Marine red beds (MRBs) occur in many locations in the world during the Telychian Stage but it is unclear how they were related with the highly dynamic Silurian Earth system. To address this question, we conducted a case study involving geochronology, palaeogeographic reconstruction, facies analysis and sea-level history of the middle Telychian MRBs on the western Yangtze Platform of South China. Their distribution pattern indicates that the clastic MRBs owe their origin to the nearby oldlands. Facies analysis indicates that rocks during the study interval generally fall into three depositional belts: shallow subtidal, deep subtidal and shaly basinal belts. A chronostratigraphic framework constrained by both biostratigraphic data and eustatic events shows that, during the early Monoclimacis crenulata interval, olive-gray strata dominated both shallower (shallow and deep subtidal belts) and deeper (shaly basinal belt) settings, while distribution of the MRBs was restricted to deeper waters (shaly basinal belt) on the open-sea side of the platform. This situation changed after the middle M. crenulata interval when the MRB deposition was dominant in both shallower and deeper settings. The diachronous onset pattern of the MRBs coincided with prominent transitions in climatic conditions (from cooler to warmer), eustatic states (from regression to transgression), benthic faunas (decline of normal marine fauna and development of euryhaline assemblages) and reduced primary productivity in the shelf settings, most likely indicative of a change between different oceanic modes. Comparative studies suggest that, the widespread Telychian MRBs in both shallow and deeper water settings owe their origin to a very low organic carbon burial rate, which could be results of higher oxygen content in the ocean water and lower primary productivity.
"Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology" – Elsevier
Published: May 15, 2018
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