Permian Glossopteris and Elatocladus megafossil floras from the English Coast, eastern Ellsworth Land, Antarctica
Plant megafossils collected from the previously unexplored English Coast of eastern Ellsworth Land have yielded the first Glossopteris leaves from the Antarctic Peninsula tectonic province. Collecting at Erehwon Nunatak recovered numerous spatulate leaves of consistent morphology, most likely pertaining to one natural species, and described here as Glossopteris erehwonensis sp. nov., as well as fragments of Phyllotheca and Equisetum. The large sample size, the predominance of Glossopteris leaves, the low species diversity, and the lack of characteristic Early Permian (Gangamopteris) and Early Triassic (Dicroidium, Lepidopteris, Pleuromeia) taxa suggest a Permian, probably Late Permian, age for the Erehwon Nunatak beds. These rocks are thus significantly older than any other sedimentary rocks known from Palmer Land and Ellsworth Land. A second flora, collected from Henkle Peak, consists exclusively of the remains of Elatocladus planus, a conifer which probably dominated forests in this area during the Jurassic. The plant megafossils support correlation of the sedimentary rocks with those of the Middle–Late Jurassic Latady Formation of south-eastern Antarctic Peninsula and eastern Ellsworth Land.(Received September 19 1988)
(Accepted December 12 1988)
Key Words: Elatocladus; Ellsworth Land; Glossopteris; palaeobotany; Permian.