Main Geological Relics

Main Geological Relics


    The Geopark lies in the east section of the Qinling Orogenic Belt of China Central Orogenic System (See Figure 1-4). It occupies a key position since geological relics have been systematically and well preserved; and it is also an important region where the North China and Yangtze Plates converged, subducted and jointed during the Paleozoic period. It is in this region that the continent-continent collision took place during the Mesozoic period. The main geological relics in this region are: the typical rock stratum stratigraphic section of the "trench-arc-basin system" at the continental margin of the North China Plate, the geological structure relics of the continental orogenic belt, the Cretaceous dinosaur fossil group, the tectonic granite landscape, the tectonic karst landform, as well as the pond/pool waterscape which reveals the rhythm of modern crust movement and the river retrogressive erosion.

    Figure 1-4 The tectonic location of Funiu Mountain Global Geopark in China

    (1) The typical rock stratum stratigraphic sections
    The strata are well exposed in the park and those of the Archeozoic era, Paleoproterozoic era, Mesoproterozoic era, Neoproterozoic era, Paleozoic era, Mesozoic era, and Cainozoic era have all been exposed. The stratotype sections of some important rock stratigraphic units of certain orogenic belts and places where they were named are located in or around the Geopark, such as the Paleoproterozoic Qinling Rock Group (See Figure 1-5), Neoproterozoic Luanchuan Rock Group, Lower Palaeozoic Erlangping Rock Group and Xiong’er Rock Group (See Figure 1-6) etc.

   Figure 1-5 Recumbent Fold in the Qinling Rock Group



    Figure 1-6 Volcanic Rock Exposed in the Geopark
(Above: Pillow Lava in the Erlangping Rock Group; Below: Rhyolite Columnar Jointing and Pillow Lava in the Volcanic Rocks in Xiong’er Rock Goup)

    (2) Geological structure relics

    In the long-term tectonic movement of the formation, development and evolution of the Qinling Orogenic Belt, the subduction, collision and connection among plates have left rich tectonic relics of the Qinling Orogenic Belt in and around the Geopark, such as relics of the Shangdan Fault Zone, Luanchan Fault Zone, and Zhuyangguan-Xiaguan Fault Zone etc. (See Figures 1-7 & 1-8).


Figure 1-7 The tectonic relics of Shangdan Faul Zone


Figure 1-8 The tectonic relics of Zhuyangguan-Xiaguan Fault Zone

    (3) Ancient Animal Fossils

    Dinosaur fossils and mammal fossils have been found in the Upper Cretaceous basins at both the northern and southern sides of the Funiu Mountain. Among the dinosaur egg fossil groups discovered in the 1990s in the Red Bed Basin of the southern part of the Geopark(See Figure 1-9), there are 8 families, 13 genera, 24 species, 6 species used for comparison, and another 10 indeterminate species. The Longiteresoolithus xixiaensis and Prismatoolithus gebiensis can be claimed as rare treasures in the world(See Figure 1-10). In terms of the amount, variety, range of distribution and degree of preservation, the dinosaur egg fossils in the Geopark are matchless in the world. Besides, the symbiosis of dinosaur eggs, footprints and skeletons, together with other ancient animal fossils, are wonders of ancient species in the world (See Figures 1-11 to 1-13). In the Qiupa-Tantou Basin, the northern part of the Geopark, fossils of dinosaurs, gastropods, bivalves, ostracodes, and mammals have been discovered in the upper cretaceous stratum. It is believed that this might be a major habitat of ancient fauna during the Upper Cretaceous Age in China, especially the small-sized theropod dinosaurs (See Figure 1-14).


Figure 1-9  Dendroolithus in their original burying state (Xixia Dinosaur Relic Park)

      Figure 1-10 Longiteresoolithus xixiaensis(Left) and Prismatoolithus gebiensis(Right), the peculiar types in the world

Figure 1-11 Superimposed reservoir of various egg fossils

Figure 1-12 The dinosaur footprints

Figure 1-13 Fossils and reconstruction of the skeleton of Nanyangosaurus zhugeii

Figure 1-14 Dinosaur skeleton fossils discovered in Luanchuan

    (4) Granite Landform

    The tectonic granite belt lies in the east section of the Qinling Orogenic Belt. The granites there are of different types and are formed by different factors. Having gone through long-term tectonic and weather denudation, the granites have been shaped into unique landscapes including peak forest/cluster, peak wall, pile-up stone, laccolithic mountain, stone waterfall, peak column, square-shape mountain, fault cliff/valley, folded mountain, etc (See Figures 1-15 to 1-22), displaying the lithologic affiliation with the orogenic movement, and the specificity of tectonic development stages.

Figure 1-15 Arrow-shape Granite peak clusters(Laojieling Scenic Area)    Figure 1-16 Peak walls (Baotianman Scenic Area)

Figure 1-17 Granite “Pile-up Stones”(Seven-star Pond Scenic Area)  Figure 1-18 Granite Waterfalls (Huanghuaman Scenic Area)

    Figure 1-19 Granite “stone forest” (Laojunshan Scenic Area)  Figure 1-20 Granite “square-shape mountain”(Longyuwan Scenic Area)

Figure 1-21 Granite “fault cliff/valley”(Baiyunshan Scenic Area)  Figure 1-22 Granite “folded mountain”(Muzhanling Scenic Area)

    (5) Karst Landform

    The karst landscape in the Geopark is also relatively distinctive. The karst caves in the Funiu Mountain Range are either formed in the mylonitization marbles in the fault zone (e.g. Tianxin Cave, Yunhua Bat Cave), or formed in the stress space under the tectonic nappe structure (e.g. Jiguan Cave). In addition, there are other types of karst landforms including stalactites, tectonic rock paintings, karstic springs and waterfall calcareous tufa, etc. (See Figure 1-23). All together they have constituted the systematic and intact  Funiu Mountain karst landscapes, manifesting the features of continental orogenic.


Figure 1-23 Tectonic rock paintings and stalactites in karst caves of the Funiu Mountain Range

    (6) Fluvial erosion geomorphology and waterscape

    The Geopark is located at the transitional region of north subtropical zone and temperate zone, where the climate is moderate and precipitation rain fall is abundant. Due to the growth of granite joints and the action of water on carbonatites, as well as other geological actions occurred during the ecological evolution, such as uplifting, weathering, denudation and fluvial erosion etc., a variety of fluvial landforms have been formed, for instance, the widespread streams, waterfalls, pools, potholes and other waterscapes (See Figure 1-24).



Figure 1-24 Fluvial erosion landforms and waterscapes in the Funiu Mountain Range

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