• palynology;
  • Pennsylvanian;
  • vegetation change;
  • Sydney Coalfield;
  • Canada


The palynology of clastic samples from seven stratigraphical levels in the late Moscovian Sydney Mines Formation, exposed along the shore at Bras d'Or, Nova Scotia, has been investigated. Most of the samples were from roof shales of major coals; the one sample that was not yielded a much higher proportion of pollen derived from extra-basinal vegetation. The four stratigraphically lower roof shale samples yielded essentially similar palynological spectra, with 39 ± 4% lycophytes, 9 ± 4% sphenophylls, 23 ± 4% tree-ferns, 12 ± 4% other ferns and 5 ± 3% cordaites. The palynology of the upper part of the investigated succession suggests a shift in vegetation towards one favouring more marattialean tree-ferns, cordaites and conifers, and fewer lycophytes. This correlates with changes in drainage patterns as the alluvial plain migrated seawards and thus changed water tables. No evidence was found to suggest significant climate change at this time. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.