Middle Triassic Lake Deepening in the Ordos Basin of North China Linked with Global Sea-Level Rise

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The Yanchang Formation was deposited during the Middle Triassic in a vast lacustrine basin in the modern Ordos Basin and is a main target for hydrocarbon exploration in Central China. It is divided, based on sedimentary cycles and lithology, into the Chang 10 (the oldest) to Chang 1 (the youngest) members. During the deposition of the Chang 7 Member, the Ordos lake system reached its maximum depth and large volumes of organic-rich sediments were deposited. The evolution of the Ordos Basin sedimentary system during this phase is, however, not completely understood, and uncertainty still exists as for the chronostratigraphy of Chang 7 Member. We acquired palynological markers and palynofacies and a high-resolution δ13Corg record through the entire Chang 7 Member, and a ID-TIMS 206Pb/238U date of 240.95 ± 0.033 Ma from a volcanic ash bed in the middle of this Member. These imply that the maximum deepening phase of the lacustrine system was during the earliest Ladinian. Evidence of marine influence in the Ordos Basin at that time and comparison to the sea-level oscillations observed in Western Tethys suggest that a global eustatic rise and highstand may have played a role in determining lake-level variations.


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