|Map of the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa by |
Oggmus, used under Creative Commons license.
Most of the Beaufort and Stormberg Groups are Triassic in age.
Much of the late Triassic Stormberg group was deposited by a vast braided stream system that was home to abundant life by late Triassic time. Cycads and other gymnosperms including confers created diverse woodland habitats, from riparian along the rivers to marshes and meadows. The Molteno Formation in the Stormberg group is the primary coal producer in the eastern part of South Africa’s Cape Province – so we had clearly left the early Triassic coal gap behind.
The coal-bearing sands of the Molteno Formation are overlain by younger red mudstones of the Eliot Formation, which spans the time from very late Triassic into the very early Jurassic, about 210 to 190 million years ago, with the Triassic-Jurassic boundary at 199 million years ago. The Eliot strata contain fossils of more than 40 species of dinosaurs, ranging from theropods like coelophysis which we mentioned a few days ago, to the multi-ton bipedal herbivore, plateosaurus.
The Stormberg group of the Karoo Supergroup also contains fossils of some of those almost-mammals that we discussed the other day, along with a remarkable array of fossil insects.
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|Triassic Lystrosaurus drawing by Dmitry Bogdanov,|
used under Creative Commons license
—Richard I. Gibson
Map of the Karoo Supergroup in South Africa by Oggmus, used under Creative Commons license. Most of the Beaufort and Stormberg Groups are Triassic in age.
Triassic Lystrosaurus drawing by Dmitry Bogdanov, used under Creative Commons license.