Photo by Paul Seling

There are many interesting plant fossils out there, and with so many of them, fans of plant fossils have so much in store for them.

A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia, written by Thomas McLoughlin, is a fantastic book about the fossil plants of Southwest Virginia. Within its pages are many samples of plant fossils that thrived millions of years ago. Readers will have a great time reading about these prehistoric plants.

But before we can start to talk about these plant fossils from varying fossil sites, let’s first identify what plant fossils are.

What are Plant Fossils?

Compared to fossilized bones, teeth, and shells, plant fossils are very uncommon. Typically, the soft tissues of plants are destroyed long before they can become fossilized. Only under ideal circumstances can leaves be kept.

The requirements for the “Goldilocks Conditions” are relatively straightforward. The recently fallen leaf must be in an unaltered area with little to no oxygen to fossilize. It might sink to the bottom of a large lake or get buried in a landslide.

Nevertheless, numerous fantastic fossil locations globally exhibit superb plant material preservation. Even though they appear to refute the initial assertion, it is essential to remember the enormous number of plants that have existed on Earth throughout history.

From the sluggish marshes of the Carboniferous Period all the way to the deep lakes that shaped the Green River Formation during the Eocene Epoch, the world is a big place. It has produced many “Goldilocks” scenarios for plant fossils to exist.

With that said, let’s check out some of these locations where plant fossils consider their home.

The Carboniferous Period Plant Fossils

There are a ton of excellent plant fossils from the Carboniferous Period. What caused that? The humid and hot weather that existed during the period was ideal for plant development, especially in swampy places.

Thomas McLoughlin’s book about the fossil plants of Southwest Virginia goes into more detail about these unique fossil pieces. Being a picture guide to many fossil plants and a couple of fossil marine organisms within the central Appalachian region, readers will have a great time with it.

Several ferns dominated the area, some of which were tree-sized. These ferns have been completing their life cycle, dying, and falling into the wet bogs for millions of years. With the diverse flora and fauna of the Carboniferous Period, the location was waiting to be a gold mine of interesting plant fossils.

The Green River Formation Plant Fossils

Layers of fine-grained sedimentary rock made up the vast, old rock structure known as the Green River formation, which stretched across mountainous lake basins.

The original creation, which spans sections of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, took place between 59 and 33 million years ago, close to the present-day Green River. By just looking at it, anyone could see that the size of this formation was tremendous.

The lakes were enormous. A wealth of life also followed them. A wide variety of tropical and subtropical vegetation encircled the deep lakes. These deep lakes’ low oxygen levels provided the optimal environment for forming fossils.

Florissant Plant Fossils

The Florissant fossil beds, close to Colorado Springs, are a top-notch fossil region. Approximately 34 million years ago, it was produced throughout the late Eocene and early Oligocene epochs.

About 80 and 55 million years ago, during the Laramide orogeny, the Rocky Mountains were starting to take shape. Deep Valley Florissant had neighboring volcanic activity.

Pyroclastic flows dammed the valley, turning it into a lake. Rich trees developed in the valley, a lake brimming with sediments and ash, and volcanic mudflows eventually covered everything. Once more, damming the valley, another volcanic low created a second lake.

Read More About the Interesting Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia

We have a suggestion if you are eager to read more about Southwest Virginia’s plant fossils. A Guide to Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) Age Plant Fossils of Southwest Virginia by Thomas McLoughlin is what you need. You’ll also learn the different types of plant fossils you can find.

This excellent book about the fossil plants of Southwest Virginia will showcase the fascinating prehistoric plants buried beneath the old ground.

Grab a copy of the book today by clicking here, and start reading up about the plant fossils of Southwest Virginia!