Neoproterozoic Fossils in Mesoproterozoic Rocks? Chemostratigraphic Resolution of a Biostratigraphic Conundrum from the North China Platform
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CitationXiao, Shuhai H., Andrew H. Knoll, Alan J. Kaufman, Leiming M. Yin, and Yun Zhang. 1997. Neoproterozoic fossils in Mesoproterozoic rocks? Chemostratigraphic resolution of a biostratigraphic conundrum from the North China Platform. Precambrian Research 84, no. 3-4: 197-220.
AbstractSiliciclastic rocks of the Ruyang Group, southern Shanxi, and the broadly equivalent Gaoshanhe Group, Shaanxi, contain exceptionally well-preserved, large (empty set approximate to 150 mu m) acanthomorphic acritarchs recently interpreted as late Neoproterozoic (Sinian, c. 800-544 Ma) in age. This biostratigraphic interpretation is based on the presence of large acanthomorphs in Sinian successions of South China and elsewhere and the perceived absence of comparable forms in older rocks; it casts doubt on the long-accepted interpretation of Ruyang and correlative rocks as Mesoproterozoic in age (1600-1000 Ma). In contrast, thick marine dolomites in overlying units contain abundant radial fibrous fabrics and a narrow range of delta(13)C values (c. 0+/-1 parts per thousand vs. PDB), features which characterize unambiguously Mesoproterozoic carbonates elsewhere on the North China Platform and on other continents. Age estimates based on petrofabrics and chemostratigraphy are corroborated by a U-Pb zircon age of 999 Ma (no recorded error) for granites which intrude overlying carbonates. Thus, in combination, the available data constrain the Ruyang siliciclastics and overlying carbonates to be older than about one billion years, making Shuiyousphaeridium Yan and other large process-bearing acritarchs from these units among the oldest known distinctly ornamented eukaryotic microfossils.
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