Palynoflora and palaeoenvironment of the early Miocene palaeolake from the Bełchatów mine, central Poland

Elżbieta Worobiec, Grzegorz Worobiec


The Bełchatów lignite deposits are a rich archive allowing palaeoenvironmental, palaeoecological and palaeoclimatic reconstructions from the Neogene and Quaternary periods. We describe the results of palynological studies (including non-pollen palynomorphs) of eight samples from the lower Miocene KRAM-P 211/214 collection of plant macroremains. The results of this palynological analysis are consistent with the results of previous studies of plant macroremains and significantly enrich our knowledge of vegetation and palaeoenvironment. Both studies indicate the presence of a freshwater body (a moderately large and deep lake) surrounded by wetland vegetation (including swamp forests with Glyptostrobus, Taxodium, Nyssa and Osmunda) and upland mesophytic forests. Evergreen or at least semi-evergreen forest communities grew along the ancient shores of the lake and on the slopes of the Mesozoic calcareus rocks surrounding the lake. In the lake, green algae (Pediastrum, Tetraedron and some Botryococcus) and freshwater peridinoid dinoflagellates were major components of the algal community. The same lake was the source of previously identified animal remains: freshwater fishes, molluscs, and mammals, including Megachiroptera bats. Our analysis shows that the climate was subtropical and humid, with an estimated mean annual temperature of 16.8–17.8°C.


Palynology; palaeoclimate; palaeovegetation; Neogene; freshwater algae; central Europe

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