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Dr Alan Channing

Hot spring environments and ecosystems through time
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Mesozoic Fossil Hot Spring Deposits


PRE-CENOZOIC RECORDS OF HOT SPRING FLORAS

Whilst many of the world’s orogenic belts have evidence
for the former presence of hot spring activity in the form
of epithermal mineralization (e.g. gold/silver bearing vein systems), only a handful of epithermal provinces retain evidence of surace sinters.

Estimates of the number of epithermal deposits created
during the Phanerozoic suggest that about 83 per cent
have been removed completely by erosion leaving approximately 63 000 deposits to be discovered.

Unfortunately, hot spring environments (as surficial deposits associated with fault-related settings within tectonically and volcanically active terranes) are extremely susceptible to erosion and removal from the rock record. This problem of long-term preservation is highlighted by the scarcity of pre-Cenozoic examples of sinter deposits.

Mesozoic hot spring floras
Mesozoic hot spring floras are recorded from just two
palaeogeothermal provinces (Table 2).

Cretaceous, Heilongjiang Province, China

Jurassic, Deseado Massif, Santa Cruz province, Argentina


Active hot spring systems
Holocene fossil hot spring deposits
Cenozoic fossil hot spring deposits
Mesozoic fossil hot spring deposits
Palaeozoic fossil hot spring deposits

Next - Palaeozoic
fossil hot spring deposits