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U–Pb zircon age, sedimentary facies, and sequence stratigraphy of the Devonian–Carboniferous boundary, Daposhang Section, Guizhou, China

DOI: 10.1016/j.palwor.2012.03.001
  • U–Pb Shrimp Age
  • Facies
  • Sequence Stratigraphy
  • D/C Boundary
  • Daposhang Section
  • China
  • Archaeology
  • Earth Science


Abstract The Devonian–Carboniferous (D/C) boundary marks a major extinction event and an important evolutionary turnover in Paleozoic biotas, but understanding D/C boundary events is hampered by a lack of accurate and consistent ages. As a result, although a global stratotype section and point (GSSP) for the D/C boundary was defined in the section La Serre trench E’ (Montagne Noire, France) and accepted and ratified by the IUGS, problems arose concerning both the lithology of the La Serre section and the identification of S. sulcata. Due to these problems, in the very recent years, the ICS decided to reconsider the GSSP. The Daposhang section in Muhua, Guizhou, China, is one of the most important reference sections for the D/C boundary: it is a conformable succession across the D/C boundary that contains conodont faunas characteristic of restricted subtidal facies. A biostratigraphically well constrained tuff near the D/C boundary in the Daposhang section provides an excellent opportunity to date this important event in Paleozoic history. Sensitive high-mass resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U–Pb analyses were conducted on single zircons extracted from the tuff (between beds 0 and 1, which may be temporally equivalent to the Hangenberg black shale) as well as an analysis of sedimentary facies and sequence stratigraphy across the D/C boundary in the Daposhang section. Bed 0 is below the D/C boundary, in the Upper praesulcata conodont zone, and bed 1 is directly above the D/C boundary, in the sulcata conodont zone. Zircon analyses yielded 20 concordant dates that form a cluster with a 206Pb/238U concordia age of 359.6±1.9Ma. An abundance of bioclastic packstone and wackestone and a lack of obvious high-energy sedimentary structures or evidence of reworking in layers spanning the D/C boundary suggest conformable deposition in a quiet, restricted subtidal paleoenvironment. Fifty-nine fifth-order cycles combine to depict a shallowing-upward succession (beds 029-01; highstand systems tract of a third-order sequence representing the terminal Devonian). The highstand systems tract is overlain by a deepening-upward succession (beds 0-29; maximum flooding surface and transgressive systems tract of a third-order sequence representing predominantly the basal Carboniferous) that begins at the D/C boundary. Fischer plot analysis of high-frequency cycles at the D/C boundary confirms this well developed sea-level pattern, which, together with the tuff and black shale depositional events, has potential for global correlation. On the basis of this new single-zircon SHRIMP age and previously published work on the biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy of the D/C transition interval, the deposition of tuff took place at approximately 359.6Ma, and the age of the D/C boundary at Daposhang, Guizhou, China, is estimated at 359.58Ma.

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