Late Triassic palynofloras in the Sichuan Basin, South China: Synthesis and perspective
Li et al
Mesozoic strata are well developed and exposed continuously across the Sichuan Basin, South China. In particular, the Upper Triassic strata yield diverse and abundant spore-pollen fossils, providing a significant reference for the study of palaeoenvironmental variations across the Triassic–Jurassic transition where mass extinctions were occurring. In this paper, we summarize the major progress on Late Triassic palynological studies in this basin. To date, 151 genera (454 species) of sporomorph fossils have been reported from the Late Triassic strata in the Sichuan Basin. Three palynological assemblages are distinguished for the Late Triassic in the Sichuan Basin. Late Triassic vegetation in the Sichuan Basin shows a remarkable predominance of ferns, followed by conifers and cycads/ginkgophytes, and conifers show a distinct increase in abundance in the latest Triassic. In general, the Late Triassic palaeoclimate in the Sichuan Basin was tropical-subtropical, humid and warm. A synthesis of the data shows that the Late Triassic did not have a constant paleoclimate in the Sichuan Basin, several climatic events are recognized: two warm and humid climate events in Norian-Rhaetian time, coupled with a cooler and drier condition in the latest Late Triassic. Further investigations in higher resolution at more continuous sections in the Sichuan Basin are needed to better understand the Late Triassic vegetation response, climate changes, as well as palaeoecosystem variations across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary.