Rhynie Chert - Ancient Plants


At Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, hot springs left behind a chert deposit containing a remarkably well preserved assemblage of Early Devonian terrestrial and freshwater plants and animals, together with bacteria and fungi. They include some of the oldest land plants ever found (400-412 million years old).

The plants are sometimes preserved in such exquisite detail that their internal anatomy can be seen. They are the best preserved land plants known from 400 million or more years ago.

The animals represent one of the earliest and certainly the best preserved terrestrial fauna known from the Devonian. Recent finds make this the most diverse associated fossil arthropod fauna of terrestrial and freshwater origin from rocks of comparable age anywhere in the world.

The Rhynie cherts are part of the surface expression of an Early Devonian precious metal-bearing (contains minor gold) hot-spring system. This is the oldest hot spring system known where surface features such as geyser vents are preserved.

Further details here and here.

View thin section

Transmitted light
between crossed polarshttp://www.open.ac.uk/earth-research/tindle/AGT/mosaics/zgoogle_rhynie_xpl/index.html
Transmitted light
plane polarisedhttp://www.open.ac.uk/earth-research/tindle/AGT/mosaics/zgoogle_rhynie_ppl/index.html

Object movie


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Rhynie, Aberdeenshire during the Early Devonian

Cut surface of hand specimen showing cross sections through fossil plants

13 cm across


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