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  Value lies beneath the surface  

  

 

Several powerful geological movements in Earth's geological evolution have created the marvellous and unique Taishan Mountain in East China's Shandong Province.

Some 2.5 billion years ago, the primitive form of Taishan emerged from the sea. Since then, the area has experienced five major shifts in the Earth's crust, including the westward push of sea plates, the eastward pull of Yanshan Mountain and later, the Himalayas' movement.

The last major geological movement the Neotectonic Movement 2 or 3 million years ago further shaped the current steep, tall physiognomy of Taishan.

Taishan's geological composition is very complicated, because of repeated tectonic movements in different eras. There are pleats and ruptures piling on top of each other to create varying surfaces and structures.

Among the various rocks in Taishan, which are the oldest in North China, Komatite is the most unique. The Komatite in Taishan Mountain is the only widely recognized ultrobasic eruptive rock formed by a volcanic eruption in the Archaean Eon some 2.5 billion years ago.

Ultrobasic rock is a term for one of the oldest forms of rocks.

In the early stages of the study of petrology, ultrobasic rock was thought not to be eruptive. However, the discovery of Komatite proves that it can be, meaning the existence of Komatite in Taishan is of great scientific value.

Scientists say it provides important insight into the mechanics of early Earth.

But Komatite is not the only treasure of Taishan.

The intrusive rocks formed between the Archaean Eon and Proterozoic Era 800 million years ago are widely distributed in Taishan, accounting for 95 per cent of its total rocks.

As the primary geological material of Taishan, the mountain's intrusive rock comes in 15 forms.

The large-scale intrusive rocks in Taishan offer objective evidence of the formation of large quantities of granite in the Archaean Eon.

The intrusive rocks have been exposed to moderate acidity and have transformed from time to time during later stages of tectonic movements.

In Taishan, the unique "bucket form" of intrusive rocks have great scientific and scenic value.

According to geologists, the characteristics of Taishan's intrusive rocks are typical in China, providing insight into rock evolution from the Archaean Eon to the Proterozoic Era.

Given the features of Taishan's rocks, Taishan is considered a window for studying ancient land platform formations in China and a laboratory for exploring the secrets of early Earth.

The mountain is crucial in determining the timeframe of China's development.

It is an important site for studying geological evolution from granite to greenstone belts and understanding crust fission, spelling and fusion in eastern China during the Archaean Eon.

Taishan's geological value lies not only in its geological formation in the Archaean Eon, but also in the environmental changes of the more recent Cambrian Period some 500 million years ago.

The section plane in Zhangxia Town the northern part of Taishan is a carbonate and clastic stratum sunk from the shallow sea in the Cambrian Period of the Palaeozoic Era (between 240 million and 570 millions year ago).

The underlying stratum of the Cambrian section plane is the granite stratum formed during the Proterozoic Era of the Precambrian Eon (800 million to 2.5 billion years ago).

The special geological stratum has attracted geologists as early as the late 19th century, when the US and Japanese geologists began to inspect its geological structure and collect fossils along the line between Zhangxia and Gushan in the northern part of Taishan.

Following their initial studies, Sun Yunzhu (1895-1979), a famous Chinese geologist, started studying the Cambrian stratum in Zhangxia in1923 and continued for 20 years.

Others took up the work in the early 1950s when 17 trilobite fossil belts were discovered.

More than half a century of studies have concluded that the section plane of Zhangxia Stratum in Taishanhave complete stratum evolution forms, high exposure level and are fully representative of all strata in the same period.

It is also rich in trilobite fossils. Consequently, in 1959, the Zhangxia Stratum was determined to be the standard section plane of Cambrian stratum in North China.

This status represents Taishan's unique importance in the study of geological evolution, not only in North China, but also across the world.

 

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