Geochemistry of the sedimentary rocks from the Nanxiong Basin, South China and implications for provenance, paleoenvironment and paleoclimate at the K/T boundary
Cretaceous and Tertiary clastic sedimentary rocks from the Nanxiong Basin, South China have been analyzed to constrain their provenance, depositional climate and environment. Evidence from discrimination diagrams for sedimentary provenance and tectonic setting show that the Nanxiong Basin sediments were derived from typical continental sources. Geochemical signatures (e.g. Eu/Eu *, Th/Ti, La/Ti, Ta/Ti, Yb/Ti and Y/Ti ratios of the claystone) are nearly constant, suggesting the provenance of the Nanxiong Basin remained similar throughout the Late Cretaceous to Early Paleocene (83-56 Ma). In contrast Rb/Ti, Cs/Ti ratios and TOC and CaCO 3 concentrations require an obvious change in climate across the Late Cretaceous and Early Paleocene boundary. Singularly higher CaCO 3 contents and lower TOC values and Rb/Ti, Cs/Ti ratios in the Late Cretaceous indicate that a long period extreme dry climate occurred at that time in South China. Rb/Ti, Cs/Ti ratios and TOC values escalated and CaCO 3 contents decreased in the Early Paleocene suggesting that the climate became relatively wet, which resulted in greater vegetation cover. The lasting extreme dry climate in the Late Cretaceous may provide a clue to the extinction of the dinosaurs in the Nanxiong Basin.