Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2014, 2, 108-116
Published Online June 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/gep
How to cite this paper: Puchkov, V. N. et al. (2014). The New Data on Stratigraphy of the Riphean Stratotype in the South-
ern Urals, Russia. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 2, 108-116.
The New Data on Stratigraphy of the
Riphean Stratotype in the Southern Urals,
V. N. Puchkov1,2, A. A. Krasnobaev3, N. D. Sergeeva1
1Institute of Geology, Ufimian Scientific Centre of RAS, Ufa, Russia
2Bashkirian State University, Ufa, Russia
3Institute of Geology and Geochemistry, Uralian Branch of RAS, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Received April 2014
A recent series of U-Pb age determinations of zircons (SHRIMP, IDTIMS) from volcanic flows of
several levels permitted to refine stratigraphy of the Riphean of Bashkirian megaanticlinorium
(Urals, Russia), and provide a better correlation of this straton with the International and Chinese
scales of the Proterozoic.
Proterozoic, Stratigraphy, U-Pb Dating, Zircons, International Stratigraphic Scale, Riphean
The Upper Proterozoic deposits of the Riphean and Vendian of the General Stratigraphic Scale of Russia
(GSSR), widely exposed in the Bashkirian Megaanticlinorium BMA) of the Southern Urals, can be approxi-
mately correlated with the Meso- and Neoproterozoic of the International Stratigraphic scale (ISS) (Stratigraphic
schemes of the Urals; 1993, The Stratotype of the Riphean, 1983; The Geologic Time Scale, 2012), or Sinian to
Changcheng succession of stratigraphic units of China. In the last years, after the International excursion to
BMA, with participation of the Chinese and Korean stratigraphers (Field trip Guide…, 2006), the work of dating
of volcanic rocks of the Riphean section was strongly activated owing to a considerable progress in technique of
isotope research. The work was stimulated by understanding that the International Scheme of division of Meso-
and Neoproterozoic into systems/periods of equal duration (200 Ma) contradicts to traditional principles of
stratigraphy, with elaboration of a system of stratotypes and GSSPs in real sections, with application of methods
of chemostratigraphy, event stratigraphy, micropaleontology and other approaches (Bleeker, 2004). The under-
standing that the existing chronometric stratigraphic scale of the Precambrian needs an up-to-date chronostrati-
graphic revision, based on global events, becomes now stronger (Geologic Time Scale…, 2012; Grazhdankin &
Maslov, 2013), though the Meso- and Neoproterozoic scale in ISS is still unreformed.
Volcanic eruptions are developed at three levels of the Riphean section of BMA and their dating is of a spe-
V. N. Puchkov et al.
cial importance for determination of ages of host deposits and stratigraphic boundaries (Figure 1, Fi gure 2).
Lava flows, characterized by low-grade metamorphic alterations, are developed in the Navysh subformation of
the Ai Formation of the Lower Riphean, in Mashak Formation of the Middle Riphean and Arshinian series of
the Uppermost Riphean. The latter was formerly attributed to the Lower Vendian in the Unified schemes of the
Urals (Stratigraphic…, 1993), but it turned out to be a mistake. The series belongs to the Uppermost Riphean.
The position of dated comagmatic dikes and other intrusive bodies support in some cases the stratigraphic con-
clusions. Recently, the dating of tuff layers, discovered in the Upper Vendian (Grazhdankin et al., 2011 ; Le-
vashova et al., 2013)—548.2 ± 7.6 and 547.6 ± 3.8 Ma—do not disagree with the suggested improvements of
the Riphean stratigraphy of the Urals.
2. Volcanics of the Navysh Subformation
The determination of the age of these volcanics is critical for the precise age of the lower boundary of the
Riphean. The bottom of the Riphean section is situated at 200 - 400 m lower than volcanics, at the base of po-
lymictic sandstones of the Ai Formation (Burzyanian series), which overlies strongly metamorphosed Archean-
Paleoproterozoic Taratash crystalline complex with an angular unconformity (Figure 1, Figure 2).
According to earlier data, acquired with a complex application of the K-Ar, Rb-Sr и U-Pb methods, the age of
the Navysh complex was determined at 1615 ± 45 (Krasnobaev et al., 1992). For many years, this date was used
for determination of the Lower boundary of the Lower Riphean in different stratigraphic schemes including the
stratigraphic scheme of Russia (Shurkin et al., 1990) and the Urals (Stratigraphic, 1993), and also a Scale of
geological time (Harland et al., 1985) at the level of 1650 Ma.
Owing to the development of modern methods and instruments for isotopic research, we have got a chance to
check this date and make corrections. In the year 2011 well-preserved zircons were obtained from a sample No
2152 of volcanics of the Navysh complex (trachybasalt porphyrite to the SE of Arshinka village, 55˚31'41.7''N;
059˚40'48.5''E, at the western limb of the Taratash uplift (Figure 1). U-Pb analysis of them at SHRIMP II
(VSEGEI) supported the impression of a good preservation of the zircons, showing very close and practically
concordant ages after different isotopiс ratios for the majority of crystals and ‘cluster” position of their analytical
data near the concordia (Figure 3). Fоr all 14 crystals that were studied (including the altered ones) a discordia
was obtained with parameters Т1 = 1752 ± 18 Ma and t = 227 ± 94 Ma, MSWD = 1.01. Т1 may be interpreted as
an age of the volcanics, and t—as a result of their ”late Uralian” syn-orogenic alterations. We corrected the Т1 date
choosing the crystals which experienced minimal alterations, i.e. with the parameters which are the closest to the
“primary substance”. The age T0 calculated for these crystals is 1752 ± 11 Ma, which corresponds to the age of the
volcanics in a maximal degree (Krasnobaev et al., 2013).
This time mark is an indicator not only for the Navysh volcanics, but also for the lower boundary of the whole
Riphean section of the Southern Urals. It does not contradict to a date of the last episode of granitisation under
conditions of the amphibolite facies in the crystalline basement of this region: 1777 ± 79 Ma (Krasnobaev et al.,
2011) and is also in accordance with data (Sindern et al., 2006) on the minimal age of granites of the Taratash
complex (1800 Ma). Therefore the age of the base of the Riphean is in the limits of 1750 - 1800 Ma.
3. Volcanics of the Mashak Formation
During a long time the ideas of the age of the Mashak Formation of the Yurmatinian series (the lowest Forma-
tion in the Middle Riphean) was based on two methods: Rb-Sr (1346 ± 41 Ma, whole rock) and U-Pb (zircon,
classical dating, based on a great number of grains) 1350 ± 30 Ma (Krasnobaev et al., 1985). It was a reason for
these authors to accept the age of the Mashak Formation and the base of the Yurmatinian series as 1348 ± 30 Ma.
This time mark was for a long period of time an official date for the base of the Middle Riphean (Semikhatov et
al., 1991; Stratigraphic…, 1993). Now our ideas concerning the age of the Mashak Formation have changed
(Puchkov et al., 2009, 2013; Krasnobaev et al., 2013).
In the year 2008 two zircon samples from Mashak rhyolites were analyzed by U-Pb СА-IDTIMS method in
the Boise University (USA) and the dates of 1381.1 ± 0.7 Ma and 1380.2 ± 0.5 Ma were obtained (Puchkov et
al., 2009) (Figure 4). It was close to the precision date of the Main Bakal dike, sampled by us and analyzed in
the isotope laboratory of the Toronto University (Canada): 1385.3 ± 1.4 Ma (U-Pb method, baddeleyite). The
dike cuts the Bakal Formation and is comagmatic to the Mashak basalts. The Berdyaush rapakiwi pluton and
Kusa-Kopan mafic intrusion—other types of comagmatic complexes of the same Formation (Ernst et al., 2006
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 1. Geological map of the Bashkirian anticlinorium After Geological Survey map… 2002, strongly modified. 1—
Paleozoic, 2—Vendian, 3—Uppermost Riphean, 4—Upper Riphean, 5—Middle Riphean, Zigazino-Komarov and Avzyan
Formations, 6—Zigalga Formation of the Middle Riphean, 7—Mashak Formation of the Middle Riphean, 8 - 10—Lower
Riphean: 8—Bakal and Jusha Formation, 9—Satka and Suran Formations, 10—Ai and Bolsheinzer Formations. 11—
Archean-Paleoproterozoic Taratash complex. 12—Upper Riphean Northern Uraltau complex. Intrusions: 13a—mafic, 13b—
granitic, 14—stratigraphic contacts, 15—tectonic contacts: thrusts and normal faults, 16—highways, 17—railroads.
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 2. General stratigraphic scheme of the Upper Proterozoic deposits of the Bashkirian meganticlinorium (Southern
Urals). After Geological Survey map…2002, strongly modified 1—conglobreccias (а), conglomerates (b); 2—polymictic
conglomerates; 3, 4—sandstones: 3—quartz (а) and feldspar-quartz (b), 4—arcose (а) and polymictic (b); 5—siltstones; 6—
shales; 7—limestones (а) и striated limestones (b); 8—dolomites; 9—marls; 10—quartzite-sandstones with gravel; 11—
quartzite−sandstones and quartzite; 12—mica-chlorite-quartz slate; 13—granites; 14—rhyodacites, 15—metabasalts,
16-metabasalt porphyrite; 17—gabbro; 18—highly metamorphosed rocks of the crystalline basement; 19, 20—rock
characteristics: 19—glauconite (а) and chert (b), 20—with clay component (а), carbonaceous (b); 21—органические
остаjrganic remains: stromatolites (а), microphytolites (b), microfossils (c); 22 - 24—Isotope age (Ma), methods: 22—K-Ar
glauconite (а), whole rock (b); 23—Rb-Sr: glauconite (а), породы (b); 24—U-Pb zircon (а), Pb-Pb carbonates (b).
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 3. Zircons from trachybasaltic porphyrite (Sample 2152)
of the Navysh Complex (Krasnobaev et al., 2013 a). Parameters
of discordia: Т1 = 1752 ±18 Ma, t = 227 ± 94 Ma, MSWD =
1.01; Т0 = 1752 ± 11 Ma, MSWD = 0.12, P = 0.73.
Figure 4. Concordia diagram and summaries of CA-IDTIMS isotopic data, for samples К-323 and К-808
(Puchkov et al., 2009).
and references in this paper).
A new series of U-Pb zircon analyses was made in VSEGEI (SHRIMP). An average weighted date of rhyo-
lites for 4 samples was 1383 ± 3 Ma; a presence of rare ancient crystals was also registered (1597 ± 27 Ma)
(Krasnobaev et al., 2013) (Figure 5). In the same time, two samples of zircons were sent to SHRIMP in Austra-
lia (one new and one—for a control. Both gave practically the same results: 1386 ± 5 и 1386 ± 6 Ma (Puchkov
et al., 2013). This laboratory has also reported a presence of some older crystals: 1420 - 1550 Ma; they are in-
terpreted as inherited from a substrate (Figure 6).
All the dated samples are situated ca. 300 - 400 m above the base of the Yurmatinian series and therefore we
propose the age of the boundary between the Burzyanian and Yurmatinian series at ca. 1400 Ma.
4. Volcanics of the Arshinian Series of the Uppermost (Terminal) Riphean
In the area of the Tirlyan syncline of the Southern Urals the Paleozoic sediments overlie unconformably a thick
(up to 1.5 km) series of terrigenous deposits, including tillite-like conglomerates. In the middle of the section
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 5. U-Pb ages of zircons (SHRIMP, VSEGEI) of Mashak volcanic rocks (Krasnobaev
et al., 2013 b). А. Sample 323. Т = 1387 ± 12 Ma (n = 9; MSWD = 0.22; Р = 0.64). B. Sample
898. Т = 1390 ± 15 Ma (n = 8; MSWD = 0.24; Р = 0.63). C. Sample 906. Т3 = 1382 ± 11 Ma
(n = 8; MSWD = 0.06; Р = 0.64). D. Sample 125. Т1 = 1385 ± 15 Ma (n = 7; MSWD = 1.5; Р
= 0.22). Т2 = 1597 ± 27 Ma (n = 2; MSWD = 0.06; Р = 0.82). Т3 = 536 ± 11 Ma (n = 2;
MSWD = 0.21; Р = 0.64). E. Samples: 323, 898, 906, 125. Т = 1383 ± 3.0 Ma (n = 31;
MSWD = 0.96; Р = 0.33). Р—probability.
there is a considerable unit of volcanogenic and volcano-sedimentary deposits. It overlies with an erosional con-
tact the Uk Formation of the Upper Riphean. Until recently, this series was described as an Arshinian Formation
and attributed to the Lower Vendian (Stratigraphic schemes…, 1993). We suggested to change the rank of the
unit and regard it as a series, dividing it into four Formations: Bainas, Makhmutovo, Igonino and Shumsk
(Kozlov et al., 2011). The study of zircons extracted from the volcanic rocks of Igonino Formation permitted to
come to a conclusion of a polychronous character of the Arshinian volcanism, with two main stages of its evolu-
tion with average levels of 707.0 ± 2.3 and 732.1 ± 1.7 Ma (Krasnobaev et al., 2012) (F ig ure 7).
Taking into account that the age of the base of the Vendian is accepted now at 600 ± 10 Ma (Additional…,
2000) and opinions of the majority of specialists that allow the position of the Vendian/Riphean boundary not
lower than 635 - 650 Ma, we suggest a new straton in the top of the Riphean as the Terminal, uppermost
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 6. Analytical data for zircons, obtained in Curtin University, Australia
(Puchkov et al., 2013). А. U-Pb analytical data for zircons from sample P109:
Dunansungan rhyolite, Mashak Formation. Dashed ellipses indicate analyses
not included in the calculation of the weighted mean 207Pb*/206Pb* date,
which is quoted with 95% confidence limits. B. U-Pb analytical data for
zircons from sample P125: Shatak dacite-rhyolite, Mashak Formation. Da-
shed ellipses indicate analyses not included in the calculation of the weighted
mean 207Pb*/206Pb* date, which is quoted with 95% confidence limits.
The new dates of all three levels of development of volcanic rocks in the Riphean permit to refine considerably
the stratigraphy and ages of the main stratigraphic units in the Riphean and suggest a new variant of their correla-
tion with the ISS and Chinese Neo- and Mesoproterozoic scales. The new age determination of the lava flow of
the Navysh Subformation permits to correlate a base of the Riphean with the lower boundary of the Changcheng
system of China and supports the idea that the base of the Mesoproterozoic must be established at 1800 Ma.
The boundary of the Lower and Middle Riphean in the new Scheme, is approximately analogous to the Ecsta-
sian and Calymmian boundary in the ISS or Xishan and Jixian Formations of Chinese Scheme.
The sum of geological, analytical and geochronological data permits to establish in the BMA section a new
V. N. Puchkov et al.
Figure 7. The age of zircons (а) distribution chart of dates with discordance <10 for zircons of Arsha volcanics (b). Т1 =
707.0 ± 2.3 млн. лет (n = 9, MSWD = 0.54, Р = 0.46); Т2 = 732.0 ± 1.7 млн. лет (n = 14, MSWD = 0.70, Р = 0.40); Т3
=762.7 ± 4.2 млн. лет (n = 7, MSWD = 0.84, Р = 0.36).
Table 1. Correlation of stratigraphic scales of the Proterozoic.
International scale Uralian scale Chinese scale
Period Age Eratheme,
Cryogenian 630 Nanhuan 635
Karatavian Quingbaikou 760
Tonian 850 760
Ecstasian 1200 1400 Xishan 1200
Staterian 1600 1800 Changcheng 1600
Orosirian 1800 Hutuo 1800
straton: Arshinian (Uppermost, or Terminal Riphean, RF4) in the interval of 600 - 760 Ma. The Uppermost
Riphean is correlated approximately with the Cryogenian of the ISS or Nanhuan Formation of China (Table 1).
According to provisional data (Puchkov et al., 2013, Puchkov, 2013), the time levels of volcanism of 1750 -
1780 Ma and 1380 - 1385 Ma are widely developed on continental blocks of the Nuna (Columbia) superconti-
nent at the moments of its amalgamation and beginning of its break-up, which may be connected with the super-
plume activity of a short duration (Puchkov, 2013). Therefore, the suggested time boundaries of the Riphean
may acquire an additional event support.
Authors are grateful to the Russian Foundation for Basic Research for a financial support (Projects No 12 05
0070-9-a and 09-05-00845-а.
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