Astrochronology of the Anisian stage (Middle Triassic) at the Guandao reference section, South China

Mingsong Li, Chunju Huang, Linda Hinnov, Weizhe Chen, James Ogg, Wei Tian

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57 Scopus citations


A high-precision global timescale for the Early and Middle Triassic is the key to understanding the nature, pattern and rates of biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction. The Guandao section of Guizhou Province of South China is an important reference section for the magnetic polarity pattern, conodont datums, geochemical anomalies and interpreted temperature history through the Anisian (Middle Triassic). We analyzed the high-resolution gamma-ray and magnetic susceptibility series from the complete Anisian stage. Intensity variations are indicative of fluctuating terrestrial clay influxes showing strong signals that match predicted astronomical solutions for eccentricity and precession. Astronomical tuning of these series to interpreted 405-kyr long-eccentricity cycles yields a 5.3 Myr duration for the Anisian at Guandao. When combined with the astrochronology of the Early Triassic, then the projected age of the Anisian–Ladinian boundary relative to the base-Triassic date of 251.9 Ma is 241.5±0.1 Ma. This provides a 10-Myr reference timescale for other key geological events, including conodont zones, geomagnetic polarity chrons, rates of marine carbon- and oxygen isotope excursions and global sea-level changes, that were associated with the repeated biotic crises and recovery episodes after the end-Permian mass extinction. The middle Anisian humid phase in ca. 244–244.5 Ma was probably a global event, which may have been linked to the middle Anisian warming event and sea-level change. Sea-level fluctuations at Guandao generally correlate with those in western Tethyan and Boreal regions in time, confirming sea-level changes during the Anisian were of eustatic origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-606
Number of pages16
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
StatePublished - Jan 15 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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