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Dinosaur bone beds dated in Late Cretaceous Wangshi Group, Shandong, China (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Wang, Shu-Qing Chen & Yan-Xia Zhang (2015)
Detrital zircon dating and tracing the provenance of dinosaur bone
beds from the Late Cretaceous Wangshi Group in Zhucheng, Shandong,
East China.
Journal of Palaeogeography (advance online publication)


The mass burial of dinosaur bone fossils in the Late Cretaceous
Wangshi Group in Zhucheng, Shandong Province has been a research focus
in recent years. However, the provenance of the dinosaur bone fossils
and the accurate depositional age of the bone beds remain ambiguous.
Through U−Pb dating of detrital zircons collected from six
conglomerate samples from dinosaur bone beds, we found that the
youngest single grain age (YSG) of sample 090414-24-D was 77.3 Ma,
representing the maximum depositional age of the dinosaur fossil beds
and sediments. This also indicates that the Hongtuya Formation was
deposited during the Campanian. The age range had an interval of 130
-100 Ma. Dating results revealed an age peak of 120-110 Ma, which
corresponds with the peak age of volcanic rocks of the Lower
Cretaceous Qingshan Group. The volcanic rocks of the Qingshan Group
are mainly exposed in Laiyang, to the north of Zhucheng, although a
few also appear to the south and northwest. Through analysis of
conglomerate composition and palaeocurrents in the sediments
containing the bone beds, we found that the gravel composition of
three groups of the conglomerate was volcanic or pyroclastic rock.
Three groups of palaeocurrents suggested that the main sediment source
of the Wangshi Group dinosaur bone beds was from the north−northwest
of the Basin. Only one group had a provenance south of the basin. This
study revealed that the areas of Laiyang and the Yishu Fault Zone were
the main provenance areas of both dinosaur bone fossils and sediments
of the Wangshi Group in Zhucheng. The southern margin of the Zhucheng
Basin may be a secondary source area. This research provides an
important basis for judging the deposition time and sediment source of
fossil layers in the Wangshi Group, as well as reconstructing the
palaeogeography of the Wangshi Group in the Jiaolai Basin.