Reconstruction of the Hirnantian (Late Ordovician) palaeotopography in South China is important for understanding the distribution pattern of the Hirnantian marine depositional environment. In this study, we reconstructed the Hirnantian palaeotopography in the Upper Yangtze region based on the rankings of the palaeo-water depths, which were inferred according to the lithofacies and biofacies characteristics of the sections. Data from 374 Hirnantian sections were collected and standardized through the online Geobiodiversity Database. The Ordinary Kriging interpolation method in the ArcGIS software was applied to create the continuous surface of the palaeo-water depths, i.e. the Hirnantian palaeotopography. Meanwhile, the line transect analysis was used to further observe the terrain changes along two given directions.
The reconstructed palaeotopographic map shows a relatively flat and shallow epicontinental sea with three local depressions and a submarine high on the Upper Yangtze region during the Hirnantian. The water depth is mostly less than 60 m and the Yangtze Sea gradually deepens towards the north.
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