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Problems concerning the lower boundary of the Lower Carboniferous in the Ningzhen Mountains


, : Problems concerning the lower boundary of the Lower Carboniferous in the Ningzhen Mountains. Dizhi Lunping = Geological Review 30(3): 264-266

The contacts between the Jinling Formation and the Wutong Group have always been considered to be disconformable, the Gelaohe Member and related biotas being absent. According to the data obtained by the authors in the Ningzhen Mountains area and its environs, especially the drilling data, it is very likely that the contacts between the upper member of the Wutong Group and the Jinling Formation are conformable. The reasons are as follows: (1) In ascending order they both consist of fine-grained sandstone, siltstone,clay rocks, calcareous shale and limestone, so it is very likely that their deposition was continuous. (2) The calcareous shale at the base of the Jinling Formation is very thin, only 10 cm or so, but its thickness does not change much, which indicates that the top of the basement is flat rather than erosional. (3) Fresh, brass-yellow, contemporary pyrite nodules or bands parallel to the bedding have been preserved in both the clay rocks or clayey siltstone at the top of the Wutong Group and the calcareous shale at the base of the Jinling Formation. This indicates that no depositional break had occurred before deposition of the Jiling Formation. This view does not contradict the evidence of plant fossils. The common characteristic of the Wutong Group in the Ningzhen Mountains is that at the top of the Wutong Group there is always a 20m-thick fireclay-bearing bed that is characterized by plentiful fossils and consists mainly of siltstone and clay rocks. This bed is largely identical to the Gaolishan Formation in paleobotany and lithology except for slight differences; it is evident that they are intimately related. Particularly it is very likely that the deposition of this bed and the Jiling Formation was continuous. Therefore, it may possibly correspond with the Gelaohe Member. So it is advisable to assign it to the Lower Carboniferous.

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