Detrital provenance evolution of the Ediacaran-Silurian Nanhua foreland basin, South China

Wei Hua Yao*, Zheng Xiang Li, Wu-Xian Li, Li Su, Jin Hui Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


We report here in-situ U-Pb and Hf isotopic results of detrital zircons from sixteen Cambrian-Silurian siliciclastic samples across the Nanhua foreland basin, South China. Together with published data from Ediacaran-Silurian sandstones in the region, we establish the temporal and spatial provenance evolution across the basin. Except for samples from northeast Yangtze, all other Ediacaran-Silurian samples exhibit a prominent population of 1100-900. Ma, moderate populations of 850-700. Ma and 650-490. Ma, and minor populations of 2500. Ma and 2000-1300. Ma, grossly matching that of crystalline and sedimentary rocks in northern India. Zircon Hf isotopes further reveal four episodes of juvenile crustal growth at 2.5. Ga, 1.8. Ga, 1.4. Ga and 1.0. Ga in the source regions. Utilizing the basin history and late Neoproterozoic to early Paleozoic paleogeography of South China, we conclude that the Ediacaran-Cambrian sediments in the Nanhua foreland basin were mainly sourced from northern India and adjacent orogens, and the Ordovician-Silurian sediments were derived from both locally recycled Ediacaran-Cambrian rocks and eroded Cathaysian basement. The Wuyi-Yunkai late-orogenic magmatic rocks also contributed to the Silurian sediments in the basin. The upper-Ordovician to Silurian samples in northeast Yangtze received higher proportions of local Cryogenian (850-700. Ma) magmatic rocks which were uplifted during late-Ordovician to Silurian time. We speculate that there was an Ediacaran-Cambrian collisional orogen between South China and northern India, shedding sediments to the early Nanhua foreland basin. Far-field stress during the late stage of this collisional orogeny triggered the Ordovician-Silurian intraplate Wuyi-Yunkai orogeny in South China, and erosion of the local Wuyi-Yunkai orogen further provided detritus to the late Nanhua foreland basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1449-1465
Number of pages17
JournalGondwana Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • South China
  • Nanhua foreland basin
  • detrital provenance
  • Ediacaran–Cambrian
  • Ordovician–Silurian
  • Gondwana


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