skip to main content

Title: High-precision U-Pb age constraints on the Permian floral turnovers, paleoclimate change, and tectonics of the North China block
Abstract The Permian marine-terrestrial system of the North China block provides an exceptional window into the evolution of northern temperate ecosystems during the critical transition from icehouse to greenhouse following the late Paleozoic ice age (LPIA). Despite many studies on its rich hydrocarbon reserves and climate-sensitive fossil flora, uncertain temporal constraints and correlations have hampered a thorough understanding of the records of geologic, biologic, and climatic change from the North China block. We present a new chronostratigraphy based on high-precision U-Pb chemical abrasion–isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) geochronology of tuffs from a near-complete latest Carboniferous–Permian succession in North China. The results indicate that the predominance of continental red beds, climate aridification, and the disappearance of coals and characteristic tropical flora were well under way during the Cisuralian (Early Permian) in the North China block, significantly earlier than previously thought. A nearly 20 m.y. hiatus spanning the early Kungurian to the mid-Guadalupian (or later) is revealed in the northern North China block to have close temporal and spatial associations with the closure and/or subduction of the Paleo-Asian Ocean and its related tectonic convergence. This long hiatus was concomitant with the prominent loss of the highly diverse and abundant Cathaysian floras more » and the widespread invasion of the monotonous Angaran floras under arid climate conditions in the North China block. Similarities in the floral and climate shift histories between Euramerica and North China suggest that aside from the regional tectonic controls and continental movement, extensive volcanism during the Cisuralian may have played a major role in the global warming and aridification in the aftermath of the LPIA. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1714749
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10285205
Journal Name:
Geology
Volume:
49
Issue:
6
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
677 to 681
ISSN:
0091-7613
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The Beishan orogen is part of the Neoproterozoic to early Mesozoic Central Asian Orogenic System in central Asia that exposes ophiolitic complexes, passive-margin strata, arc assemblages, and Precambrian basement rocks. To better constrain the tectonic evolution of the Beishan orogen, we conducted field mapping, U-Pb zircon dating, whole-rock geochemical analysis, and Sr-Nd isotopic analysis. The new results, when interpreted in the context of the known geological setting, show that the Beishan region had experienced five phases of arc magmatism at ca. 1450−1395 Ma, ca. 1071−867 Ma, ca. 542−395 Ma, ca. 468−212 Ma, and ca. 307−212 Ma. In order to explainmore »the geological, geochemical, and geochronological data from the Beishan region, we present a tectonic model that involves the following five phases of deformation: (1) Proterozoic rifting that separated the North Beishan block from the Greater North China craton that led to the opening of the Beishan Ocean, (2) early Paleozoic north-dipping subduction (ca. 530−430 Ma) of the Beishan oceanic plate associated with back-arc extension followed by collision between the North and South Beishan microcontinental blocks, (3) northward slab rollback of the south-dipping subducting Paleo-Asian oceanic plate at ca. 450−440 Ma along the northern margin of the North Beishan block that led to the formation of a northward-younging extensional continental arc (ca. 470−280 Ma) associated with bimodal igneous activity, which indicates that the westward extension of the Solonker suture is located north of the Hongshishan-Pengboshan tectonic zone, (4) Late Carboniferous opening and Permian north-dipping subduction of the Liuyuan Ocean in the southern Beishan orogen, and (5) Mesozoic-Cenozoic intracontinental deformation induced by the final closure of the Paleo-Asian Ocean system in the north and the Tethyan Ocean system in the south.« less
  2. Stratigraphic sections in the Bogda Mountains, NW China, provide detailed records of late Permian–Early Triassic terrestrial paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic evolution at the paleo-mid-latitude of NE Pangea. The sections are located in the Tarlong-Taodonggou, Dalongkou, and Zhaobishan areas, ~100 km apart, and ~5000 m in total thickness. An age model was constructed using seven high-resolution U-Pb zircon CA-TIMS dates in the Tarlong-Taodonggou sections and projected to sections in two other areas to convert the litho- and cyclo-stratigraphy into a chronostratigraphy. Sediments were deposited in braided and meandering streams, and lacustrine deltaic and lakeplain-littoral environments. A cyclostratigraphy was established on the basismore »of repetitive environmental changes for high-order cycles, stacking patterns of high-order cycles, and long-term climatic and tectonic trends for low-order cycles (LC). Sedimentary evidence from the upper Wuchiapingian–mid Induan Wutonggou LC indicates that the climate was generally humid-subhumid and gradually became variable toward a seasonally dry condition in the early Induan. Lush vegetation had persisted across the Permo–Triassic boundary into the early Induan. A subhumid-semiarid condition prevailed during the deposition of mid Induan–lower Olenekian Jiucaiyuan and lower Olenekian Shaofanggou LCs. These three LCs are largely continuous and separated by conformities and diastems. Intra- and inter-graben stratigraphic variability is reflected by variations in thickness, depositional system, and average sedimentation rate, and results in variable spatial and temporal stratigraphic resolution. Such stratigraphic variability is mainly controlled by paleogeographic location, depocenter shift, and episodic uplift and subsidence in the source areas and catchment basin. A changeover of plant communities occurred during the early Induan, postdating the end-Permian marine mass extinction. However, riparian vegetation and upland forests were still present from the mid Induan to early Olenekian, and served as primary food source for terrestrial ecosystems, including vertebrates. Correlation of the vascular plant evolutionary history from the latest Changhsingian to early Induan in the Bogda Mountains with those reported from Australia and south China indicates a diachronous floral changeover on Pangea. The late Permian–Early Triassic litho-, cyclo- and chrono-stratigraphies, constrained by the age model, provides a foundation for future studies on the evolution of continental sedimentary, climatic, biologic, and ecological systems in the Bogda region. It also provides a means to correlate terrestrial events in the mid-paleolatitudes with marine and nonmarine records in the other parts of the world.« less
  3. Stratigraphic sections in the Bogda Mountains, NW China, provide detailed records of late Permian–Early Triassic terrestrial paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic evolution at the paleo-mid-latitude of NE Pangea. The sections are located in the Tarlong-Taodonggou, Dalongkou, and Zhaobishan areas, ~100 km apart, and ~5000 m in total thickness. An age model was constructed using seven high-resolution U-Pb zircon CA-TIMS dates in the Tarlong-Taodonggou sections and projected to sections in two other areas to convert the litho- and cyclo-stratigraphy into a chronostratigraphy. Sediments were deposited in braided and meandering streams, and lacustrine deltaic and lakeplain-littoral environments. A cyclostratigraphy was established on the basismore »of repetitive environmental changes for high-order cycles, stacking patterns of high-order cycles, and long-term climatic and tectonic trends for low-order cycles (LC). Sedimentary evidence from the upper Wuchiapingian–mid Induan Wutonggou LC indicates that the climate was generally humid-subhumid and gradually became variable toward a seasonally dry condition in the early Induan. Lush vegetation had persisted across the Permo–Triassic boundary into the early Induan. A subhumid-semiarid condition prevailed during the deposition of mid Induan–lower Olenekian Jiucaiyuan and lower Olenekian Shaofanggou LCs. These three LCs are largely continuous and separated by conformities and diastems. Intra- and inter-graben stratigraphic variability is reflected by variations in thickness, depositional system, and average sedimentation rate, and results in variable spatial and temporal stratigraphic resolution. Such stratigraphic variability is mainly controlled by paleogeographic location, depocenter shift, and episodic uplift and subsidence in the source areas and catchment basin. A changeover of plant communities occurred during the early Induan, postdating the end-Permian marine mass extinction. However, riparian vegetation and upland forests were still present from the mid Induan to early Olenekian, and served as primary food source for terrestrial ecosystems, including vertebrates. Correlation of the vascular plant evolutionary history from the latest Changhsingian to early Induan in the Bogda Mountains with those reported from Australia and south China indicates a diachronous floral changeover on Pangea. The late Permian–Early Triassic litho-, cyclo- and chrono-stratigraphies, constrained by the age model, providesfoundation for future studies on the evolution of continental sedimentary, climatic, biologic, and ecological systems in the Bogda region. It also provides a means to correlate terrestrial events in the mid-paleolatitudes with marine and nonmarine records in the other parts of the world.« less
  4. The Indian (southwest) summer monsoon is one of the most intense climatic phenomena on Earth. Its long-term development has been linked to the growth of high topography in South and Central Asia. The Indian continental margin, adjoining the Arabian Sea, offers a unique opportunity to investigate tectonic–climatic interactions and the net impact of these processes on weathering and erosion of the western Himalaya. During International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 355, two sites (U1456 and U1457) were drilled in Laxmi Basin in the eastern Arabian Sea to document the coevolution of mountain building, weathering, erosion, and climate over a range ofmore »timescales. In addition, recovering basement from the eastern Arabian Sea provides constraints on the early rifting history of the western continental margin of India with special emphasis on continental breakup between India and the Seychelles and its relationship to the plume-related volcanism of the Deccan Plateau. Drilling and coring operations during Expedition 355 recovered sediment from Sites U1456 and U1457 in the Laxmi Basin, penetrating 1109.4 and 1108.6 m below seafloor (mbsf), respectively. Drilling reached sediment dated to 13.5–17.7 Ma (late early to early middle Miocene) at Site U1456, although with a large hiatus between the lowermost sediment and overlying deposits dated to <10.9 Ma. At Site U1457, a much longer hiatus occurs near the base of the cored section, spanning from 10.9 to ~62 Ma. At both sites, hiatuses span ~8.2–9.2 and ~3.6–5.6 Ma, with a possible condensed section spanning ~2.0–2.6 Ma, although the total duration for each hiatus is slightly different between the two sites. A major submarine fan draining the western Himalaya and Karakoram must have been supplying sediment to the eastern Arabian Sea since at least ~17 Ma. Sand mineral assemblages indicate that the Greater Himalayan Crystalline Sequence was fully exposed to the surface by this time. Most of the recovered sediment appears to be derived from the Indus River and includes minerals that are unique to the Indus Suture Zone, in particular glaucophane and hypersthene, most likely originating from the structural base of the Kohistan arc. Pliocene sandy intervals at Site U1456 were deposited in lower fan “sheet lobe” settings, with intervals of basin plain turbidites separated by hemipelagic muddy sections deposited during the Miocene. Site U1457 is more distal in facies, reflecting its more marginal setting. No major active lobe appears to have affected the Laxmi Basin since the Middle Pleistocene (~1.2 Ma). We succeeded in recovering sections spanning the 8 Ma climatic transition, when monsoon intensity is believed to have changed strongly, although the nature of this change awaits postcruise analysis. We also recovered sediment from a large mass transport deposit measuring ~330 and ~190 m thick at Sites U1456 and U1457, respectively. This section includes an upper sequence of slump-folded muddy and silty rocks, as well as underlying calcarenites and limestone breccias, together with smaller amounts of volcanic clasts, all of which are likely derived from the western Indian continental shelf. Identification of similar facies on the regional seismic lines in Laxmi Basin suggests that these deposits form parts of one of the world’s largest mass transport deposits. Coring of igneous basement was successful at Site U1457. Recovery of massive basalt and associated volcaniclastic sediment at this site should address the key questions related to rifting and volcanism associated with formation of Laxmi Basin. Geochemical analysis is required to understand the petrogenesis and thus the tectonic setting of volcanism that will reveal whether it is oceanic basalt or volcanic rock contaminated by underlying continental crust or continental flood basalt. However, the fact that the lavas are massive and have few vesicles implies water depths of eruption likely deeper than 2000 m. This precludes opening of the basin in the presence of a major mantle thermal anomaly, such as that associated with the Deccan Large Igneous Province. Other observations made at the two sites during Expedition 355 provide vital constraints on the rift history of this margin. Heat flow measurements at the two drill sites were calculated to be ~57 and ~60 mW/m2. Such heat flow values are compatible with those observed in average oceanic crust of 63–84 Ma age, as well as with the presence of highly extended continental crust. Postcruise analyses of the more than ~1722 m of core will provide further information about the nature of tectonic–climatic interactions in this global type area for such studies.« less
  5. International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 368X is the third of three cruises that form the South China Sea Rifted Margin program. Expeditions 367, 368, and 368X share the common key objectives of testing scientific hypotheses of breakup of the northern South China Sea (SCS) margin and comparing its rifting style and history to other nonvolcanic or magma-poor rifted margins. Four primary sites were selected for the overall program: one in the outer margin high (OMH) and three seaward of the OMH on distinct, margin-parallel basement ridges informally labeled Ridges A, B, and C from north to south. The ridgesmore »are located in the continent–ocean transition (COT) zone ranging from the OMH to the interpreted steady-state oceanic crust (Ridge C) of the SCS. The main scientific objectives include 1. Determining the nature of the basement in crustal units across the COT of the SCS that are critical to constrain style of rifting, 2. Constraining the time interval from initial crustal extension and plate rupture to the initial generation of igneous ocean crust, 3. Constraining vertical crustal movements during breakup, and 4. Examining the nature of igneous activity from rifting to seafloor spreading. In addition, sediment cores from the drill sites targeting primarily tectonic and basement objectives will provide information on the Cenozoic regional environmental development of the Southeast Asia margin. Expedition 368X was planned to reoccupy a site started during Expedition 368. Because of repeated breakdowns of the low clutch diaphragm in the drawworks, Hole U1503A was abandoned after installing casing to 991.5 m. Despite this setback to Expedition 368 and the South China Sea Rifted Margin program, Hole U1503A was completed during Expedition 368X. The overarching scientific goal of IODP Expeditions 367 and 368 was to unveil the mechanisms of continental breakup at the northern SCS margin from rifting through steady-state spreading. A key operational objective of Site U1503 was to sample the lowermost ~300 m of sediments on top of basement to constrain the age and subsidence history of the crust at this location, the timing of normal faulting, and the environment of the early half-graben fill. A second important goal was to sample at least 100 m of the igneous basement. Deep representative sampling of the igneous material at this site will provide an important reference frame for the modeling of breakup and early ocean spreading. In Hole U1503A, the sediment sequence was cored with the rotary core barrel (RCB) system from 995.1 to 1597.84 m (602.74 m penetration; 128.01 m recovered; 21%) and then the underlying basement was continuously cored from 1597.84 to 1710.1 m (112.26 m penetration; 47.91 m recovered; 43%). Although logging deeper than 991.5 m (bottom of casing) was not possible because of unstable hole conditions, Hole U1503A was logged with the Vertical Seismic Imager in the cased portion of the hole. No days were lost to waiting on weather, and the only mechanical downtime was a 1.5 h period when an electrical malfunction caused the top drive to shut down for repairs. Expedition 368X successfully completed the operational objectives in Hole U1503A that were abandoned during Expedition 368. In the SCS margin science program, material recovered during Expedition 368X will contribute toward meeting the four specific objectives of Expeditions 367 and 368. Postexpedition research on the sediments and basalt recovered from Hole U1503A will allow for determination of emplacement age and geochemical analyses of rock composition and assessment of melting processes and age of crystallization. The combination of such analyses will contribute to geochemical or thermomechanical modeling that will constrain mantle origin and melting processes leading to the formation of these basalts.« less