The Burma Circle of the Geological Survey of India and their Contributions to the Geology of Myanmar

Frederick Richard Cowper Reed was a British geologist and palaeontologist who was born in London on 27 June 1869 and died in Cambridge on 8 February 1946. From Harrow, he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1888, and was later elected a scholar. He was placed in the first class of the Natural Sciences Tripos Part 1 (1891) and Part 2 (1892) and was awarded the Harkness scholarship for geology and palaeontology. In 1901 he gained the Sedgwick Prize for his work on “The Geological History of the Rivers of East Yorkshire” and in 1941 took the degree of Sc. D. Reed was appointed assistant to the Woodwardian professor of geology in 1892, and retained that post for twenty-five years, his chief duties being curatorial in the Woodwardian (later the Sedgwick) Museum.
Reed spent most of the interwar period abroad, living in Southern Rhodesia from 1922 to 1933 where he helped to examine and identify remains of Massospondylus and Coelophysis. From 1933 to early 1935 he lived in the Tanganyika Territory where he worked on the remains of the Kentrosaurus before returning home to Cambridgeshire that July. Reed’s work was on British palaeontology with interests in Brachiopods and Trilobites. He also contributed to the Palaeontologica India between 1906 and 1944. In 1921 he published a Geology of the British Empire based on travels through Africa, India, and Canada. After his retirement, he was able to devote himself entirely to research.
An Upper Devonian Fauna from the neighbourhood of Padaukpin, Northern Shan States.
Cowper Reed described “New Devonian Fossils from Burma” in the records of the geological survey of India in 1930. The concise account of his report could be extracted as follows:-
The locality from which Mr La Touche obtained the collection of Middle Devonian fossils described by the present author in 1908 was stated to be close to the western gate of the village of Padaukpin, and the general facies of the fauna as well as the occurrence of many well-known European species led to the conclusion that the horizon was that of the Calceola stage of the Middle Devonian.
In the course of the author’s visit to the Shan States in 1927, a new exposure of a lithologically similar limestone was discovered in a small stream course on the jungle-clad slopes which descend steeply to the Kelaung Chaung valley about three miles S. S. E. of Padaukpin village. The solid rock here largely consists of masses of corals (Phillipsastrœa, etc.), and in the stream bed and on its banks loose specimens of brachiopods and occasional isolated corals are found weathered out and mostly in a good state of preservation. The lithological character of the rock and the condition and mode of preservation of the fossils are identical to those of the other occurrence at Padaukpin, but the assemblage of fossils is quite different, as is pointed out below, and another horizon is certainly represented.
Two visits that I paid to this locality accompanied by Mr Peter Leicester of the Geological Survey of India resulted in the collection of a considerable series of specimens, amongst which the new species or varieties described below. The exact locality is exceedingly difficult to find, as it is in the midst of a thick jungle some distance from any native cart road or foot-path, and the many small water channels amongst the trees are so closely similar in appearance that it is hard to locate the single fossiliferous one. The whole portion of the stream course from which the specimens were collected is not more than 15 yards in length, and above and below this stretch no trace of fossils could be found.
List of Species
Phillipsastrœa orientalis sp. nov. (Stanley Smith).
“padaukpinensis sp. nov.
Endophyllum cf. priscum (Munst).
Cyathophyllum ceratites Goldf.?
Striatopora cf. angulosa Gurich.
“      cf. Tchichatschewi Von Peetz.
“       cf. Suessi Penecke.
Alveolites suborbicularis Lam.
“   ramosa Roem.
Aulopora serpens Goldf.
 Favosites vicina sp. nov.
Orthis (Schizophoria) striatula Schloth.
     “                “ Ivanovi Tschern.
     “                “ cf. hainensis Maur.
     “     (Dalmanella) tioga Hall.
Stropheodonta (Douvillina) imitatrix sp. nov.
Orthothetes (Schellwienella) umbraculum Schloth.
Atrypa reticularis Linn. var. nov. subauriculata.
     “     Douvillei Mansuy, var.
Spirorbis amphalodes Goldf.
General Character of the Fauna
The chief features of the fauna collected from this locality are the presence of large masses of the coral Phillipsastrœa, and the abundance of the three brachiopods, Douvillina imitatrix sp. nov. subauriculata. The other fossils are only represented by a few or by single specimens.
We may note that there is a complete absence of such typical fossils as Calceola sandalina, Stropheodonta interstrialis, Rhynchonella (Hypothyris) cuboides, Strophonella caudata and the numerous other brachiopods and bryozoans which charaterised the previously described occurrence of Devonian limestone at Padaukpin. Due to limited space details of Devonian fauna could not be mentioned in this article. Please see Records of GSI, Vol. LXII.
New Fossils from the Zebingyi Beds
(In 1969, Zebingyi Area was my 3rd-year geology field excursion supervised by Jimmy Than Tun)
Locality 1: During the author’s visit to Burma and the Shan States in 1927 a small collection of fossils was made from the Zebingyi Beds on the Mandalay-Maymyo road where the rocks are occasionally exposed in the cuttings. These exposures were not available when Mr T D LaTouche examined the beds in 1900 and subsequent years, and as some new species have been obtained it is desirable to place them on record.
Near mile-post “31” on this road pink, white, and yellow soft shales yielded abundantly Tentaculites elegans and Styliolina lacris, with occasional examples of Phacops aff. Shanensis and crinoid stem joints. A small brachiopod which may be regarded as a variety of Stropheodonta comitans Barr. is described below, and is new to this locality. A small ostracod, perhaps referable to the genus Aristozoe also occurs at this locality, and a doubtful specimen of Orthonyehia was collected.
At mile-post “32-7” on the same road some pygidia and fragments of Phacops aff. Shanensis (but no head shields) were obtained from similar beds which also yielded a few examples of the variety of Stropheodonta comitans Barr. A small badly preserved meristoid shell of rather doubtful generic reference and a pentameroid allied to Pentamerus Krasnopolskii Tschern were also found. It was remarkable that graptolites were practically absent, only one fragment of a Monograptus being obtained in the course of a detailed search in the various sections along this road.
The full description of the fauna of the Zebingyi Beds in this area was given by the author in 1906 with a few further remarks in 1915, while in 1913 Mr T D LaTouche described the stratigraphical relations and occurrence of this interesting formation.
The following are the new fossils collected along this road:
Stropheodonta comitans Barr. var. nov. subimbricata.
Meristella cf. recta Barrois.
Pentamerus (Clorinda) aff. Krasnopolskii Tschern.
Locality 2: In the course of the same trip through the Northern Shan States a new locality for fossils in these beds was discovered by the author far to the North on the road from Lashio to Mongpyen. Here at mile-post “17-4” dark purplish fissile earthy shales occur in the bank by the road-side with interbedded layers of reddish ironstone and grey tough horny limestone, all gently folded. The shales yielded a few poorly preserved specimens including the following species, none of which has been previously recorded from the Zebingyi Beds, but the general close affinities or identity of the species with well-known Lower Devonian forms occurring elsewhere render the stratigraphical reference of the beds a matter of no uncertainty.
Cypricardinia semisquamosa sp. nov.
Avicula aff. Insidiosa Barr.
Platyceras sp.
Entomis pelagica Barr.
Entomis cf. Phalanga Kegel.
No trace of graptolites or Tentaculites was observed in the beds at this locality, and it is probable that the horizon is rather higher than those near Zebingyi yielding such fossils.
Anthracolithic Faunas of the Southern Shan States
Cowper Reed described Anthracolithic faunas of the Southern Shan States in the Record of the Geological Survey of India, Part 1, Vol. LXVII in 1934. The significant points could be extracted as follows:-
Of the three faunas of the Anthracolithic system of the Shan States described by Dr Diener in 1911 only one was obtained from the Southern Shan States, the fossils of which were collected from bands of shaly limestone and marl in the hills between Hopong and Mong Pawn. Dr Coggin Brown has from time to time recently made considerable collections from a dark limestone at a locality in the Southern Shan States called Htam Sang (A. 534). But there are also a few specimens from other localities. One of them is a specimen of a coral from a black shattered limestone at Taunggyi, belonging to the ‘Plateau Limestone’ which has been identified by Dr Stanley Smith as Lonsdaleia indica, Waag., but no other fossil is available from this locality.
There is also a rather abundant coral belonging either to the genus Syringopora or to Tetrapora which occurs at Poila (A. 506).
The present author himself in 1927 visited some exposures on the road between Taunggyi and Mong Pawn and collected a few specimens near the 24th milestone which are also described, as they supplement the list given by Dr Diener from the same neighbourhood, and some of them show features of special interest.
The description of the new species of Lophophyllum from Htam Sang has been kindly furnished by Dr Stanley Smith, who has examined and cut several specimens of it for me.
With the exception of this coral, of which a considerable number of specimens occur in the collection from Htam Sang, only one or two examples of the various species described below have been available.
Locality 1: Htam Sang
List of fossils collected by Dr Coggin Brown.
Liebea indica, Waag.
Derbyia grandis, Waag.
      “      shanensis (Diener) etc.
Locality 2: Taunggyi
Lonsdalcia indica, Waag.
Locality 3: Poila
Syringopora ? sp.
Locality 4: Near 24th Milestone on the road from Taunggyi to Mong Pawn
List of fossils collected by Dr F R C Reed in 1927.
Derbyia? Sp.
Schuchertella semiplana, Waag.
Productus (Marginifera) bivius, sp. nov.
Aulosteges cf. tibeticus, Diener. etc.
1. Nature, Volume 157 (1946).
2. Reed, F R Cowper,1908: The Devonian Faunas of the northern Shan States; Palzontologia Indica, Memoir of GSI, Vol. II, Memoir No 5.
3. Reed, F R Cowper, 1934: Anthracolithic faunas of the Southern Shan States, Records of the Geological Survey of India, Part 1, Vol. LXVII.
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