On this episode of #fossilfriday, we shall be learning all about "Power Plants". Grab some coffee and let us enjoy this journey through time together. 🌿🌿🌿🌿
#blackinnature #blackinstem #scicomm #BlackAFINSTEM #AcademicTwitter #BlackinPalaeo #Iamabotanist
Last time on "Keep Up with the Plant Detective"👇👇😊 https://twitter.com/UdeMischa/status/1271393538048172033?s=20
(1/n): South Africa is home to a range of lesser-known and neglected plant fossils, called the glossopterids. These trees once grew in vast swamps along with ancient plant groups such as ferns, horsetail ferns and clubmosses. #FossilFriday
(2/n): Glossopterids formed the oldest coal fields in South Africa. Coal is mainly the remains of a Glossopteris flora, named after an ancient gymnosperm tree species. South Africa’s coal resources are contained in the Ecca deposits, a stratum of the Karoo Supergroup.
(3/n): Nearly 80% of SA's primary energy needs r provided by coal. Coal is used to generate most of the electricity in the country. Sometimes referred to as 'black gold', coal forms the backbone of our economy, it pervades our way of life.
(4/n):Glossopteris influences our lives in many ways. The carbon atoms harvested from the air as CO2 by these trees during the process of photosynthesis, millions of years ago, can also be found in petrol, waxes, plastics, and a host of other products used in everyday life.
(5/n):To understand SA’s ancient past, we need to be able to reconstruct entire ecosystems, starting at the bottom of the food chain. Glos. dotted ancient landscapes before dinosaurs ever walked the earth and before a single flower had bloomed. As such, should be closely studied.
(6/n): How did these plants Power Plants turn into coal?
(7/n): Under normal conditions, when plants die or shed their leaves these fall to the ground and decompose. Under special environmental conditions – such as those that occurred in the vast Permian swamps of Gondwana– the process differs.
(8/n):Once Glossopteris shed their leaves, the plant material accumulated in acidic water with high levels of tannins and low oxygen concentrations.This retarded the activity of the bacteria, fungi and other organisms that would otherwise lead to decomposition.
📷 :Gerhard Marx
(9/n): Over time layers of mud, silt and sand washed into the swamp and buried the waterlogged peat layers. Millions of years passed. During this period the mud, silt, sand and the encased plant material experienced great pressure and high temperatures.
(9/n): It was compressed and changed into rock and underwent various chemical changes. The result? Coal seams. This is why coal is referred to as a fossil fuel. It is also a reminder that coal is finite.
(10/n): Coal is essentially a concentration of carbon atoms, originally harvested through photosynthesis from atmospheric carbon dioxide by great Glossopteris forests that became extinct millions of years ago.
(11/n): This carbon is being returned by us to the atmosphere on a massive scale over a very short period of time. While acknowledging that South Africa is a developing nation, facing poverty and unemployment, a struggling education and health system.....
(12/n): the government has expressed a commitment to addressing our large carbon footprint. Coal is not a renewable resource. We have plenty of it, but we will eventually get to the point where it is no longer economically viable to rely on coal as our primary energy source.
(13/n): We have already reached this point in another sense, when we factor in, on a global environmental scale, the enormous cost of using fossil fuels. Contributing significantly towards what is being called the Sixth Great Extinction Event in the Earth's history.
(14/14): Todays Episode of "Keeping Up with The Plant Detective was bought to you by Dr Rose Prevec (my supervisor) and Ms Aviwe Matiwane (Plant Detective). I would like to thank our Technical Team for all their hard work and dedication. Thank you for All for tuning in.🙏🌿
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