Natural Resources, School of


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Institute for Tertiary-Quaternary Studies, TER-QUA Symposium Series, (July 2002) Volume 3.

Edited by Wakefield Dort, Jr.


Copyright 2002, Pei-Hua Huang, R. F. Diffendal, Jr., and Ming-Qing Yang. Used by permission.


Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) is an 1864-m granite massif situated at 30° 10′ N and 118° 11′ E, south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The granite formed during the Early Cretaceous and was subsequently uplifted several times along faults. After the initial uplift, about 54 Ma, erosion proceeded to wear away the mountain for the next 30 Ma. By 24 Ma the Bright Summit Peneplain had formed. Renewed uplift in the Miocene along the same fault systems produced a mountain in the same place as the original one. This mountain was eroded to produce a second mature denudational in the Pliocene. Subsequent uplift has again elevated the massif and erosion is continuing. Three sets of joints and numerous faults cut the rocks of Huangshan. The joint sets are oriented E-W, N-S, and NE-SW. Faults are similarly oriented, but include some with N60W strikes.

It has been proposed that Huangshan was a site of Quaternary glaciation. However, no erosional topography or deposits on or adjacent to Huangshan appear to be glacial in origin. The granite surface of the mountain is exfoliated, spheroidally weathered, and has sheeting in places. Weathering and fluvial erosion have produced the geomorphologic features of Huangshan.