Paleoenvironmental and Paleoclimatic Evolution and Cyclo- and Chrono-Stratigraphy of Upper Permian–Lower Triassic Fluvial-Lacustrine Deposits in Bogda Mountains, NW China — Implications for Diachronous Plant Evolution Across the Permian–Triassic Boundary

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Stratigraphic sections in the Bogda Mountains, NW China, provide detailed records of late Permian–Early Triassic terrestrial paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic evolution at the paleo-mid-latitude of NE Pangea. The sections are located in the Tarlong-Taodonggou, Dalongkou, and Zhaobishan areas, ~100 km apart, and ~5000 m in total thickness. An age model was constructed using seven high-resolution U-Pb zircon CA-TIMS dates in the Tarlong-Taodonggou sections and projected to sections in two other areas to convert the litho- and cyclo-stratigraphy into a chronostratigraphy. Sediments were deposited in braided and meandering streams, and lacustrine deltaic and lakeplain-littoral environments. A cyclostratigraphy was established on the basis of repetitive environmental changes for high-order cycles, stacking patterns of high-order cycles, and long-term climatic and tectonic trends for low-order cycles (LC). Sedimentary evidence from the upper Wuchiapingian–mid Induan Wutonggou LC indicates that the climate was generally humid-subhumid and gradually became variable toward a seasonally dry condition in the early Induan. Lush vegetation had persisted across the Permo–Triassic boundary into the early Induan. A subhumid-semiarid condition prevailed during the deposition of mid Induan–lower Olenekian Jiucaiyuan and lower Olenekian Shaofanggou LCs. These three LCs are largely continuous and separated by conformities and diastems. Intra- and inter-graben stratigraphic variability is reflected by variations in thickness, depositional system, and average sedimentation rate, and results in variable spatial and temporal stratigraphic resolution. Such stratigraphic variability is mainly controlled by paleogeographic location, depocenter shift, and episodic uplift and subsidence in the source areas and catchment basin.

A changeover of plant communities occurred during the early Induan, postdating the end-Permian marine mass extinction. However, riparian vegetation and upland forests were still present from the mid Induan to early Olenekian, and served as primary food source for terrestrial ecosystems, including vertebrates. Correlation of the vascular plant evolutionary history from the latest Changhsingian to early Induan in the Bogda Mountains with those reported from Australia and south China indicates a diachronous floral changeover on Pangea. The late Permian–Early Triassic litho-, cyclo- and chrono-stratigraphies, constrained by the age model, provides a foundation for future studies on the evolution of continental sedimentary, climatic, biologic, and ecological systems in the Bogda region. It also provides a means to correlate terrestrial events in the mid-paleolatitudes with marine and nonmarine records in the other parts of the world.


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