STRUCTURAL VARIATIONS IN PEAT

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Summary

The macro- and microscopic structure of an upland bog in north-east Scotland was examined at two sites, where four main horizons were recognized according to dominant botanical constituents, degree of decomposition and texture after weathering. The botanical composition varied most markedly in the first and second horizons, decomposition in the second and third horizons, and texture in the third and fourth horizons. Microscopic examination of profiles from both sites was based on identifiable leaf cuticular patterns, assorted plant tissues (mainly roots and stems), and the pollen and spore record. The macro- and microfossil records from both sites differed in the distribution of Sphagnum spp., Hypnum cupressiforme, Calluna vulgaris and Betula spp., within certain horizons. Regional palynological data, supplemented by radiocarbon dating, placed the initiation of peat accumulation about the Atlantic Sub-Boreal transition (N.P.L. 94. 5020 ± 95 B.P.). The results of this investigation indicated that isolation of the cuticular components of peat can provide useful supplementary data in the study of upland bogs, in which the regional pollen record is often poorly represented.

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