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Early Cretaceous stratigraphy and SHRIMP U-Pb age constrain the Valanginian–Hauterivian boundary in southern Tibet

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Wan, X., Scott, R., Chen, W., Gao, L. & Zhang, Y. 2011: Early Cretaceous stratigraphy and SHRIMP U-Pb age constrain the Valanginian–Hauterivian boundary in southern Tibet. Lethaia, Vol. 44, pp. 231–244.

The Late Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous marine strata are extensively distributed in southern Tibet. In Gyangze, the strata are divided into the Weimei and Jiabula formations. In Nagarze, they are divided into the Weimei and Sangxiu formations. Previous work has reported diverse ammonite species of Haplophylloceras and Himalayites in the Weimei Formation, and a few species of Spiticeras in the lower Jiabula and Sangxiu formations. The present study has found the bivalve Inoceramus and nannofossil assemblages in the lower Jiabula and Sangxiu formations. The nannofossil assemblage of Nannoconus steimannii steinmannii, N. steinmannii minor and Watznaueria barnesae indicates Berriasian age, and the Calcicalathina oblongata–Speetonia colligata assemblage is Valanginian in age. Numerical ages for the Jiabula and Jiabula-goukou sections in Gyangze have been interpolated by comparing the fossil ranges with ages calibrated in other sections. The correlation experiment plots fossil ranges in the two sections to the CRET1 Database. The estimated rate of sediment accumulation of the lower Sangxiu Formation is 22.6 m/myr. The Jurassic–Cretaceous (J/K) boundary is at the bottom of the Jiabula Formation in Gyangze, and the base of the Sangxiu Formation in Nagarze. The boundary is marked by the appearance of the ammonite Spiticeras and the nannofossil assemblage of Nannoconus st. steinmannii–N. st. minor–Watznaueria barnesae. The radiometric age in Tibet is the first to be integrated with upper Valanginian fossils. The volcanic rocks of the upper Sangxiu Formation are dated at 136 ± 3.0 Ma deduced from zircon SHRIMP age of rhyolite. By consideration of the rate of sediment accumulation of the underlying sedimentary deposits, the J/K boundary in the Gyangze–Nagarze area is approximately 145 Ma as suggested by the newly issued International Stratigraphic Chart, and the Valanginian/Hauterivian boundary lies between 134 Ma and 136 Ma. □ Biostratigraphy, graphic plot, Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, nannofossil, SHRIMP U-Pb age, Southern Tibet, Valanginian/Hauterivian boundary.

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