribs or striae curved, scythe shaped, converging to the borders, which are either free, naked, or attached on one side or all around to the axis or its branches .
TAONURUS MARGINATUS, Lesqx., Plate A, Figs. 1-6.
Caulerpites marginatus, Lesqx., Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc., Vol. XIII, p. 814, Pl. VII.
Physophicus marginatus, Schp., Paleont. Veget., p. 206.
Frond derived from a fucoidal cylindrical axis, branching in its lower part, enlarged upwards to a small utricule which gradually expands into a lyrate lamina, folded in irregular striae, curving scythe shaped and converging on both sides to the flattened smooth border.
I have examined in place and figured the essential parts of the plant. Plate A, f. 6 represents, it seems, fucoidal filaments branching and spreading into the mud as radicular appendages. They depend from a simple, tubulous, somewhat broader axis, Plate A, f. 4, which gradually enlarges into an inflated or flat lamina bordered by two branches of the primary stern. The laminae, when fully developed, are generally in the form of a lyre, plaited into long nearly parallel wrinkles converging to both borders, narrower, however, and more elongated or decurring on one side than on the other, as in Plate A, f. 1. Sometimes, as in Plate A, f. 3 and 5, the axis is not divided or split. It is lateral, merely curved, and bears a narrow lamina, with folds passing from the base of the curve to its top. The appendages, base of Plate A, f. 1 and 2, are apparently enlarged filaments serving as points of attachment of the fronds to a hard substance, as a kind of hold-fast, such as is seen for the support of species of marine plants whose base is either divided and spreading into soft ground, or flattened and glued upon rocks or hard materials.
Physophicus Andraei , Stur., Culm flora, p. 1, P1. XXVI, f. 1-5, is distantly related to this species.
Habitat—Ferruginous shale intervening in the horizon of the Millstone grit, on Slippery Rock Creek, Lawrence County, Pa. The shale is dark gray, the impressions, very distinct under water, become effaced when dry.
TAONURUS COLLETTI, Lesqx., Plate A, Fig. 7.Frond large, narrowed to a basilar support, obovate in outline; lamina cut into laciniae joined in their length, or separated, curved up in half circle, converging to the borders.
Chondrites Colletti, Lesqx., Geol. Rept. of Ill., IV, p. 379.
This species seems, like the former, to be derived from a cylindrical axis, to which it appears as attached by its narrowed base. The relation of the two parts is not positively ascertained; for though the specimens examined are numerous enough, none of them but this show any connection to a fucoidal filament. The general character however is not dissimilar to that of the former species; only here we have the lamina totally separated from the frame formed around the fronds by the fucoidal filaments, in Plate A, f. 1 and 2, of the same plate. The base of Plate A, f. 1 shows a mode of attachment very much like that of Plate A, f. 7. The shape of the frond is also very similar. The wrinkles of the surface are more distinct in this species, often cut through and separated as laciniae. Other specimens show the divisions still more clearly, and the laciniae sub-cylindrical. The size of the fronds is very variable and their outlines also. Some of them half round, or even disciform, are intermediate between the former species and T. Cauda-Galli.
Spirophyton typum , Hall, (16th Ann. Rep. of the Nat. Hist. of New York, p. 80; with woodcut) is, at least, as far as seen from the figures, closely allied to this species, if not identical with it. It differs by the laciniae more indistinctly interwoven, not parallel, not separated.
Habitat—Towle' s mill, five miles east of Lodi, Fountain Co., Inda., horizon of Coal No. 5, of the Illinois section. Communicated by Mr. John Collett. The specimen figured was received from Dr. J. H. Britts, and obtained in Missouri, near the base of the coal measures of that State.
TAONURUS CAUDA-GALLI, (Fisch. Ost.,) Vanux.General form of the frond, circular, but with the outlines rarely defined; ridges or laciniae curving from the center all around, more abruptly bent to the margin, like the feather of a cock's tail.
Fucoides Cauda-Galli, Vanux., Geol. Dept. Third District of New York, p. 128 and wood cuts.
The species is distinct from the former ones by the circular form of the frond, and the disposition of the laciniae around a central point. Its size is very large, some of the fronds measuring one foot. It is locally extremely common, as for example at the base of the Millstone grit, along the western borders of the coal measures of East Kentucky, where I have seen large surfaces of Sandstone entirely covered with its remains.
All the forms of Taonurus, considered as specifically different, may perhaps be modifications or varieties of one. They are rarely found in a good state of preservation, and are difficult to study. F. 1-6, of Plate A, indicate the mode of development of these plants, as from a vesicular production or inflation of the top of the cylindrical axis, the membrane plaited or lacerated filling the space between the separate and distended borders, which are either persistent and distinct, or gradually merged into the laminae. Prof. J. Hall considers their growth as an unfolding of the axis in a spiral progression, hence the generic name of Spirophyton, proposed by him for these plants.
Frond expanding by dichotomous,
repeated sub-divisions, from a radical simple axis; branches
cylindrical or slightly flattened, obtuse, sometimes umbonate, either
anastomosing by divisions in right angle; surface smooth or dotted.
This genus has been established by Hall, in Paleont. of New York, vol. I, p. 1. Its definition is here somewhat modified, according to the characters of the species which I refer to it. It is the equivalent, in name at least, of the old genus Fucoides of Brongniart, which, used as it was originally for the description of marine plants of different characters, even of Graphtolithes, had become too indefinite for classification. Schimper, narrowing its limits, has preserved it for species of the type of Fucoides antiquus, Brgt. (Bythotrephis antiquata, Hall), and of Palaeophycus. The last name proposed before the modification of the genus Fucoides, should be preserved for the American species of marine plants answering to the characters fixed by Hall. They are of a type widely represented in the old formations of this continent, and rarely recognized in Europe until now.
PALAEOPHYCUS MILLERI, Lesqx., Plate A, Figs. 8-8b.Frond large; branches either erect or expanding around a central axis, forking in acute angle of divergence, or anastomosing between them, cylindrical or slightly flattened, generally thicker towards the obtuse apex, sometimes umbonate, cut across or strangled by deep lines at right angles to the axis; surface smooth or punctate.
Geol. Rept. of Ind., 1875, p. 186, Pl. I, f. 1-3.
Even on the same specimen, the characters of this plant are extremely variable, as seen f. 8, which represents it with a number of its peculiar modifications. The ramification is dichotomous, or irregularly anastomosing. Generally the branches become thicker towards the obtuse apex, but they are also regularly cylindrical and of equal size in their whole length, or here and there bossed, or abruptly cut and prolifer, bearing at their intersections small branches implanted upon stumps, a kind of sub-division analogous to that of the living Caulerpa prolifera, Lamour., of Florida. The surface, also, though generally punctate, and marked here and there with prominent papillae regularly placed in spiral, (Pl. A, f. 8 and 8b, enlarged), is smooth in some parts of the branches, as if the dots had been here and there partially erased by the action of the waves. Some of the branches of the specimens of Mr. Miller are much larger than those figured, varying from four to fifteen millimeters in thickness.
The species is distantly related to Palaeophycus tubularis, Hall, Paleont. of New York, v. I, p. 7, Pl. II, f. 1, 2, especially like an undescribed fragment figured in the same vol., Pl. XXI, f. 3, from the Calciferous sandstone.
Habitat—Concretions of Carbonate of Iron in a bed of clay over Coal L of the Ind. Geol. Reports, Vigo County.
Communicated by Prof. E. T. Cox and Mr. J. F. Miller, of Richmont, Ind.
PALAEOPHYCUS GRACILIS, Lesqx., Plate B, Figs. 9-10a.Frond small, enlarging upwards by repeated dichotomy; branches cylindrical, forking in a more or less open angle of divergence, slender, gradually decreasing in thickness from the base up to an obtuse point, easily split horizontally, sometimes slightly punctate, generally smooth.
Geol. Rept. of Ind., 1875, p. 137, Pl. I, f. 4-5b.
The whole frond as represented Atlas, f. 9, is a little more than three centimeters long, and nearly as broad in its upper part. The thickness of the main stem, as far down as it can be seen, is two millimeters, decreasing upwards to the obtuse apex of the cylindrical branches, scarcely half a millimeter thick.
This species is evidently of the same type as the former, essentially differing by the small size of all its parts. Even its surface is also sometimes dotted or rough, though generally smooth. These two forms bear to each other the same relation that Chondrites antiquus St., has to Buthotrephis gracilis, Hall, which Goeppert considers as varieties of the same species. Without taking into account the great difference in the size, and the form of the branches of the plants figured, the first by Goeppert, Uebergsg., P1. I, f. 1, the second by Hall, l.c., Pl. XXI, f. 1, it is certainly hazardous to unite in one species fragments of marine plants of Europe and of the United States, from some likeness remarked in the figures. Buthotrephis antiquata, Hall, l.c., Pl. II, f. 6, and B. gracilis, Hall, appear to be the same species, but different from the European Chondrites antiquus. Though it may be, the plants described here as Palaeophycus, are clearly distinct from any of those named above.
Habitat--With the former, and communicated by Prof. E. T. Cox.
Frond flattened into creeping
branches diverging around central axis; branches cylindrical, or more
or less flattened by compression, irregularly forking and anastomosing
by cross divisions, nearly equal in size in their whole length, obtuse,
The species differs from P. Milleri by the more slender branches, generally simple or united by anastomosis or divisions by branchlets at right angles. The surface is quite smooth and the facies different, somewhat like Phytopsis cellulosum, Hall, Paleont. of New York, I, p. 39, Pl. IX, f. 1 to 1d, which, according to Emmons, represent a polyp. Our plant is smaller in all its parts, of an amorphous compound, evidently of the same generic division as both of the former species. I should even have considered it a variety of P. Milleri, but for the difference in the mode of its divisions, and for its smooth surface.
Habitat with the former. I have seen one specimen only, from the cabinet of Mr. I. F. Miller.
Stem short, cylindrical; frond expanded and divided star-like from the top of the central axis; segments flattened or inflated.
ASTEROPHYCUS COXII, Lesqx., Plate B, Figs. 5, 6.Divisions of the fronds flattened, large, oblong, obtuse or obcordate; surface deeply and irregularly wrinkled lengthwise.
Geol. Rept. of Ind., 1875, p. 139, P1. II.
The figures represent the specimen in half its size, and merely half of its surface, for it bears five of those star like vegetable remains, placed in rows, three on one side, two on the other. The largest is twelve centimeters in diameter between the ends of the opposite divisions, the smallest only six centimeters, and the divisions are in all radiating in five or six, from the central axis. Sometimes they appear doubled, or superposed, as independent of each other, and separately growing from the center, above those of which the lower surface only is seen, the lower divisions being joined near their base, those above apparently separated in the whole length. The younger blades or shoots are somewhat cylindrical and scarcely striate, rather transversely rugose, narrowed to the point of attachment, as seen, Plate B, f. 5. A specimen communicated. by Rev. H. Herzer, bears a longer fragment of the axis, to the base of which are attached numerous cylindrical short branches, one to two centimeters thick, spindle shaped, evidently basilar supports of the plant, serving as lateral holdfasts, same as seen at the base of some Algae of the present time. Another specimen has the surface strewn with longer cylindrical basilar filaments, similar to rootlets or fastening ligaments, also like those of living marine plants, which, when of large size, have both the filaments like roots, and above them appendages which help to the support of the plants.
Habitat—Hard sandstone or quartzite, connected with the coal beds of the cut off of the Wabash, near New Harmony, Ind., Upper Coal measures, E. T. Cox. Sandstone bed of the Lower Coal measures, near Rock Castle, Ky., Rev. H. Herzer.
ASTEROPHYCUS SIMPLEX, Sp. nov., Plate B, Figs. 7, 8.Frond composed of cylindrical spindle-shaped branches, placed star-like around a central axis, free to the base.
I have represented only a fragment of a larger specimen, which bears a number of fronds diversely placed upon the surface of the stone, or without any regular disposition in regard to each other. They are not all as symmetrical as those of the fragments figured, or at least their regularity is impaired by the imbedding of some of the rays. These branches, about eight in number, two and a half to four centimeters long, five to seven millimeters in diameter in the upper enlarged part, are exactly spindle shaped, grad-pally enlarging from a narrow base to above the middle, and thence more rapidly narrowed to a blunt point. The central axis is circular and varies in size in proportion to the rays which join it without connection of their borders. The surface is smooth or irregularly dotted. The shale is strewn with cylindrical flexuous creeping branches, apparently related to the fronds, either as support or as connecting filaments between them. Indeed the star-like, so called fronds, appear as scattered upon heaps of radicular filaments mixed in every direction, very numerous, often filling the clay, without any of the regularly conformed bodies. The generic affinity of the plant with the former is evident.
Habitat—Ferruginous clay near Beaver, Penna., above the Millstone grit. Discovered by Prof. I. C. White. The specimens figured have been kindly communicated by Mr. Jos. Hartman, of Pittsburg, Pa.
Stipe cylindrical, continuous;
frond enlarging from the base upwards in the shape of a plate or of a
cup, or increasing by successive superposed layers or concentrical
lamina; top cup-shaped, concave.
For the diagnosis of this genus, in Geol. Rept. of Ind., 1875, p. 142, I had a single specimen, Plate B, f. 4, and from its peculiar shape and the abrasion of the borders of the laminae in the enlarged border, I hypothetically considered this border as the lower part of the frond and figured it upside down. A number of other specimens, Plate B, f. 1 and 3, prove the error of this supposition. These organized bodies, whose reference to plants is questionable, have in their mode of growth a relation to some marine Alga of our time, the Acetabulariae, which bear, on a continuous stipe, successive umbrella shaped fronds, the lower rendered solid by incrustation of calcareous matter. In the fossil species described here the fronds appear thick, all of the same hard compact substance. But for this character also, we have a point of comparison in species of Zonaria, whose fronds are composed of divers branches enlarging fan-like in half circular blades, cut on the borders in parallel oblong laciniae, the whole plant being of a hard, opaque, thick substance.
These organisms, however; might be considered as sponges; for the fossils described here find a degree of analogy in some species of the order of the Hexactinellidae, Smith, e.g. for the cup shaped form, Capellia rugosa, Goldf., and Camerospongia fungiformis, Goldf.; and for fronds enlarged umbrella-like, flat on the top and undulate crenate on the reflexed borders, in Coeloptychium agaricoides, Gold.* But none of the sponges have a continuous axis, and even in a fossil state, their surface is always rugose.
In comparing, the figures in the two plates A and B, the characters of all the species which they represent, denote in all an evident analogy of development which does not leave any doubt of their relation to the same class of natural productions. The cylindrical branches of Plate A, f. 8, are reproduced in the stipes of Plate A, f. 4; and its top expansion explains the mode of division of the cylindrical filaments which bear the starlike fronds, f. 7 and 8, Plate B. The generic relation of this last plant with Asterophycus Coxii, Plate B, f. 5 and 6, is clear enough. Both differ from sponges by their characters, and therefore—as we see in Plate B, f. 1 and 3 the same mode of development as in Plate B, f. 5 and 6, excepting only the mode of division of the fronds, lobate in these last, entire in the others—we have to refer the whole either to sponges or to vegetables. The first alternative has for it a less degree of evidence than the second. The only objection against the reference of these bodies to vegetables is in the thickness and compactedness of the fronds. But, as seen above, there is an analogy of composition in the Acetabularicae,—which have the outer frond thickened by incrustations of calcareous matter in such a way that these plants have often been considered as corals, while the upper divisions are soft, and also in the hard compact texture of the Zonariae.
CONOSTICHUS BROADHEADI, Sp. nov., Plate B, Figs. 1 and 2.Stipe short, cylindrical, transversely ribbed; frond semi-globular, cup shaped, concave inside, distinctly three costate and deeply wrinkled lengthwise on the outside; substance thick.
I owe the communication of this beautiful specimen to Prof. G. C. Broadhead. It has been very exactly represented, both for the inside and the outside characters. It is a little more than eight centimeters across at its top, and five centimeters up from the apex of the stipe to the borders, which average one centimeter in thickness. They appear composed of superposed layers of amorphous stony matter. The outside, exactly cup shaped, has three equidistant, strong ribs, more than one centimeter high and as broad at the enlarging base, with large wrinkles disposed lengthwise, and regular rugose branchlets, which seem as sculptured by hand, for the outside ornamentation of the cup. The inside concavity is irregularly rough, about two centimeters deep at the fiat bottom, covered by a layer of inorganic matter.
Habitat—Shale near the base of the coal measures, Vernon County, Mo., about half way between Nevada and Fort Scott ; Prof. G. C. Broadhead.
CONOSTICHUS PROLIFER, Sp. nov., Plate B, Fig. 3.Frond thick, disciform, disposed in successive series upon a continuous, narrow, cylindrical stipe.
The disks, somewhat cup-shaped, abruptly curving on the outside of the axis, with a nearly flat base, concave inside, are grown superposed to each other, attached to a stipe whose remnant is seen in the center of the disks. These are easily separable by the breaking of the axis, smooth, both inside and outside, only irregularly wrinkled at the borders, five to six centimeters across, the upper ones gradually smaller.
I have seen a few specimens of this species, two only in a good state of preservation, both with three superposed plates separating by the breaking of the axis, the upper plate bearing, like the lower ones, a fragment of the stipe in its center, showing its size and form and indicating a further continuation of the process of development.
Habitat—The specimen figured has been communicated by Prof. G. C. Broadhead, from the same locality as the former; others, from Kentucky, were found by Rev. H. Herzer, with fragments of Asterophycus Coxii.
CONOSTICHUS ORNATUS, Lesqx., Plate B, Fig. 4.Frond obconical, composed of superposed layers gradually increasing in size from the base upwards, and regularly lobate on the borders by deep lines, diverging star like from the axis, and passing up to the top.
Rept. of Ind., 1875, p. 142, Pl. I, f. 6.
The mode of development of this plant, in accordance with that of the two former species, is from a cylindrical basilar axis, by successive layers or laminae formed around it in continuous superposition. These laminae are regularly cut on the borders by deep lines, which pass like rays from the central axis to the borders of the lobes, being on the same plan or opposite. The broken part near the base shows that these laminae or successive fronds were not agglutinated, but free and superposed to each other like those of the former species, merely differing by the greater proximity of quite flat plates of equal thickness. These plates are not so thick as in the former species, as probably their close superposition prevented the incrustation of foreign matter. The star-like divisions, marked upon the broken surface are in correspondence with those of Asterophycus.
Some remains, showing affinity, to those described above, are figured by Hall, Paleont. of New York, vol. II, Pl. X, f. 9 a, b, 10. The author considers them as roots of Bythotrephis.
Habitat—Sandstone of the Coal Measures, between Coal 1 and 2 of the Geol. Section of Illinois, Mr. I. H. Southwell.