The Permian marine-terrestrial system of the North China block provides an exceptional window into the evolution of northern temperate ecosystems during the critical transition from icehouse to greenhouse following the late Paleozoic ice age (LPIA). Despite many studies on its rich hydrocarbon reserves and climate-sensitive fossil flora, uncertain temporal constraints and correlations have hampered a thorough understanding of the records of geologic, biologic, and climatic change from the North China block. We present a new chronostratigraphy based on high-precision U-Pb chemical abrasion-isotope dilution-thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) geochronology of tuffs from a near-complete latest Carboniferous-Permian succession in North China. The results indicate that the predominance of continental red beds, climate aridification, and the disappearance of coals and characteristic tropical flora were well under way during the Cisuralian (Early Permian) in the North China block, significantly earlier than previously thought. A nearly 20 m.y. hiatus spanning the early Kungurian to the mid-Guadalupian (or later) is revealed in the northern North China block to have close temporal and spatial associations with the closure and/or subduction of the Paleo-Asian Ocean and its related tectonic convergence. This long hiatus was concomitant with the prominent loss of the highly diverse and abundant Cathaysian floras and the widespread invasion of the monotonous Angaran floras under arid climate conditions in the North China block. Similarities in the floral and climate shift histories between Euramerica and North China suggest that aside from the regional tectonic controls and continental movement, extensive volcanism during the Cisuralian may have played a major role in the global warming and aridification in the aftermath of the LPIA.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


This research is supported by the Strategic Priority Research Programs of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (grants XDB18000000 and XDB26000000). Wan Yang is partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant EAR 1714749).

Geographic Coverage

North China

Time Period


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0091-7613; 1943-2682

Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Publication Date

05 Feb 2021


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