Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 199–212 | Cite as

Geochemistry of late permian non-marine bivalves: Implications for the continental paleohydrology and paleoclimatology of northwestern China

  • Uwe Brand
  • Ellis L. Yochelson
  • R. Michael Eagar


The Upper Permian Wutonggou Formation, near Turpan, Xinjiang Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China, consists of about 60 m of silstones, sandstones and limestones. A 15 cm thick limestone bed about 40 m above the base, contains abundant bivalve shells of the speciesPalaeanodonta fisheri. P. castor andPalaeomutela sp. These relatively thick shells are chalkywhite and the internal microstructure is preserved in some specimens as complex-crossed lamellas, which are always aragonite, and prismatic fibers which may be aragonite or calcite. Mineralogical tests confirm aragonite in microstructurally pristine specimens. This is the oldest-known locality for biogenic aragonite in China.

The bivalves of northwestern China are geochemically distinct from typically marine and terrestrial counterparts. Their Sr, Mg, Mn, and Fe contents are strongly habitat controlled by ambient environmental conditions and support the postulated lacustrine paleoecology for the limestones of the Wutonggou Formation.

Modelling of δ13C values (−2.9 to −3.9%, PDB) and Fe suggests thatPalaeanodonta andPalaeomutela preferred shallow waters and the values are well within the seasonal variation expected for north temperate lakes. The light and relatively constant δ18O values (−12.0 to −12.1%., PDB) of the bivalves suggest that Wutonggou surface lake waters were probably well mixed. The modeled δ18O value of −11 to −15%. (SMOW) for annual meteoric precipitation, influenced by snow meltwater, appears reasonable for lakes situated about 50–60°N of the Permian equator.


Isotopic Composition Stable Isotope Bivalve Aragonite Bivalve Shell 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Brand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ellis L. Yochelson
    • 3
    • 4
  • R. Michael Eagar
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesBrock UniversitySt. Catharines
  2. 2.Department of GeologyMcMaster UniversityHamilton
  3. 3.Department of PaleobiologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.C.
  4. 4.Knaresborough

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