Ediacaran cap dolomite of Shennongjia, northern Yangtze Craton, South China. / Kuang, Hongwei; Liu, Yongqing; Peng, Nan; Vandyk, Thomas M.; Le Heron, Daniel Paul; Zhu, Zhicai; Bai, Huaqing; Wang, Yuchong; Wang, Zhixian; Zhong, Quan; Chen, Jinxin; Yu, Huiliang; Chen, Xiaoshuai; Song, Changgui; Qi, Kening.

In: Precambrian Research, Vol. 368, 106483, 01.2022.

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  • Hongwei Kuang
  • Yongqing Liu
  • Nan Peng
  • Thomas M. Vandyk
  • Daniel Paul Le Heron
  • Zhicai Zhu
  • Huaqing Bai
  • Yuchong Wang
  • Zhixian Wang
  • Quan Zhong
  • Jinxin Chen
  • Huiliang Yu
  • Xiaoshuai Chen
  • Changgui Song
  • Kening Qi


Ediacaran cap dolomites are strong evidence for the glaciation during the Neoproterozoic. Stratigraphic-sedimentological studies combined with δ13C and δ18O isotope analyses are used for defining the processes of post-glacier environmental changes and sea-level rise caused by glacier melting and the reconstruction of the depositional environments for the Doushantuo cap dolomites in Shennongjia, northern Yangtze Craton (YC). Like many other cap dolomites in the YC and worldwide, those in Shennongjia exhibit strongly negative δ13Ccarb excursions, ranging from −7.3 to −2.5 ‰ (averagely from −5.4 to −4.1 ‰). A laminated clast-free calcareous siltstone commonly occurs between the cap dolomite and the underlying diamictites, indicating a low-energy, shallow-water depositional environment, wherein alkaline conditions developed before the deposition of the cap dolomite. The most prominent features of the cap dolomites in Shennongjia are the very thin thickness and monotonous sedimentary structures. The maximum thickness of the cap dolomites from the six sections in Shennongjia is 1.8 m, and the thinnest cap dolomite is 0.4 m with simple laminations. Sedimentary structures such as low-angle cross-bedding, giant wave ripples, sheet-crack cement, and tepee breccias are rare in Shennongjia except in the area near the Three Gorges. These evidences, therefore, point to the deposition of the Shennongjia cap dolomite in restricted shallow-water tidal environments. The space–time distribution of sedimentary facies in Shennongjia and the southeastern areas to Shennongjia indicate that the Ediacaran cap dolomite was formed on a ramp. Accordingly, we propose a sedimentary facies model for the formation of the cap dolomite, covering the inner and middle ramp facies. This model explains the thickness variations and distributions of the cap dolomites at both the local and regional scale, including their sedimentary structures, compositions, and barite occurrences. The model successfully illustrates why the cap dolomites in the Shennongjia area share a unique set of sedimentary features. Finally, the cap dolomite is interpreted as a diachronous deposit (bottom to top), tracking glacioeustatic flooding and recording ocean-wide changes over the time following deglaciation, and a correlation and cause of negative δ13Ccarb excursions in cap dolomites worldwide, particularly in those in the Yangtze Carton, are further discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106483
JournalPrecambrian Research
Early online date6 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
This open access research output is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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