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《Journal of Stratigraphy》 2002-03
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A NEW INTERPRETATION OF THE ‘CRETACEOUS RED BEDS’FROM TANGSHAN CALABASH CAVE, NANJING

XU Han kui and LI Yue (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, 210008)  
The Calabash Cave, a karst cave situated to the southeast of Nanjing City, is well known as the discovery location in 1993 of the skull fossils of Homo erectus . The rocky outcrops surrounding the cave are dominated by the carbonates of the Lower Ordovician Hunghuayuan Formation and dip at 53°/NEE into the cave. However, red and yellow coloured beds with horizontal outcrops occur in the western part of the main cave and the southern small branch cave, and make faulted contact with carbonates of the Hunghuayuan Formation. Furthermore, the red and yellow coloured beds are also partly seen in localities near the cave, such as in the south and north quarries; generally, they are also in faulted contact with limestones. Interpretation of the age and diagensis procession of these red and yellow coloured beds is partly the key to understanding the formation of the cave. Some researchers suggest that the red and yellow coloured beds are sedimentary rocks deposited in the caves (the result of the Mesozoic Yenshanian Orogeny) which can be correlated lithologically with the equivalent fluvial facies: the Chishan Sandstone, Pukou Formation or Gecun Formation of the Cretaceous System. Based on the lithological and geochemical data on the red and yellow coloured beds, such as thin section diagnosis, carbon isotopic value measurements, boracic equivalents and heavy mineral grains analysis, the present authors disagree with former interpretations. They suggest that these red and yellow coloured beds were originally a type of Ordovician marine carbonate with secondary metamorphic changes, rather than a type of fluvial facies sedimentation during the Cretaceous Period. The red and yellow coloured beds are essentially thick bedded micritic limestones with marine facies characteristics. Conversely, most of the sediments deposited in the cave are coarse silty debris. The red beds mostly occur only on one side of the faults with horizontal orientation, but typical Ordovician carbonates steeply dip from the other side. The boracic equivalent geochemical data also show an extremely high value and support the marine facies interpretation. Influenced by the regional movement, multiple faulted systems were formed with igneous material and the hot liquids from the deeper earth crust invading along the fissures; consequently, rich iron and silicon elements were partly condensed and the Ordovician limestones were changed into ferrolites or ferrosiliciums. Thus the age of the red beds is more favourably attributed to the Ordovician Period. Consequently, the orogenic action of the Cretaceous Period played an important role in the gentle metamorphic action on the original marine rocks, and rich faults facilitated the formation of the karst cave during the Cretaceous Period onwards.
【Fund】: 中国科学院院长基金;; 中国自然科学基金委员会主任基金;; 国家基金委特殊学科点人材培养基金;; 中国科学院南京地质古生物研究所创新基金资助
【CateGory Index】: P534.42
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