The Neoproterozoic Luoquan/Fengtai glaciation on the North China craton

Theme: Past Life & Environments

Primary Supervisor:

Daniel Le Heron

Earth Sciences, RHUL

Secondary Supervisor:

Graham Shields

Earth Sciences, UCL

Project Description:

The Neoproterozoic was a time of profound climate change illustrated best by the plunge into ‘Snowball Earth’ conditions during the Cryogenian Period at about 716 Ma. Following those extremes, Earth continued to experience distinct intervals of global cooling and carbon cycle perturbations during the Ediacaran Period (635-541 Ma) and controversially even into the Cambrian.

The Fengtai Formation in the southern NCC (Anhui Province) sits unconformably on top of an early Neoproterozoic carbonate platform and is overlain by early Cambrian marine sediments, while the possibly correlative Luoquan Formation further north (Henan Province) overlies Mesoproterozoic quartzites and is likewise overlain, apparently conformably by Cambrian rocks. This project aims to study the sedimentology and geochemistry of this enigmatic glaciation in order to establish the age, origin and global context of these little studied deposits, and to test the controversial hypothesis that these represent a Cambrian glaciation.

This project will provide training in sedimentology and laboratory geochemistry / geochronology at two research groups studying complementary aspects of Neoproterozoic geology as well as offering a rewarding cultural experience during fieldwork in China.

Policy Impact of Research:

This study will contribute to the debate on causes and consequences of global climate change throughout Earth history as well as the relationship between climate, the carbon cycle and the Cambrian Explosion.

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