2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 34
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


WHEELER, Elisabeth A.1, BARTLETT, J.A.2 and DECHERD, Sara2, (1)Wood and Paper Science, N.C. State Univ, Box 8005, Raleigh, NC 27695, (2)Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, N.C. State Univ, Raleigh, NC 27695, elisabeth_wheeler@ncsu.edu

George Beck’s “Vantage Locality” is the most diverse Miocene wood assemblage in North America. In the 1930’s and 1940’s Beck published a series of informal papers on fossil woods of the Columbia Basalts with a 5-page paper in the Journal of Forestry summarizing his findings. Some 20 years later, Prakash and Barghoorn published three papers describing 23 species of Vantage woods (2 conifers and 21 angiosperms, with the Aceraceae and Ulmaceae being particularly diverse). Their studies were dedicated to Beck and meant to formalize his work on the Vantage woods. We have examined their material, and reassessed the diversity and affinities of the Vantage woods. Our work uses a newly developed web-accessible wood anatomy web site to aid with determining the relationships of the fossil woods to modern woods. The modern wood database of this site contains 5,342 descriptions, representing 242 families and 2,572 genera; the fossil wood database has over 1,500 descriptions. Among the Vantage collections of Beck and Prakash and Barghoorn, we were able to identify 15 families, 23 genera, and 27 species, with an additional 5 wood types not yet assignable to family or genus. The affinities of the woods as well as their wood anatomical characteristics, especially the high incidence of ring porosity, can be used for general paleoecological interpretations.