Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM
PALYNOLOGY OF THE GRAY FOSSIL SITE, EASTERN TENNESSEE: ITS ROLE IN UNDERSTANDING THE BASIN FILL HISTORY
The Gray Fossil Site (GFS) was thought to be entirely late Miocene/early Pliocene based on an assemblage of well preserved vertebrate fossils. Detailed palynologic study of the 38 m long GFS-1 core recovered from the site indicates an older age. The presence of Caryapollenites imparalis, C. inelegans, C. prodromus and C. veripites association along with Corsinipollenites warrenii and Tricolporopollenites kruschii suggest a Paleocene to Eocene age for this core interval. This age is also supported by the absence of pollen of the Poaceae which is not commonly present until the Neogene. This is in conflict with the age that has been primarily determined based on the occurrence of Miocene vertebrates higher in the stratigraphic section. These data suggest a more complex basin fill history than previously suspected. The possibility of multiple depositional episodes and/or the formation of juxtaposed depositional basins must be considered. Multiple depo-centers may have been periodically active at the Gray Fossil Site through the Tertiary preserving a more complete faunal and floristic Appalachian biodiversity record than previously recognized.