Paper No. 69-6
Presentation Time: 3:05 PM
ORGANIC-WALLED MICROFOSSILS FROM THE TONIAN GOUHOU FORMATION, HUAIBEI REGION, NORTH CHINA CRATON, AND THEIR BIOSTRATIGRAPHIC IMPLICATIONS
The Meso-(?) and Neoproterozoic Huaibei Group in the Huaibei region, North China Craton (NCC), is emerging as a target for geobiological and tectonic studies due to its thick unmetamorphosed sediments with well-preserved organic-walled fossils. However, the lack of accurate age constraints for this sedimentary sequence dramatically hampers our ability to take full advantage of the rich geological and paleontological history recorded in the Huaibei Group. Particularly, the depositional age of the uppermost unit of the Huaibei Group, the Gouhou Formation, is a controversial issue. Although it is widely accepted that there is an unconformity between the Gouhou Formation and the overlying early Cambrian Houjiashan Formation, the magnitude of this unconformity and hence the scale of the underlying tectonic event are unconstrained due to the uncertainty of the sedimentary age for the Gouhou Formation which has been variously interpreted as Cambrian, Cryogenian–Ediacaran (~720 Ma to ~541 Ma), and Tonian (1000 Ma to ~720 Ma). To improve our knowledge about this sedimentary gap, we carried out a biostratigraphic study of the Gouhou Formation. Our investigation using a low manipulation maceration technique revealed a diverse organic-walled microfossil assemblage. A total of 22 taxa have been revealed, importantly, the co-occurrence of Trachyhystrichosphaera, Valeria, and Dictyosphaera in the Gouhou Formation suggests a likely Tonian age. The biostratigraphic data indicate an infra-Cambrian depositional gap of >200 myr between the Tonian Gouhou Formation and Cambrian Houjiashan Formation, perhaps driven by a major tectonostratigraphic event.