Friday, 17 March 2017

Rhynie Chert explained

Rhynie Chert 100 years old (+410Ma)!

The first publication on the Rhynie Chert was published 100 years ago.

(Kidston, R. & Lang, W. H. 1917. On Old Red Sandstone plants showing structure, from the Rhynie chert bed, Aberdeenshire. Part I. Rhynia gwynne-vaughani Kidston & Lang. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh51(24): 761- 784.) 

Although there were mentions in 1913:-

(Mackie, W. 1913. The Rock series of Craigbeg and Ord Hill, Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. Transactions of the Edinburgh Geological Society10: 205-236.) 

(Newlands, M. A. 1913. Note on a fossil plant from the Old Red Sandstone, Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. Transactions of the Edinburgh Geological Society, 10 (Session 78, 1911-12): 237.)

Earlier this year the Royal Society held a meeting to share the present knowledge and there is a very good report in the Guardian about this. The comments after the report are interesting; some are entertaining.

The Rhynie chert is renowned for the exquisite preservation of the plants and animals within it. This despite its great age - Pragian, Early Devonian, formed about 410 million years ago. The preservation is thought to be due to it being close to silica rich hot springs similar to present day Yellowstone. 

 Transverse section of a stem of Rhynia. Photograph: Paul Kenrick

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