Early Triassic temperatures were some of the hottest of the Phanerozoic, sea-surface temperatures approached 40°C, with profound consequences for both the sedimentology and faunal distributions in the oceans. However, the impact of these temperatures in terrestrial settings is unclear. This study examines shallow lacustrine sediments from the Lower Triassic succession of North China. These consist of diverse fluvial to shallow lacustrine sandstones and also spectacular, coarse conglomerates composed of diverse, intraformational clasts reworked from the interbedded sediments. The conglomerate beds can show inverse grading and high angle, flat-pebble imbrication in their lower part and vertically orientated flat pebbles in their upper part. The cobbles include cemented and reworked conglomerate intraclasts and sandstone concentrically-laminated concretions that record multi-step histories of growth and reworking, pointing to rapid cementation of the sandy lake bed (likely facilitated by high temperatures). The conglomerates record frequent, high-energy events that were capable of brecciating a lithified lake bed and transporting cobbles in wave-influenced sediment-gravity flows. Initially, powerful oscillatory flows brecciated and deflated the lake bed and subsequently helped to sustain turbulence during short-distance lateral flow. It is possible that hurricanes, originating from the adjacent hyper-warm, Palaeo-Tethyan Ocean travelled into the major lakes of the North China continent during the Early Triassic.
Conglomerates, early Triassic, North China, storms, terrestrial
Ji, Kaixuan; Wignall, Paul B.; Peakall, Jeff; Tong, Jinnan; Chu, Daoliang; and Pruss, Sara B., "Unusual Intraclast Conglomerates in a Stormy, Hot-House Lake: The Early Triassic North China Basin" (2021). Geosciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.