• tsunami deposit;
  • Mesoproterozoic;
  • Dahongyu Formation;
  • depositional process;
  • North China Craton

A layer of Mesoproterozoic tsunami deposits from the North China Craton was recently discovered and investigated in the Xingcheng area, Liaoning Province, China. They occur at the bottom of the Dahongyu Formation of the Changcheng Group (1.8–1.6 Ga). The tsunami deposits are identified based on the analysis of the sedimentary facies. They are markedly different from the normal deposits of shore-shallow sea siliciclastics, and are characterized by rip-up clasts, poorly sorted gravels, fining-upward sequences, redeposited underlying materials, complex sources of underlying strata and erosional bases at the bottom of beds. They are compelling features of tsunamiites when they occur together.

During the Mesoproterozoic, the Xingcheng area was in an active tectonic belt, the Yanshan Taphrogenic Trough. The origin of the tsunami was probably triggered by the earthquake, which resulted from the the activities of the Luanxian–Jianchang Fault in early Mesoproterozoic times. The deposition of tsunamiites occurred in a coastal environment and involved several stages, from the origin, propagation, inundation, and deposition to the backwash flow. The geodynamic backgrounds of the tsunami event in the North China Craton are consistent with the breakup event of the Columbia supercontinent in the Mesoproterozoic. Some events, such as tsunamis and volcanism, are all controlled by extensional rift systems and should be recognized as effects of the breakup of the Columbia supercontinent in the North China Craton. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.