Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 256–286 | Cite as

Cretaceous integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China

  • Dangpeng Xi
  • Xiaoqiao Wan
  • Guobiao Li
  • Gang Li


Cretaceous strata are widely distributed across China and record a variety of depositional settings. The sedimentary facies consist primarily of terrestrial, marine and interbedded marine-terrestrial deposits, of which marine and interbedded facies are relatively limited. Based a thorough review of the subdivisions and correlations of Cretaceous strata in China, we provide an up-to-date integrated chronostratigraphy and geochronologic framework of the Cretaceous system and its deposits in China. Cretaceous marine and interbedded marine-terrestrial sediments occur in southern Tibet, Karakorum, the western Tarim Basin, eastern Heilongjiang and Taiwan. Among these, the Himalayan area has the most complete marine deposits, the foraminiferal and ammonite biozonation of which can be correlated directly to the international standard biozones. Terrestrial deposits in central and western China consist predominantly of red, lacustrine-fluvial, clastic deposits, whereas eastern China, a volcanically active zone, contains clastic rocks in association with intermediate to acidic igneous rocks and features the most complete stratigraphic successions in northern Hebei, western Liaoning and the Songliao Basin. Here, we synthesise multiple stratigraphic concepts and charts from southern Tibet, northern Hebei to western Liaoning and the Songliao Basin to produce a comprehensive chronostratigraphic chart. Marine and terrestrial deposits are integrated, and this aids in the establishment of a comprehensive Cretaceous chronostratigraphy and temporal framework of China. Further research into the Cretaceous of China will likely focus on terrestrial deposits and mutual authentication techniques (e.g., biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy and cyclostratigraphy). This study provides a more reliable temporal framework both for studying Cretaceous geological events and exploring mineral resources in China.


Cretaceous Stage/age Biostratigraphy Chronostratigraphy Magnetostratigraphy Cyclostratigraphy Stratigraphic correlation China 


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The authors would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Zhou Zhonghe, Wang Yongdong and Xu Keming, who reviewed the paper and made valuable suggestions. During the writing of this paper, He Huaiyu, Wu Huaichun, Benjiamin Sames, Shen Yang and Jiang Tian made useful recommendations, and Qin Zuohuan, Muhammad Kamran, Yu Zhiqiang, Shi Zhongye, Cui Can, Wang Guannan, Xiong Xin, Sun Yanqi, Gu Anqi, Ye Yunqi, Wang Xuejiao and Wu Baoxu reviewed selected chapters and figures; we are most appreciative of their help. We also thank Shen Shuzhong and Rong Jiayu for their invitation to develop this paper and for their guidance. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41790452, 41688103, 41172037 and 41272030). This paper is a contribution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-International Union for Geological Sciences International Geoscience Programme (UNESCO-IUGS IGCP) “Climate-environmental deteriorations during greenhouse phases: Causes and consequences of short-term Cretaceous sea-level changes”.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dangpeng Xi
    • 1
  • Xiaoqiao Wan
    • 1
  • Guobiao Li
    • 1
  • Gang Li
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental GeologyChina University of GeosciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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