Types of Plant Fossils

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types of plant fossils

This article is about something very interesting. We will be talking about plant fossils.

These are what we consider as the preserved part of the plant. The plant which has actually died down.

While the study if fossils has been around for centuries, it is only recently that the interest relating to plant fossils has been on the rise.

This is because these really rare fossils are giving a glimpse into what were the prehistoric impressions of elements that existed.

You can bear witness to charcoal and structures which are a few hundred years old.

When we talk about the prehistoric era, we are also hinting on the existence of prehistoric plants. These would include a huge group and variety of plants, that existed at the earliest times.


Now let’s start of this interesting discussion on what are the types of plant fossils.

What Are Plant Fossils?

studying the creation of plant fossils

The first basic question is to understand what are plant fossils. This is what we call seeing the compressions and impressions which you see on molds.

There are different kinds of plant fossils. And with time scientist are getting to know more about how they work.

One thing to know and understand is that you can get these kinds of fossils through these two methods- either the leave pattern forms through a compression or its through an impression.

So how does this mechanism take place.

Well let’s say you are walking and a leaf falls to the ground. And you then drop this into the river. Now what happens is that it might sink into the river. And then the sand on the river floor covers the leaf completely.

And when this leaf begins to rot, you will notice that it is going to be leaving a leaf-shaped imprint in the sand.

This will stay on for hundreds of years. Even millions of years later when someone is picking up that rock, they can distinctively see that shape of the original leaf as it dropped.

So this is what we consider and call as a plant fossil.  It is what is the remaining part of a very old plant and it is preserved properly in a rock.

Now that you know what is a plant fossil, we will now talk in detail about what are the types of plant fossils.

Types of Plant Fossils

So before studying the various kinds, let me first ask you what is the major difference between an impression and compression.

In a compression fossil, you will see that the actual part of the leaf stays stuck on the rock.

But it is the pressure of the rock formation which is going to turn this leaf into what we consider as pure carbon.

The thing about pure carbon is that it will not be rotting. It stays there in its original format.

But when we look into the impression fossil, this is where the leaf does not turn into carbon. But in this case, you will see that it is rotting away with time.

In the end you will see a leaf-shaped mark of where it used to be.

So this is the two major ways in which plant fossils will be coming onto formation.

Molds and Casts

Now let’s shine the light on what are casts and molds. A mold fossil is basically when you will see how a piece of rock actually has a hole in it. This is where the plant used to be.

Both molds and casts are what we consider to be three-dimensional impressions. They are left from whatever is preserved from the living organism.

As you know organism which are buried and left to slowly decompose will be leaving this kind of strong imprint. It shows how the element’s shape and size was.

When the hollow space is getting filled with material, it is then this material which is taking the shape of the mold. And this is what we call a cast.

While you know that the fossil is going to show various characteristics of the original element, the fact of the matter is that no organic material concerning the same will get left behind.

Power Plants

Now I want to highlight and look into what are power plants.

This is basically the dead material which we get from organic plants as it is something which is swamping from environments.

When we talk of plants, under normal conditions your plants will likely be shedding their leaves or they will completely die.

This happens when they fall to the ground and completely decompose.

But under other conditions, you will notice that the plant material actually begins to accumulate and that too in the acidic water.

It will then be consisting of high levels of tannins but it has a low concentration of oxygen in them.

All of these activities lead to a situation where there will be layers of mud, silt as well as sand which gets washed into swap. They will be burying into this setting and it will be leading to a condition in which the rock changes take place.

And this too will be impacting the chemical elements as well, allowing you to attain great results in the process.

Permineralization Fossils

This is a process through which you will be seeing the plant material getting impacted.

It is a process in which you will see that there is rich mineral liquid which takes over and impacts how the plant matter will decay.

The mineral is something which is very effective as it will be seeping into the plant.

And when it does, it will be hardening and creating a major three dimensional fossil.

Also you should be knowing that this liquid can easily seep into all the parts of the plant. And often they yield and create a very strong internal structure.

Did you know that petrified wood is also representing a permineralization fossil.

Compaction Fossils

This is what we consider as being a very important aspect of compression. They are the reduced volume versions. Also they are three-dimensional and are not mineralized.

This means these types of plant fossils will be retaining a large part of their organic material.

When we talk about compaction fossils, they will consist of peat, lignite coals as well as soft sediments.

Now lets move onto and talk about what are molecular fossils.

When we study fossils, there are several kinds that exist. It is essential that you learn about all of them and adapt ways through which you will be getting a complete overview of what these plant fossils.

Molecular Fossils

molecular fossils

This is also a very common type of plant fossils. This is what we consider as the chemical remains of the plant material.

They provide a complete overview and suggest how does the chemical make-up of the plant stands.

It will also be containing the fossilized DNA and RNA formats.

When it comes to studying this kind of fossils, various elements are used in the process.

They include but are not limited to mass spectrometry as well as other advanced chromatographic techniques.

We make use of these techniques to study molecular fossil materials especially those in alkaline soil and get a better understanding of the elements made use of.

Trace Fossils

Let’s now look into what we consider as trace fossils. These are basically what is made in a rock as due to the daily activities we face.

They will be including activities which includes footprints, feces and even cavities which are left behind by the plant roots.

These kinds of fossils get made due to heavy sandstones. This is basically grains which come in the size of stones.

Why are they important to study?

Because they suggest and shine the light on the existence of various plant organisms including those found in peat moss.

They are even helpful in providing information regarding the speed as well as the weight of the organisms.

So these trace impressions will allow you to get as much data as possible, allowing botanists to study and know all the details regarding various plant breeds.

What is Micro-fossilization?

While talking about types of plant fossils, it is important to study and touch about what are micro fossils. These are actually the plant and animal remains which are very microscopic in size.

This means they are less than 1 millimeter in length.

You can call them as being very small organisms like bacteria or virus.

Or they can be larger in size.

We can consider them as being the most important kinds of fossils, mainly due to the dating elements and how we can be able to access so much information through just studying these.


understanding fossil fuels

In this article we looked into the details of what are plant fossils.

Fossils in itself is an elaborate study of the preserved remains of plants and bacteria.

When we talk fossils, the remains have to be more than 10, 000 years ago.

While most of the interest arises from studying the remains of the Jurassic era, it turns out there are a range of plants as which have been around for years.

These suggest and highlight the fossilization of the casts and molds which we make use of.


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