Pristine Early Eocene Wood Buried Deeply in Kimberlite from Northern Canada

A.P. Wolfe, A.Z. Csank, A.V. Reyes, R.C. McKellar, R. Tappert, K. Muehlenbachs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    We report exceptional preservation of fossil wood buried deeply in a kimberlite pipe that intruded northwestern Canada's Slave Province 53.3±0.6 million years ago (Ma), revealed during excavation of diamond source rock. The wood originated from forest surrounding the eruption zone and collapsed into the diatreme before resettling in volcaniclastic kimberlite to depths >300 m, where it was mummified in a sterile environment. Anatomy of the unpermineralized wood permits conclusive identification to the genus Metasequoia (Cupressaceae). The wood yields genuine cellulose and occluded amber, both of which have been characterized spectroscopically and isotopically. From cellulose d O and d H measurements, we infer that Early Eocene paleoclimates in the western Canadian subarctic were 12-17°C warmer and four times wetter than present. Canadian kimberlites offer Lagerstätte-quality preservation of wood from a region with limited alternate sources of paleobotanical information.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere45537
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2012 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Medicine(all)


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