4 years ago

Imaging of Jurassic fossils from the Talbragar Fish Bed using fluorescence, photoluminescence, and elemental and mineralogical mapping

Damian B. Gore, Gerda Gloy, Michael Frese, Rolf G. Oberprieler

by Michael Frese, Gerda Gloy, Rolf G. Oberprieler, Damian B. Gore

The Talbragar Fish Bed is one of Australia’s most important Jurassic deposits for freshwater fishes, land plants and aquatic and terrestrial insects. The site has yielded many well preserved fossils, which has led to the formal description of numerous new species and higher taxa. The excellent preservation of many fossils has allowed detailed anatomical studies, e.g. of the early teleost fish Cavenderichthys talbragarensis (Woodward, 1895). Here we report on the fluorescent characteristics and mineral composition of a range of Talbragar fossils. Most specimens fluoresce under ultraviolet, blue and green light. Elemental and mineralogical analyses revealed that the Talbragar fossils consist predominantly of quartz (SiO2), a mineral that is likely to account for the observed fluorescence, with trace kaolinite (Al2Si2O5(OH)4) in some of the fish fossils. Rock matrices are predominantly composed of quartz and goethite (FeO(OH)). Closer inspection of a plant leaf (Pentoxylon australicum White, 1981) establishes fluorescence as a useful tool for the visualisation of anatomical details that are difficult to see under normal light conditions.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179029

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