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Dr Alan Channing

Hot spring environments and ecosystems through time
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Cretaceous Sinters Heilongjiang Province, NE, China

The Sipingshan and Daiwanglazi Gold Mines in Heilongjiang Province occur on hill tops that are capped with thick sinter deposits that are in places 8-10 m thick.

Mining activity has removed much of the sinters although extensive in situ remnants occur at both localities.

Laminated sinter apron chert textures dominate at the two sites and fossil plants are sparse and difficult to spot. Three main chert fabrics are present; finely laminated cherts, some with bedding parallel vuggy porosity, suggest areas of apron proximal to hot spring vents, thicker bedded cherts with vertical microbial fabrics suggest more distal cooler apron areas. Sparse blocks of mottled to massive chert appear to represent apron margins.

Detail from image above showing vertical fabric created by silicification of thick microbial mat.

Chert block with bedding parallel porosity

Typical chert texture at Sipingshan Mine, Alternations of dark (organic-rich) chert and lighter cleaner chert. Lamination is horizontal but there is significant topography suggesting the presence of micro-terraces and pools.