The Landsborough Sandstone: The Sunshine Coast's Jurassic Park
Formed by lava thrusting up through sandstone bedrock 25 million years ago, the Glasshouse Mountains form an imposing backdrop to farming country in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Deposited in the Early Jurassic Period, this rock formation—known as the Landsborough Sandstone—forms the bedrock for most of the coastal plain from Brisbane’s northern suburbs to Coolum.
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Fortunately, a few leaf fossils are preserved in the Landsborough Sandstone and these help fill in the details of the types of plants that grew in southeast Queensland during the Early Jurassic. Conifers were present, represented by tiny twigs with spinelike leaves. Ferns of various families are preserved, but examples related to the modern Royal Fern (Osmundaceae) family are especially well represented. Horsetails (Equisetales) are also common. One of these plants, recovered from an outcrop at Bald Hills, even retains the sporeproducing, conelike strobilus attached to the top of the jointed stem. Other plant groups are less familiar, such as the extinct Bennettitales – a group of scrambling shrubs with leaves superficially similar to cycads.
AAOD Journal Issue 12 (2014) – pages 78 to 82
By Dr Stephen McLoughlin
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