The sedimentary environment of Early Cretaceous rift basin in eastern China and its response to the Faraoni event

  • Xiangyu Zhang
  • Shoujun LiEmail author
  • Xiuli Zhao
  • Geng Geng
  • Mingming Yan


To better understand the sedimentary environment of the rift basin under the influence of a warm global climate, Lingshan Island in eastern Shandong Province (China) was studied. Inorganic geochemical indexes (B, equivalent B, B/Ga, Ga, V, Couch’s palaeosalinity, Adams’s palaeosalinity, Sr/Ba, Sr/Cu, Rb/Sr, Al2O3/MgO, and CaO/MgO·Al2O3) were analyzed and a quantitative calculation of palaeosalinity was carried out based on the Adams and Couch methods. The sedimentary environment of the rift basin at Lingshan Island was determined according to the morphology and distribution of its palaeobiota as well as inorganic geochemical indexes. We demonstrate that eastern China had high-temperature drought-like conditions during the Early Cretaceous, which may have been influenced by the Faraoni event. The dry-hot climate transformed the rift basin at Lingshan Island into saline lacustrine basin. Therefore, the salinization of water was not influenced by seawater but was the response of terrestrial strata to the warm, dry climate. This study helps to understand the sedimentary background of Cretaceous rift basins in eastern China and the influence of a warm climate on China’s terrestrial strata.

Key words

eastern China Early Cretaceous Lingshan Island Faraoni event salinization 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



We would like to thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their review and suggestions that improved this manuscript extensively. This work is supported by the Fund from the Key Laboratory of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology, Ministry of Natural Resources (Grant No. KLSP 190102) and the Graduate Scientific and Technological Innovation Project Financially Supported by Shandong University of Science and Technology (Grant No. SDKDYC 190104) and the State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS, No. 123104).


  1. Adams, T.D., Haynes, J.R., and Walker, C.T., 1965, Boron in Holocene illites of the Dovey Estuary, wales, and its relationship to paleosalinity in cyclothems. Sedimentology, 4, 189–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albuquerque, L., Taborda, M., La, C.V., Yakimov, M., and Da, C.M., 2012, Natrinema salaciae sp. nov. a halophilic archaeon isolated from the deep, hypersaline anoxic Lake Medee in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Systematic and Applied Microbiology, 35, 368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alvin, K.L., 1982, Cheirolepidiaceae: biology, structure and palaeoecology. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 37, 71–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baudin, F., Bulot, L.G., Cecca, F., Coccioni, R., Gardin, S., and Renard, M., 1999, An equivalent of the “Faraoni Level” in the South-East of France, possible evidence for a late Hauterivian anoxic event in the Mediterranean Tethys. Bulletin De La Societe Geologique De France, 170, 487–498.Google Scholar
  5. Baudin, F., Cecca, F., Galeotti, S., and Coccioni, R., 2002, Palaeoenvironmental controls of the distribution of organic matter within a Corgrich marker bed (Faraoni level, uppermost Hauterivian, central Italy). Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae, 95, 1–13.Google Scholar
  6. Baudin, F., 2005, A Late Hauterivian short-lived anoxic event in the Mediterranean Tethys: the ‘Faraoni Event’. Comptes rendus-Géoscience, 337, 1532–1540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bayly, I.A.E. and Williams, W.D., 1975, Inland waters and their ecology. Journal of Ecology, 63, 1003.Google Scholar
  8. Berner, R.A. and Geocarb, I.I., 1994, A revised model of atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic time. American Journal of Science, 294, 56–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen, L., Yi, H.S., Loung-Yie, T.L., Xu, G.W., Da, X.J., and Tien-Shun, L.A., 2013, Jurassic black shales facies from Qiangtang Basin (Northern Tibet): rare earth and trace elements for paleoceanographic implications. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 87, 540–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, N.G., Wang, Y.Q., Xu, F., Yang, T.Y., and Xia, Z.Y., 2015, Palaeosalinity characteristics and its sedimentary response to the Ceno-zoic salt-water lacustrine deposition in Qaidam Basin. Journal of Palaeogeography, 17, 371–380. (in Chinese with English abstract) Scholar
  11. Chen, P.J., 1997, Coastal mountains of SE China, desertization and saliniferous lakes of Central China during the Upper Cretaceous. Journal of Stratigraphy, 21, 44–54. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  12. Chen, P.J., 2012, Cretaceous conchostracan biostratigraphy of China. Journal of Stratigraphy, 36, 300–313. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  13. Couch, E.L., 1971, Calculation of paleosalinities from boron and clay mineral data. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 55, 1829–1837.Google Scholar
  14. Dai, J. and Sun, B.N., 2018, Early Cretaceous atmospheric CO2 estimates based on stomatal index of Pseudofrenelopsis papillosa (Cheirolepidiaceae) from southeast China. Cretaceous Research, 85, 232–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Degens, E.T., Williams, E.U., and Keith, M.I., 1957, Environmental studies of Carboniferous sediments: Part I. geochemical criteria for different marine from freshwater shales. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 41, 2427–2455.Google Scholar
  16. Deng, S.H., Yang, X.J., and Zhou, Z.Y., 2004, An Early Cretaceous Ginkgo ovule-bearing organ fossil from Liaoning, northeast China and its evolutionary implications. Chinese Science Bulletin, 49, 1774–1776. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  17. Deveci, H., Jordan, M.A., Powell, N., and Alp, I., 2008, Effect of salinity and acidity on bioleaching activity of mesophilic and extremely thermophilic bacteria. Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China, 18, 714–721. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feng, Q., Zhang, Y., Xu, Z.S., Tian, F.Z., Yang, B., and Zhang, Y., 2018, Geochemical characteristics and paleoenvironmental analysis of dark fine grained rocks of Wawukuang and Shuinan formations in Jiaolai Basin. Journal of Shandong University of Science and Technology (Natural Science), 37, 20–34. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  19. Föllmi, K.B., Weissert, H., Bisping, M., and Funk, H., 1994, Phosphogenesis, carbon-isotope stratigraphy, and carbonate-platform evolution along the Lower Cretaceous northern Tethyan margin. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 106, 729–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Föllmi, K.B., Bôle, M., Jammet, N., Froidevaux, P., Godet, A., Bodin, S., Adatte, T., Matera, V., Fleitmann, D., and Spangenberg, J.E., 2012, Bridging the Faraoni and Selli oceanic anoxic events: late Hauterivian to early Aptian dysaerobic to anaerobic phases in the Tethys. Climate of the Past, 8, 171–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fu, J.H., Li, S.X., Xu, L.M., and Niu, X.B., 2018, Paleo-sedimentary environmental restoration and its significance of Chang 7 Member of Triassic Yanchang Formation in Ordos Basin, NW China. Petroleum Exploration and Development, 45, 998–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Huang, C.M., Retallack, G.J., and Wang, C.S., 2012, Early Cretaceous atmospheric pCO2 levels recorded from pedogenic carbonates in China. Cretaceous Research, 33, 42–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jenkyns, H.C., 2003, Evidence for rapid climate change in the Mesozoic–Palaeogene greenhouse world. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 361, 1885–1916. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones, B. and Manning, D.A.C., 1994, Comparison of geochemical indices used for the interpretation of depositional environments in ancient mudstones. Chemical Geology, 111, 111–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Keller, G., 2008, Cretaceous climate, volcanism, impacts, and biotic effects. Cretaceous Research, 29, 754–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li, S.J., Zhang, X.Y., Zhao, X.L., Sun, Z.X., Zhang, D.Y., Zhang, L., Xu, L., Wei, N., and Liu, B.M., 2017, Discovery of fish and conchostracan fossils in Lower Cretaceous in Lingshan Island, Qingdao, Shandong. Geological Review, 63, 1–6. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  27. Li, J.J., 2009, Study on the Oil Shale geochemistry of Permian Lucaogou Formation in the northern Bogda Montain, Ph.D. Thesis, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, 106 p.Google Scholar
  28. Lini, A., Weissert, H., and Erba, E., 1992, The Valanginian carbon isotope event; a first episode of greenhouse climate conditions during the Cretaceous. Terra Nova, 4, 374–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lü, H.B., Wang, J., and Zhang, H.C., 2011, Discovery of the Late Mesozoic Slump Beds in Lingshan Island, Shandong, and a Pilot Research on the Regional Tectonics. Acta Geologica Sinica, 85, 938–946. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  30. Meng, Y.K., Li, R.H., Xu, Y., and Hou, F.H., 2018a, U-Pb-Hf isotopes and tectonic significance of early cretaceous detrital zircons on Lingshan Island, Qingdao of Shandong Province. Earth Science, 43, 3302–3323.Google Scholar
  31. Meng, Y.K., Santosh M., Li, R.H., Yang, X., and Hou, F.H., 2018b, Petrogenesis and tectonic implications of Early Cretaceous volcanic rocks from Lingshan Island in the Sulu Orogenic Belt. Lithos, 312–313, 244–257.Google Scholar
  32. Peng, D.H., 2004, Geochemical characteristics and mechanism of hydrocarbon-generating for source rocks from the Tertiary salty lacustrine facies in the West Region of the Qaidam Basin. Ph.D. Thesis, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 77 p. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  33. Regional Geological Survey Team of Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of Shandong Province, 1990, The Stratigraphy and Palaeontology of Laiyang Basin, Shandong province. Geological Publishing House, Beijing, 244 p. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  34. Rong, J.Y., Wei, X., Zhan, R.B., and Wang, Y., 2018, A deep water shelly fauna from the uppermost Ordovician in northwestern Hunan, South China and its paleoecological implications. Science China (Earth Sciences), 61, 730–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Song, B.W., Zhang, K.X., Ji, J.L., Han, F., Wang, C.W., Wang, J.X., and Ai, K.K., 2017, Occurrence of Middle Miocene fossil Cyprinid fish in the Northern Qaidam Basin and its paleoenvironmental implications. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 91, 1530–1541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Su, D.Z., 1992, On teleostean fossils from Nieerku Formation of eastern Liaoning and the generic status of Lycoptera longicephalus. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 30, 93–94. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  37. Sun, Z.C., Yang, P., and Zhang, Z.H., 1997, Sedimentary environments and hydrocarbon generation of Cenozoic Salified Lakes in China. Petroleum Industry Press, Beijing, 363 p.Google Scholar
  38. Tarduno, J.A., Brinkman, D.B., Renne, P.R., Cottrell, R.D., Scher, H., and Castillo, P., 1998, Evidence for extreme climatic warmth from late cretaceous arctic vertebrates. Science, 282, 2241–2244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tazi, L., Breakwell, D.P., Harker, A.R., and Crandall, K.A., 2014, Life in extreme environments: microbial diversity in Great Salt Lake, Utah. Extremophiles, 18, 525–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Timms, B.V., 1993, Saline lakes of the Paroo, inland New South Wales, Australia. Hydeobiologia, 267, 269–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Timms, B.V., 1998, Further studies on the saline lakes of the eastern Paroo, inland New South Wales, Australia. Hydeobiologia, 381, 31–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tremolada, F., Erba, E., bernardi, B.D., and Cecca, F., 2009, Calcareous nannofossil fluctuations during the late Hauterivian in the Cismon core (Venetian Alps, northeastern Italy) and in selected sections of the Umbria-Marche Basin (central Italy): paleoceanographic implications of the faraoni Level. Cretaceous Research, 30, 505–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tribovillard, N., Algeo, T.J., Lyons, T., and Riboulleau, A., 2006, Trace metals as baleredox and paleproductivity proxies: an update. Chemical Geology, 232, 12–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Walker, C.T. and Price, N.B., 1963, Departure curves for computing paleosalinity from boron in illites and shales. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 47, 833–841.Google Scholar
  45. Walker, C.T., 1968, Evaluation of boron as a paleosalinity indicator and its application to offshore prospects. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 52, 751–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wang, J., Chang, S.C., Lin, P.J., Zhu, X.Q., Fu, Y.T., and Zhang, H.C., 2016, Evidence of Early Cretaceous transpressioin in the Sulu oro-genic belt, eastern China. Tectonophysics, 687, 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wang, J., Chang, S.C., Lu, H.B., and Zhang, H.C., 2014, Detrital zircon U-Pb age constraints on Cretaceous sedimentary rocks of Lingshan Island and implications for tectonic evolution of Eastern Shandong, North China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 96, 27–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wang, J., Chang, S.C., Wang, K.L., Lu, H.B., and Zhang, H.C., 2015, Geochronology and geochemistry of Early Cretaceous igneous units from the central Sulu orogenic belt: evidence for crustal delamination during a shift in the regional tectonic regime. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 112, 49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Waston, J. and Alvin, K.L., 1996, An English Wealden floral list with comments on possible environment indicators. Cretaceous Research, 17, 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weissert, H., Lini, A., Follmi, K.B., Kuhn, O., 1998, Correlation of Early Cretaceous carbon isotope stratigraphy and platform drowning events: a possible link? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 137, 189–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Xiang, F., Zhang, D.Y., Chen, K., and Feng, Q., 2015, Early Cretaceous paleoclimate characteristics of China: clues from continental climate-indicative sediments. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 89, 1307–1318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Xin, H., Jiang, S.Y., Yang, J.H., Wu, H.P., and Pi, D.H., 2016, Rare earth element geochemistry of phosphatic rocks in Neoproterozoic Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in Hushan Section from the Yangtze Gorges Area, South China. Journal of Earth Science, 27, 202–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Xu, C.K., Liu, C.Y., Guo, P., Li, M.W., Huang, L., Zhao, Y., Pan, Y.H., and Zhang, Y.Y., 2018, Geochemical characteristics and their geological significance of intrasalt mudstones from the Paleogene Qianjiang Formation in the Qianjiang Graben, Jianghan Basin, China. Acta Sedimentologica Sinica, 36, 617–629. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  54. Yan, W., Fan T.L., Wang H.Y., Sun Y.Z., Yang F., Wei Y., and Hu X.X., 2014, On the microfossil assemblages, paleoclimate indicator and oil-controlling significance from the Lower Creatceous strata in the Lingshu Depression, Songliao Basin, NE China. Acta Micropalae-ontologica Sinica, 31, 175–189. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  55. Yang, R.C., Fan, A.P., Han, Z.Z., and Van Loon, A.J., 2016, An upward shallowing succession of gravity flow deposits in the Early Cretaceous Lingshandao Formation, Western Yellow Sea. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 90, 1553–1554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yang, R.C., Fan, A.P., Han, Z.Z., and Van Loon, A.J., 2017, A marine or continental nature of the deltas in the Early Cretaceous Lingshandao Formation–evidences from trace elements. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 91, 367–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yang, R.C., Fan, A.P., Van Loon, A.J., Han, Z.Z., and Zavala, C., 2018, The influence of hyperpycnal flows on the salinity of deep-marine environments, and implications for the interpretation of marine facies. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 98, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yang, T., Cao, Y.C., and Wang Y.Z., 2017b, Reply to the comment by Tan Mingxuan et al. (2017), on “A new discovery of the Early Cretaceous supercritical hyperpycnal flow deposits on the Lingshan Island, East China”. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 91, 2346–2348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yang, T., Cao, Y.C., and Wang, Y.Z., 2017a, A new discovery of the Early Cretaceous supercritical hyperpycnal flow deposits on Lingshan Island, East China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 91, 749–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ye, C.C., Yang, Y.B., Fang, X.M., and Zhang, W.L., 2016, Late Eocene clay boron-derived paleosalinity in the Qaidam Basin and its implications for regional tectonics and climate. Sedimentary Geology, 346, 49–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zhang, H.C., Lü, H.B., Li, J.G., Wang, J., Zhang, S.J., Dong, X.P., Zhang, X., Hang, Z.C., Shu, Y.C., and Ren, X.M., 2013, The Lingshandao formation: a new lithostratigraphic unit of the early cretaceous in Qingdao, Shandong, China. Journal of Stratigraphy, 37, 216–222. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  62. Zhang, Q., Gong, E.P., Gao, F., Zhang, Y.L., Guan, C.Q., and Xu, J., 2019, Study of sedimentary facies and environment of the Nieerku Formation, Suzihe Basin, Eastern Liaoning. Acta Sedimentologica Sinica, 37, 30–39. (in Chinese with English abstract) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhang, Y.Q., Dong, S.W., and Zhao, Y., 2008, Jurassic tectonics of North China: a synthetic view. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition), 82, 310–326.Google Scholar
  64. Zhang, Z.K., Zhou, Q.Y., Peng, T.M., Yu, S.S., Yue, H.W., Zhou, T.F., and Liu, J.Z., 2017, Geochemical characteristics and signatures of silt-stones from Laiyang Group at Lingshan Island, Qingdao, Shandong. Earth Science, 42, 357–377. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  65. Zheng, Y.J., Chen, S.W., Ding, Q.H., Li, Y.F., Wang, J., Zhang, J., Gao, X.Y., Su, F., and Li, X.H., 2009, Correlation between Fuxin Formation in western Liaoning and Yingcheng and Denglouku Formations in the Songliao Basin. Geology and Resources, 18, 161–165. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar
  66. Zhong, J.H., Ni, L.T., Shao, Z.F., Li, Y., Liu, X., Mao, C., Liu, S.X., Sun, N.L., Chen, B., Wang, K., Luo, K., Wang, S.J., Liu, C., Liu, B., and Xiong, Z.Q., 2016, Tempestites and storm deposits in the Lower Cretaceous from Lingshan Island, Qingdao. Journal of Palaeogeography (Chinese Edition), 18, 381–398. (in Chinese with English abstract) Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Association of Korean Geoscience Societies and Springer 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiangyu Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shoujun Li
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Xiuli Zhao
    • 1
    • 3
  • Geng Geng
    • 1
  • Mingming Yan
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Earth Science & EngineeringShandong University of Science and TechnologyQingdao, ShandongChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Stratigraphy and PalaeontologyMinistry of Natural ResourcesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Paleontology and Stratigraphy (Nanjing Institute of Geology and PaleontologyChinese Academy of Sciences)Nanjing, JiangsuChina

Personalised recommendations