Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 98, Issue 1, pp 29–47 | Cite as

Fires and storms—a Triassic–Jurassic transition section in the Sichuan Basin, China

  • Mike PoleEmail author
  • Yongdong WangEmail author
  • Chong Dong
  • Xiaoping Xie
  • Ning Tian
  • Liqin Li
  • Ning Zhou
  • Ning Lu
  • Aowei Xie
  • Xiaoqing Zhang
Original Paper


The Upper Triassic Xujiahe and Lower Jurassic Zhenzhuchong formations of the Sichuan Basin, China, are important sources of plant fossils and windows into the intervening extinction event. However, there is an on-going debate as to whether the environment represented by the Xujiahe and Zhenzhuchong formations was continental or included an important marine component. We studied the Xujiahe–Zhenzhuchong section near Qili Town of Xuanhan County, in the east of the basin and report hummocky and swaley cross-stratification in the Xujiahe Formation. This, along with minor Skolithos and heterolithic bedding, provides strong evidence for shallow marine conditions and favours an interpretation as the deposits of a wave-dominated coast. It also suggests common and extreme storm activity, possibly hurricanes, at what was a mid-latitude (c. 34–40°N) location in the Late Triassic. Charcoal is found in most samples throughout the section. The predominant fossil wood morphology is consistent with Xenoxylon. Together, the sedimentological evidence of storms and fire suggests a highly disturbed environment.


Triassic Jurassic Charcoal Swaley bedding Palaeoclimate 



Pole acknowledges support from a CAS President’s International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI) for Visiting Scientists (grant number 2015VEA038) for allowing him to spend time at the Nanjing Institute for Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Wang acknowledges financial support from the State Key Program of Basic Research of Ministry of Science and Technology, China (2012CB822003), the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC 41272010, 41572014) and the Team Program of Scientific Innovation and Interdisciplinary Cooperation of CAS. This is a contribution to the UNESCO / IGCP project 632, Continental Crises of the Jurassic: Major Extinction events and Environmental Changes within Lacustrine Ecosystems. The comments of two anonymous reviewers and D. Uhl greatly improved the manuscript and were much appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Pole
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yongdong Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chong Dong
    • 2
  • Xiaoping Xie
    • 3
  • Ning Tian
    • 4
  • Liqin Li
    • 1
  • Ning Zhou
    • 1
    • 5
  • Ning Lu
    • 1
    • 6
  • Aowei Xie
    • 1
    • 5
  • Xiaoqing Zhang
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.School of Geography and TourismQufu Normal UniversityRizhaoChina
  4. 4.College of Paleontology|Shenyang Normal UniversityShenyangChina
  5. 5.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  6. 6.University of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina

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