Theme: Earth science and resources, Environmental management, Geography

Description: Modern peat mires accumulate under specific environmental conditions driven by climate and reflected in plant succession, organic composition and carbon isotopic signature. These features are captured and retained through time and burial in the subsurface in ancient coal seams. In particular the organic banding fabric records the distribution of plant tissue type (e.g. trees, shrubs, ferns), its size and level of decay. Decay occurs from fungal and microbial attack in response to water (base level) changes. Periods of intense draining/drying and wildfire are also recorded though the presence of fungi and charcoal. However, the unravelling the periodicity of these changes through the Permian and decoupling or coupling climate signals from tectonically driven subsidence requires the integration of statistical time series analysis of banding fabric, organic petrology and isotopic analysis.

Contact: Emeritus Professor Joan Esterle