A fossil plant of Eocene age from Antarctica was studied using X-ray and neutron tomography to reveal the three-dimensional plant structures encased within carbonate nodules. The fossil was identified as a branch and leaves of an araucarian conifer, which grew on the volcanic highlands of the Antarctic Peninsula region approximately 50 million yr ago. Both X-ray and neutron imaging techniques successfully exposed the full three-dimensional structure of the fossil without destroying the original specimen, revealing that most of the fossil was present as voids in the concretion and little organic matter was present. However, neutron tomography was found to produce images with superior quality and detail.
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Vol. 88 • No. 4