Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 367–378 | Cite as

Fire in the paradise: evidence of repeated palaeo-wildfires from the Araripe Fossil Lagerstätte (Araripe Basin, Aptian-Albian), Northeast Brazil

  • Flaviana Jorge de LimaEmail author
  • Etiene Fabbrin Pires
  • André Jasper
  • Dieter Uhl
  • Antônio Álamo Feitosa Saraiva
  • Juliana Manso Sayão
Original Paper


Reports on Cretaceous charcoals are relatively common on a global scale and have been increasing in recent years. Fossil charcoal from the Early Cretaceous mostly belongs to conifers (and other gymnosperms) and ferns whereas angiosperms become more common only during the Late Cretaceous. However, so far, reports of Cretaceous macroscopic charcoal are rare (three) for South America. Here, charcoal is identified from the Crato, Ipubi and Romualdo formations of the Early Cretaceous Santana Group within the Araripe Basin, Brazil. The presence of charcoal provides for the first time compelling evidence for the repeated occurrence of Early Cretaceous palaeo-wildfires in this region. The charred wood remains were identified as belonging to gymnosperms, which were important components of the palaeoflora during the Cretaceous in Northeast Brazil. The results presented here provide additional evidence for the occurrence of palaeo-wildfires in Northern Gondwana during the Early Cretaceous, increasing our understanding for the relevance of such events and their influence on palaeoenvironmental dynamics.


Charcoal Wildfires Cretaceous Crato Formation Ipubi Formation Romualdo Formation 



A. Jasper and D. Uhl acknowledge CAPES (Brazil, 8107-14-9; A072/2013), CNPq (305436/2015-5) and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany BRA 1137359 STPCAPES). We would also like to thank the Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (FUNCAP) for the research in the region. We thank Renan Bantim for helping with the images. Last but not least, we thank the careful reviews by Prof. Dr. Rose Prevec and an anonymous reviewer.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geociências, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, grants FJL #142390/2013-5; JMS CNPq proc. N. 310799/2014-7; 458164/2014-3; 444330/2014-3).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geociências, Centro de Tecnologia e GeociênciasUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Paleontologia, Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Regional do CaririCratoBrazil
  3. 3.Laboratório de Paleobiologia, Campus de Porto Nacional, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade, Ecologia e ConservaçãoUniversidade Federal do TocantinsPorto NacionalBrazil
  4. 4.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ambiente e Desenvolvimento, PPGADUniversidade do Vale do Taquari – UnivatesLajeadoBrazil
  5. 5.Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  6. 6.Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and PalaeoenvironmentEberhard Karls Universität TübingenTübingenGermany
  7. 7.Laboratório de Biodiversidade do Nordeste, Centro Acadêmico de VitóriaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoVitória de Santo AntãoBrazil

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