More information:

Hofmann, C-C. and Rice, A.H.N. 2010. Leaf-jams — A new and unique leaf deposit in the ephemeral Hoanib River, NW Namibia: Origin and plant taphonomic implications. International Journal of Coal Geology, 83(2–3): 195–203


Description:

Leaf-jams — A new and unique leaf deposit in the ephemeral Hoanib River, NW Namibia: Origin and plant taphonomic implications.

Summary / Notes:

This paper documents a previously unrecorded type of leaf deposit, comprising essentially monospecific linear accumulations of Colophospermum mopane leaves on a point bar of the ephemeral Hoanib River, NW Namibia. In these 'leaf-jams', leaf laminae stand on edge, orientated more-or-less normal to bedding. Leaf-jams, which formed upstream of cobbles, clumps of grass and sticks wedged against the former two, were orientated subparallel to the adjacent meandering river-bed, such that over the 40 m of their occurrence, their mean azimuth changed by 59° anticlockwise downstream. The longest leaf-jam was 50 cm and contained approximately 500 leaves, as well as grass culms, twigs (C. mopane, Tamarix usneoides and unidentified) and medium- to fine-grained sand and silt. Individual leaf-jams were partially buried in the point bar sediments up to a depth of 3 cm. Leaf-jam formation occurred in the austral summer of 2006, during the waning stage of a major flood caused by anomalous tropical to extra-tropical storms. Their monospecifity is due to the overwhelming preponderance of the zonal taxon C. mopane in the catchment area, although the Khowarib Gorge contains a quite diverse azonal plant association due to the presence of a permanent water-seep. During leaf-jam formation, the water depth was less than the height of the cobbles (0.1 m), with stream flow-rates competent to transport medium-grained sand (velocity estimated at 0.5 m s− 1). Leaves must have been partially or fully waterlogged to inhibit buoyancy forces tending to lift them out of the developing leaf-jams, which propagated upstream in a manner comparable to longitudinal bars in a braided river. If fossilised, such deposits would probably lead to a very biased interpretation of the composition of the surrounding flora; the correct interpretation would be the one least favoured by palaeobotanists. Keywords: Leaf deposits, Point bar, Ephemeral river, Taphonomy.

Year: 2010

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166516209001530


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