A REVIEW OF THE EARLY TERTIARY FORMATIONS OF CHINA

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  • A REVIEW OF ThE EARLY TERTiARY FORMATIONSOF CHINA2

    B

    C. C. YouNG (&)Cenozoic Research Laboratory, Geological Surtey

    INTRODUCTION

    The Early Tertiary formations in China have not been studied sys-tematically for a long time, since they are iess well exposed and less fossiif er-otis than the Pliocene or Pleistocene beds in the same areas. No further re-view of those deposits for North China has been made ever since the publica-tion of the fundamenta' Essays of Dr. G. J. Andersson2. Furthermore, wehave as yet not attempted to give a general exposition. of our knowledge con-cerning the subject for South China. Most of the recent work on the Chine3eCenozoic has been devoted, to the study of the Pontian and later deposits5.

    In the course of the past ten years, however, much information con-cerning the older Tertiary beds has been accumulated by geologists of Peking.Nanking and Canton, working all over China.

    Owing to the paucity of fossils, the data on hand do not as yet allowus to attempt a detailed stratigraphy. In most cases, Oligocene cannot beseparated from Eocene, and even the distinction between Eocene and UpperCretaceous is often uncertain, a condition specially prevailing in the con-glomerates and sandstones south 0f the Tsinling range.

    I Received for publication April 1934.2 Andersson, G. J., 1923. Essays on the Cenozoic of Northern China. Mcm. Geol.

    Sury. China, Ser. A, No. 3.3 Cf. chiefly the publicatiois of the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Geological

    Survey of China.

  • 470 Bulletin of the Geelogical Society of China

    in spite 0f such gaps, it would be of obvious advantage if all theavailable information, hitherto given in a large number of publications, werelisted and briefly summarized in a single memoir.

    To give a short review of this kind is the aim of the present paper.In the following pages, the Early Tertiary formations of China are consideredin a roughly geographical order, horn North to South. Each locality is num-bered to correspond with the map at the end of the paper. A few generalviews, and a tentative correlation with the Eocene and Oligocene formationsof Mongolia (as recognised by the Central Asiatic American Expedition) arepresented as a conclusion.

    1. THE CHALAINOR COAL SrnEs OF HEILUNGKFANG

    (OLIGoCENE?) (1)

    The Chalainor lignite-bearing formation (between Manchouli andHailar) has been described, many years ago, by Dr. Ahnert4, and more recent-ly studied by Teilhard5 and Hou6. From the report given by the latter one,we will take the following description. "The Coal-bearing Measure: TheChalainor coal (lignite) Series lies directly upon the volcanic series (Mesozoicandesites and rhyolites7). Between those two series there is probably an un-conformity though apparently they strike and dip almost in the same direction.The coal-bearing strata strike in NN-E direction and dip towards the South-eastat comparatively smaller angles of 14 to 19 degrees. They are distributedin a great depressed area of the Chalainor basin. Being concealed by thickyounger deposits, the out-crop can only be found along the small Argua river(Mutnaya) consisting of no more than thirty meters of black shale and clay.

    4 Ahnert, E. E., 1929. Mineral Resources of North Manchuria. Mem. Ceci.Surv. ina, Ser. A, No. 7.

    5 Licent, E. and TeiUard de Chardin, P. 1930. Geological Observations inNorthern Manchuria aoci Bargn (Hailar). Bull. Geol. Soc. Cnina, Vol. IX,pp. 37-44.

    6 Hou, T. H. 1932. Geology of the Bitumen Deposits and the lignite field ofChalainor. Heilungkiang Province. Bull. Cool. Surv. of China, No. 19. P. 54.

    7 (The words in bracket were added by the author of this publication).

  • The basal part as well as top part of this series remain unknown. Theknown strata are all argillaceous soft rocks with brown coal seams. This seriesis continuousiy distributed on the South-east 0f Chalainor station and becomesmore gentle in dip toward the SE: this may represent the undulating or wavingstructure of the strata under the great depressed plain but it has not yet beenproved by investigation.

    Fossils are difficulty preserved in such soft rocks. But sometimes plantfossil fragments are found like pieces of charcoal from which fern leaves havebeen recognizd by my colleague Mr. H. S. Wang. h is not easy to basethe age of this series on such scanty evidence. thologically, the soft argil-laceous strata with abundant pebbles of the volcanic rocks (both andesite andrhyolite) show, anyhow, that the Chalainor coal series is younger than thevolcanic series. 1f the volcanic series is proved to be Cretaceous, tMs seriesis probably early Tertiary in age."

    hi addition to the Chalainor beds, another formation (the Nanling andTungshan series) might be regarded as representing the Lower Tertiary in

    C. C. Young: Review of Early Tertiary Foirnauioru 471

    The cross section through the No. 9 shaft of the coal mine is exactly shownas follows (iii ascending order): -

    Thickness in metersRiver and lake deposits (Alluvium & white sand) 5.75

    j. Dark gray and black argillaceous sandstone and shales ...... 63.9j. Coal seam (la) ................I ............ 9.93h. Black argillaceous and sandy strata with coal seam ...... 11 .33g. Coal seam (lb) ........................ 9.8f. Sandy and argillaceous layer .................. 10.65

    (Fault Height more than 48.01)e. (Undefined) 100.11d Sandy and argillaceous strata .................. 68.16c Coal seam (2) now worked .................. 6.65b. Black clay and shale ......................... 50.63a. Coal seam (3) ........................... 1 .49

    Total thickness of coal-bearing strata ............ 332.85

  • 472 Bulletin of the Geological Society of China

    Hei!ungkiang. Those beds, consisting in Conglomerates and tuffs respective-ly, occur at the Hokang Coal field8.

    Il. THE COAL-BEARING FORMATION OF WUSHUN (OuGocENE?) (2)

    The famous Wushun coal mine lies 60 Ii E. of Mukden. Accord-ing to Andersson (1923) the coal-bearing formation, fills an East West"graben", in a gneissic and Palozoic floor. The beds, diping N. 30in average, may be divided into two parts: a lower, and an upper (or main)coal-bearing series, followed by a thick series of barren slates. The lowevcoal series consists of tufaceous sandstone, conglomerate and shales, in whichtwo coal seams are interbedded. The main coal series contains a thick coalseam, amongst shales, but no sandstone. The upper shales were formerlyreaching a thickness of about 2500 feet (as measured by residual hills). Basaltforms the southern part of the coal field, occurring as shet, specially betweenthe lower and the main, and in the lower coal-bearing series.

    On the base of palobotanical determination, the Wushun Formationhas been referred by Palibin9 and Florin'0 to the Early Tertiary (Oligocene?).

    According to Florin, the composition of the flora is as follows'1:

    Lygodium kaulfussii HeerOsmunda lignitum (Giebel) Stur.Sequoia langsdorfii (Brongn.) HeerGlyptosfrobus europus (Brongn.) Ung.Populus glanduli/er HeerA mus kclersteinii Ung.

    8 Tan, H. C. 1934. Geology of Hokang Coal field, Heilungkiang. Bull. Geot.Surv. No. 6, pp. 4-5.

    9 Palibin, J. W, Fossile Pflanzen aus den Kohienlagern von Fushun in der sudli-chen Mandschurei. Verh. Kais. Russ. Miner. Ges. Ser. 2, Bd. 44. St.Petersburg.

    10 Florin, R., Zur alttertiren Flora der sdlichen Mandschurei. Pal. sin., Ser.A, Vol. I, Fasc. I, 1922.

    Il Abstracted from An1ersson (1923). p. 98.

  • C. C. Young:Review ej Early Tcrtiary Formations 473Dryophyllum deuialquei Sap et Mar.Fagus? jeroni Ung.Zelkova ungen KovatsCarpinus grandis iJng.Panax? ion gissimum Ung.Viburnum nordenskioldi Heer

    Amber, containing Insects, also occurs in the formations, but it has not yet beenstudied..

    North of Mukden (at Changtu) the railway cuts a thick, gently dippingseries of conglomerates and soft sandstones which are also possibly of an earlyTertiary age. But the oniy fossil we collected in 1929 is an undeterminablepiece of bone. The formation, cut by basaltic necks, contains pebbles of allthe Mosozoic rocks of the area, and cannot be earlier therefore than of theUpper Cretaceous.

    Ill. THE SUB-BASALTIC GRAVELS OF THE WEICHANG'2 (EOCENE?) (3)

    Along the valley running SE of Chuitsushan, at the border of thWeichang Plateau, a basaltic flow (20 m. thick) 'lies, on about 80 metenabove the actual bottom of the valley, over a thick, dark red or green, con..glomeratic formation. The beds are strongly tilted, and do not contain basal..tic (but only rhyolitic) pebbles.

    It is difficult to decide whether those conglomerates are Eocene, orshould not rather to be referred to th Upper Cretaceous (as it is the casefor the rhyolitic conglomerates of Kalgan and Jehol).

    IV. THE SUB-BASALTIC PLANT-BEDS OF KALGAN (OLIGOCENE) (4)North of Kalgan, the extensive basaltic flows capping the Mongolian

    Plateau are commonly held on the base of physiographic character3. aOligocena. Interbedded with those rocks occur several layers of lignite-bearing

    12 Teilhard de Chardin, P. Th0 geology of Weichang area. Bull. Geol. SurvChina. No. 19, p. 18, 1932.

    13 Barbour, G. B. Geology of Kalgan area. ibid. No. 6, 1929.

  • 474 Bulletin of the Geologicd Society of China

    clays and sand in which Dr. Andersson'4 collected a few plants determinedby Florin5 as: Pinus sp., Comptonia onderssoni F., Carpinus sp. and Phyllitessp. (see fig. 1).

    This apparently is the Wushun flora.4 + +

    4' p + 44 + +44.4.4+ + ++4+4

    -

    + + + .p++4.+.r2 4.4+4 + + #4. + 4 + fD DcD

    -

    _

    Fig. 1. deal section at Tachingkou, Hanjopa. L Gravel, 2. Lower basalt. 3.Plants-bearing shale, 4. Upper basalt. (After Andersson 1923, p. 103.)

    +44+

    4.. +4+4 4 +++ +

    +4.+, + ++ 44+ + 44 ++ 44 ++ +

    ++ + 4- 4 + + +444+ + +4- +44 4.4+44 + ++ + 4+++1.+

    . + +44+ + + 4 + + + 4 444 4. +4. #;++4+ f ++4+4+ ++ ++4 ++ + + + + 4 +

    +4.. + 4+44k C

    .4$.4an $'ap Xc,. i7:'

    Fig. 2. Section at Slian Yang Kou village.Archan rocks.and d. Sand and clay.Basalt.

    (After Wang from Andersson 104.)14 Andersson, J.G. Essays on the Cenozoic of Northern China. Mern. Ceol. Surv,

    China. Ser. A, No. 3, p. 99. 1923.15 Florin, R. Einige chinesiscJe Tertirpflanzen. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift. 1920.

    Bd. 14, H. 2-3. pp. 239-243.

  • C. C. Young:Review of Early Tertiary Forr,iation, 475A snnilar flota occurs, under the same conditions at Fanchibsien (N.

    Shansi)'6. (7) (see fig. 2)The Hatt in Sumu and Peilingmiao basalts are most probably post

    Pontian.

    V. T}-IE CHANGSINTIEN GRAVELS (EOCENE OR OLIGOCENE) (8)

    Neat Changsintien (SW. of Peking) a thick series of tilted conglomeratesand red days was referred tentatively in 1923 by Dr. Andersson17 to the Eocene.This age has been safely established in 1929 by the discovery (made by W. C.Pei) o1 a few bones, including an upper premolar of Amblypod (see below).

    lior/zoiwal &ah' j 4 rno,4lete,

    Fig. 3. Lower Tertiaiy Beds of Changsintien, near Peking.g. Gr.ivel, c. Red clay, s. Sandy lense. L. Loess (After Hsieh 1933, p. 524)

    Lately, a more complete study of the whole area has been undertaken b7Prof. Hsieh, who has traced the formation all along the NE wing of a longanticline running between Changsingtien and Tahuichang10. According tothis recent paper: "The gravel is intercalated by several layers of purple clayand thin lenses of yellow sand. . . . A distinct dip amounting to 15 ormore is seen at both section.

    The gravel is usually roughly stratified and may be quite indurated atcertain places. The pebbles are composed essentially of igneous rocks amongwhich agglomerate, rhyolite, trachyte, andesite are all represented. Lime-stone and quartzite of Sinian age are also found though they are much less in

    16 Andersson, J.G. ibid. p. 103.17 Aidersson, J.G. ibid.18 HsieJ, C.Y. 1933. Note on the Geology of Changsinfien-Tuoli Area, S.W.

    of Peiping. Bull. GeoL Soc. China. Vol. Xli, pp. 513-532.

  • 416 Bulletin of the Geological Society of China

    quantity. The size of pebbles varies within wide limit. The lazgea boulderobserved has a diameter of about half a meter." (see fig. 3)

    NOTE ON 11-lE FOSSILS FOUND IN THE CHANGSINTIEN FORMATION

    The discovery of a few mammalian remains in the Changsintien formationhas been already announced by Mr. Pci in the meeting of the Geological Societyof China, in 1930". But their description was never published. The presentpaper affords an opportunity for giving on those pieces some detaik greatlyneeded by the Stratgraphy.

    19 Bull. Geol. Soc. ina, Vol. IX, 1930, p. 5.For accidental reasons, the localityhorn which the fossils have been collected has not yet been excavated.

    Fie. 4. Amblypoda indet. Left 3 or P4 of ?Eudinoceras sp. indet. anteriot, crownand outer views. 2/1 nat. size,

    The collection made by Mr. Pci COnSIStS only of the following remains:a large pelvis, an incisor belonging to a Rodent of the size of a Crcetodon,and an upper premolar referable to an Amblypocla. This latter specimen 3nlyis really interesting and has to be described with some detail.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIMEN (see text-fig. 4)

    The tooth is rather worn by use. But still the pattern of the orowncan be recognised distinctly.

  • C. C. Young:Review of Early Tertiary FornjtiopjCrown formed by a single main external crescentia cusp (paracono)

    and a sub-crescentic well developed internal accessory cusp (protocone). Para-style represented by a small cusp terminating the anterior wing of the paracone.Metastyle not individualized. Crescentic outer wall of the tooth interruptedby a distinct median fold statting from the apex of the protocone. Anteriorcmgulum short and weak. Posterior cingulum strong, and forming a slightlyexpanded lobe.

    Maximum length of the crown. 14.5 mm. Maximum breadth, 23 mm.

    COMPARISONS

    Fhe above described tooth cannot be regarded as a molar of Creodont(because the main external cusp is simple), nor as a premolar of Artiodactyle(because of the crescentic form of the same external cusp).

    We shall therefore refer it to an Amblypoda, but still with hesitation.First the tooth is relatively small. Secondly, the paracone is distinctly less deeplycrescentic than in Eudinoceras or Coryphodon, nor is there in any Amblypodawe know a median ridge in the middle of the concave extcrnal side of theparacone, on the upper premolars. Some likeness however can be notedbetween the tooth of Changsintie.n and the premolars (P2 and P) of Eudinoceraskholobolchiensis, horn Mongolia.

    Several Amblypoda have been discovered by the American Expeditionin the Upper Eocene and the Oligocene of Mongolia.

    The pelvis found by Mr. Pci in association with the tooth abovedescribed is rather large (size approximately as in a modern Camel). And judg-ing from its posterior part, which is considerably expanded, it seeIu to beref erable to au Ungulata. lt might therefcre belong to the same animal as thepremolar.

    20 We use here, for the cusps, the saine names as Osborn and Granger iii theirdescription of the Amblvpoda of Mongolia (s. below).

    1 Osbo'n, H.F. and Granger, W. Coryphodonts of Mongolia. . . Amer. MusNovit. No. 459 1931. p. 6, fig, 3.

  • 478 Bulletin of the Geological Society of China

    VI. Tiu POST-BASALTI...

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