Neoproterozoic stratigraphic comparison of the Lesser Himalaya () and Yangtze block (south ): Paleogeographic implications

Ganqing Jiang* Department of Sciences, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA Linda E. Sohl  Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of  Nicholas Christie-Blick  Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964-8000, USA

ABSTRACT terpreted to correspond with a level within the Recent studies of terminal rocks (ca. 590±543 Ma) in the Lesser Him- glaciogenic interval (Fig. 2). A passive- alaya of northwestern India and the Yangtze block (south China) reveal remarkably sim- margin setting is inferred with con®dence for ilar facies assemblages and carbonate platform architecture, with distinctive karstic un- postglacial carbonate rocks on the basis of conformities at comparable stratigraphic levels. These similarities suggest that south platform scale, comparatively simple physical China may have been located close to northwestern India during late Neoproterozoic time, stratigraphic and facies architecture, and the an interpretation permitted by the available, yet sparse paleomagnetic data. Additional thickness of successions, with no evidence for parallels in older rocks of both blocksÐsimilar -related siliciclastic-volcanic successions either syndepositional tectonism or igneous overlying metamorphic , and comparable glaciogenic intervals of possibly Stur- activity. Figure 2 summarizes pertinent litho- tian and Marinoan or Varanger ageÐsuggest that this spatial relationship may have de- stratigraphy and lateral facies variations. veloped earlier in the Neoproterozoic. With the exception of phosphorite and comparable small shelly , stratigraphic contrasts between northern India and Preglacial Successions (Early south China and increasing biogeographic af®nity between south China and northwestern Neoproterozoic) suggest that south China may have migrated toward northwestern Australia In the Lesser Himalaya, the preglacial suc- during the Cambrian. cession consists of locally tuffaceous silici- clastic rocks and associated minor ma®c Keywords: Neoproterozoic, Lesser Himalaya, India, south China, stratigraphic comparison, volcanic rocks, possibly rift-related, uncon- tectonic reconstruction. formably overlying Mesoproterozoic meta- morphic rocks (Kumar, 1985; interval A1 in INTRODUCTION evidence places Australia directly against Lau- Fig. 2A). Facies become ®ner overall toward The hypothesized superconti- rentia, although details of the con®guration the northwest, from nonmarine and nent of has attracted considerable in- and timing of breakup remain elusive (e.g., conglomerate (Nagthat Formation) at the terest recently (e.g., Bartley and Kah, 2001; Wingate and Giddings, 2000; Karlstrom et al., Nainital syncline to nearshore siltstone and Powell and Meert, 2001). One point of debate 2001); (2) the synrift to early passive-margin sandstone (Chandpur and Nagthat Formations; concerns the position of south China within succession of south China (ca. 820±750 Ma) Jaunsar Group) in the between the Rodinia. Paleomagnetic constraints for south resembles coeval strata of the eastern Austra- Garhwal and Nigalidhar synclines, to shale, China from 1100 to 500 Ma are few, and lian and western only grossly siltstone, and sandstone (Simla Group) at Sim- available data permit several possible recon- (Drexel et al., 1993; Narbonne and Aitken, la (Fig. 1B). An erosional unconformity is structions (Evans et al., 2000). In one recon- 1995; Wang and Li, 2003), and the orientation present at or near the Chandpur-Nagthat con- struction, Li et al. (1995) suggested that south of sedimentary basins was not taken into ac- tact. The age of the rocks is constrained in- China was between the eastern side of the count; (3) synrift magmatism from ca. 860± directly by U-Pb dates of 771 Ϯ 2 and 751 Ϯ Australian craton and the western side of Lau- 730 Ma in Australia and south China is not 3 Ma for volcanic rocks (Malani igneous rentia. This interpretation was based in part unique (e.g., Singh et al., 2002); (4) early suite) west of the study area, in Rajasthan upon the presence of 1.9±1.4 Ga crust in both Neoproterozoic (ca. 950±850 Ma) collision- (Torsvik et al., 2001). (southeastern China; Fig. 1C) and related volcanic rocks in south China (Ling et In south China, correlative strata (interval the Priest River Complex (southwestern Can- al., 2003) have no correlatives in southeastern B1 in Fig. 2B) unconformably overlie 819 Ϯ ada) that could account for detrital zircons of Australia; and (5) the similarities in Cambrian 7 Ma (U-Pb) granites (Ma et al., 1984) in appropriate age in the lower faunal provinces between south China and the Yangtze Gorge area and Mesoproterozoic of and adjacent . Additional northwestern Australia (e.g., Burrett et al., (Ն1000 Ma) metamorphic rocks assigned to support for this hypothesis includes (1) the 1990) require south China to have migrated a the Lengjiaxi and Sibao Groups. Nonmarine similarity in age and chemistry of ma®c dikes great distance during late Neoproterozoic sandstone in the Liantuo Formation is equiv- and sills in southern Australia and south China time. In light of these dif®culties, we explore alent to the upper part of the Banxi Group (Li et al., 1999, 2003), (2) the existence of an an alternative arrangement. (Wuqiangxi Formation), which is separated erosional surface above ca. 825 Ma rocks in from shale and siltstone of the underlying Ma- both (Li et al., 1999), and (3) similar NEOPROTEROZOIC STRATIGRAPHY diyi Formation by an erosional unconformity. rifting history between south China and south- OF INDIA AND SOUTH CHINA At Huaihua (location 10 in Fig. 1D), the Banxi eastern Australia from ca. 820±750 Ma (Ling Neoproterozoic rifted margins developed Group is composed mainly of basinal shale et al., 2003; Wang and Li, 2003). along the northern edge of India (Fig. 1A; Ku- and siltstone with abundant turbidites. Asso- However, this reconstruction presents sev- mar, 1985) and along the southeastern and ciated rift-related ma®c volcanic rocks and eral dif®culties: (1) other zircon provenance western sides of the Yangtze block (Fig. 1C; tuff (Li et al., 1999, and references therein) Li et al., 1999). In both areas, the timing of have been dated to 748 Ϯ 12 Ma (U-Pb; Ma *E-mail: [email protected]. the rift to postrift transition is tentatively in- et al., 1984).

᭧ 2003 Geological Society of America. For permission to copy, contact Copyright Permissions, GSA, or [email protected]. Geology; October 2003; v. 31; no. 10; p. 917±920; 3 ®gures. 917 and Krol Group in India (interval A3 in Fig. 2A) and to the Doushantuo and Dengying For- mations in China (interval B3 in Fig. 2B). The lower part of the Krol Group (Krol A) and the middle to upper part of the Doushantuo For- mation contain phosphorite-chert nodules with distinctive acanthomorph acritarchs and the cyanobacteria Salome hubeiensis, which is known only from these two successions (AC in Figs. 2A and 2B; Tiwari and Knoll, 1994; Shuhai Xiao, 2003, personal commun.). Sim- ilar impressions have been reported from the Krol D and E in India and from the upper part of the Dengying Formation in Chi- na, although this evidence is as yet in- conclusive. The Lower Cambrian is marked by stratigraphic condensation, additional phosphorite, and comparable small shelly fos- sils in the basal Tal Group of India and in the Shuijintuo and Niutitang Formations of China. In each area, the carbonate platform exhib- its remarkably similar facies and stratigraphic details, including an evolution from mixed siliciclastic-carbonate ramp in the lower part, to rimmed shelf with marginal - rich complex in the middle, to open shelf in the upper part. Moreover, each succession is divisible into seven intervals bounded by re- gional stratigraphic discontinuities, distinctive unconformities termed sequence boundaries appearing at the same stratigraphic level. Figure 1. A: Neoproterozoic tectonic framework for India, emphasizing sedimentary basins Prominent unconformities in the middle part ca. 800 Ma (modi®ed from Kumar, 1985). Southern limit of is approximated of the Krol and lower part of the Dengying as Main Boundary thrust, and is not palinspastically reconstructed. B: Neoproterozoic and (surfaces 4 and 5 in Figs. 2A and 2B) show Cambrian outcrop in Lesser Himalaya, India, and sections used to construct Figure 2A. C: similar karstic features, including depressions Neoproterozoic tectonic framework for south China, emphasizing inferred continental rift systems ca. 800 Ma (modi®ed from Li et al., 1999). D: Geologic map of study area, and with mappable relief, and breccias and cal- sections used to construct Figure 2B. crete ®lling dikes and smaller cavities (Jiang et al., 2002). Synglacial Successions (Sturtian and upper diamictite (Nantuo Formation) overlies Marinoan Glacial Intervals) an erosional unconformity (Jiang et al., 1996). PALEOGEOGRAPHIC IMPLICATIONS The Jaunsar and Simla Groups in north- The age of these rocks is still debated. Some These stratigraphic similarities suggest a western India are unconformably overlain by researchers suggest that both Chang'an and close paleogeographic relationship between glaciogenic diamictite, siltstone, and sand- Nantuo are Sturtian (e.g., Wang and Li, 2003) the Yangtze block and the Lesser Himalaya stone of the Blaini Formation (interval A2 in and that the negative ␦13C excursion in the during latest Neoproterozoic time (Fig. 3). Fig. 2A). The Blaini is divided into a lower upper (N2 in Fig. 2B) Whether south China and India formed a con- interval composed of three to four units of represents the Marinoan or Varanger glacial tiguous passive margin is uncertain. The massive diamictite separated by siltstone and interval. However, the ␦13C excursion is not southwestern side of the Yangtze block was mudstone; a middle interval of siltstone and associated with evidence for base-level low- strongly deformed and metamorphosed during sandstone with lenses of ferruginous shale; ering in either India or China (N2 in Figs. 2A the , and the possible basement con- and an upper interval of diamictite with an and 2B; Jiang et al., 2002), a mismatch incon- nection is dif®cult to evaluate. Various Teth- erosional unconformity at its base. sistent with the interpretation of widespread yan blocks (Fig. 3) were interpret- In south China, glaciogenic rocks uncon- glaciation elsewhere at that level. Given their ed by Husseini and Husseini (1990) to have formably overlie the Liantuo Formation or overall context, we interpret the two diamictite been sutured to the Salt Range±Kashmir re- Banxi Group and are subdivided in a similar intervals in both regions as Sturtian and Mar- gion of greater India by ca. 620 Ma. In that way (interval B2 in Fig. 2B). A lower diam- inoan or Varanger, respectively. case, a direct link between northwestern India ictite interval (Jiangkou and Chang'an For- and south China would be improbable when mations) consists of several thick units of Postglacial Successions (Terminal the stratigraphy of the two regions is most massive diamictite separated by siltstone and Neoproterozoic) similar. The corresponding number and strati- sandstone. A middle siltstone, shale, and sand- In both areas, the upper diamictite is over- graphic level of sequence boundaries in both stone sequence (Xiangmen and Datangpo For- lain by a cap carbonate no more than a few regions suggest a eustatic in¯uence on strati- mations, and Fulu Formation at Guangxi, 200 meters thick (N1 in Figs. 2A and 2B), which graphic development as well as paleogeo- km south of location 10 in Fig. 1D) is locally is overlain by a siliciclastic to carbonate suc- graphic af®nity. manganese rich, ferruginous, or dolomitic. An cession assigned to the Infra Krol Formation An earlier spatial relationship between

918 GEOLOGY, October 2003 Figure 2. Generalized Neoproterozoic stratigraphy and regional stratigraphic cross sections for Lesser Himalaya, India (A) and south China (B). Numbered sections are located in Figure 1. A1: Jaunsar and Simla Groups. NTÐNagthat Formation; CHÐChandpur Formation. U-Pb -age of 823 ؎ 5 Ma is from Singh et al. (2002). A2: Glaciogenic Blaini Formation. A3: Infra Krol Formation and Krol Group. ACÐphosphorite chert nodules containing acanthomorph acritarchs and cyanobacteria Salome hubeiensis; EÐinterval of reported Ediacaran fossils; SSÐ small shelly fossils; N1, N2Ðnegative ␦13C excursions; GrÐGroup. Circled numbers 1±8 locate regional discontinuities and karstic and/or erosional unconformities. B1: Liantuo Formation (LT) and Banxi Group. WQÐWuqiangxi Formation; MDÐMadiyi Formation. LJX±SBÐ .Lengjiaxi and Sibao Groups. U-Pb ages of 819 ؎ 7 Ma and 748 ؎ 12 Ma are from Ma et al. (1984). B2: Glaciogenic and associated units B3: Doushantuo and Dengying Formations. Symbols and numbers as in A3.

GEOLOGY, October 2003 919 by rocks, whereas a carbonate plat- and stratigraphic of India: New Delhi, Wiley Eastern Limited, p. 81±803. form persisted in south China until the Silu- Li, Z.X., Zhang, L., and Powell, C.M., 1995, South rian. South China may have begun to drift China in Rodinia: Part of the missing link be- away from northwestern India and toward tween Australia±East and Laurentia?: northwestern Australia in the Early Cambrian, Geology, v. 23, p. 407±410. Li, Z.X., Li, X.H., Kinny, P.D., and Wang, J., 1999, a juxtaposition consistent with the close bio- The breakup of Rodinia: Did it start with a man- geographic af®nity between south China and tle plume beneath South China?: Earth and Plan- northwestern Australia in the early to middle etary Science Letters, v. 173, p. 171±181. (e.g., Burrett et al., 1990). Li, Z.X., Li, X.H., Kinny, P.D., Wang, J., Zhang, S., and Zhou, H., 2003, Geochronology of Neopro- terozoic syn-rift magmatism in the Yangtze cra- ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ton, South China, and correlations with other Figure 3. Proposed paleogeographic recon- Supported by National Science Foundation grants : Evidences for a mantle superplume struction for south China and northern India EAR-96-14070 and INT-00-89252 (to Christie- that broke up Rodinia: Research, from terminal Neoproterozoic (ca. 590±543 Blick), and ATM-99-07640 and EAR-00-87559 (to v. 122, p. 85±109. Ma) to Early Cambrian. Paleolatitude sourc- Christie-Blick and Sohl); a Geological Society of Lin, J.L., and Fuller, M., 1990, Palaeomagnetism, es: south China (Lin and Fuller, 1990), India± America Student Research Grant (to Jiang); the De- North China and South China collision, and the Australia± (Torsvik et al., partment of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Tan-Lu : Royal Society of London Philo- 2001). Relationship between India and Teth- Columbia University; and a grant of the State Sci- sophical Transactions, ser. A, v. 331, yan Gondwana blocks is from Husseini and ence and Technology Committee of China (to Wang p. 589±598. Husseini (1990). YZÐYangtze block (south Hongzhen). We thank D.M. Banerjee, Ziqiang Ling, W., Gao, S., Zhang, B., Li, H., Liu, Y., and China); AUSÐAustralia; EAÐEast Antarcti- Wang, Shihong Zhang, Huaichun Wu, and Guobiao Cheng, J., 2003, Neoproterozoic tectonic evolu- ca; INDÐIndia; PAÐPakistan; AFÐAfghan- Li for assistance over several ®eld seasons, and tion of the northwestern Yangtze craton, South istan; IRÐeastern Iran; ASÐArabian shield. journal reviewers J. Geissman, C.T. Klootwijk, and China: Implications for amalgamation and break- Arrows indicate direction of shelf-to-basin B.A. van der Pluijm for constructive advice. D.A.D. up of the Rodinia : Precambrian transition in south China and northern India. Evans, Z.X. Li, J.G. Meert, and an anonymous ref- Research, v. 122, p. 111±140. Northern Indian margin is shown in two eree reviewed an earlier version. This is a contri- Ma, G., Lee, H., and Zhang, Z., 1984, An investigation of the age limits of the Sinian System in south ways: (1) based on modern geography; and bution to International Geological Correlation Pro- China: Chinese Academia of Geological Scienc- (2) with palinspastic correction, and employ- gramme Project 440. Lamont-Doherty Earth es, Bulletin of Yichang Institute of Geology and ing ~30 counterclockwise rotation of Less- .(؇ Observatory contribution 6482. Mineral Resources, v. 8, p. 1±29 (in Chinese er Himalaya against Indian shield (e.g., Narbonne, G.M., and Aitken, J.D., 1995, Neoprotero- Schill et al., 2002). 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The stratigraphic development of Long-lived (1.8±1.0 Ga) convergent orogen in Manuscript received 1 May 2003 northwestern India and south China diverged southern Laurentia, its extensions to Australia Revised manuscript received 1 July 2003 and , and implications for re®ning Rodi- Manuscript accepted 8 July 2003 after the earliest Cambrian; in India, the sili- nia: Precambrian Research, v. 111, p. 5±30. ciclastic Tal Group is unconformably overlain Kumar, R., 1985, Fundamentals of historical geology Printed in USA

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