2020, 58 (
The continuous Silurian strata are well developed and exposed with abundant fossils in Qujing Area of Yunnan Province, which makes Qujing as one of ideal areas in China for the research of Silurian stratigraphy and paleontology for a long time. The Kuanti Formation has become the focus of attention for early vertebrate researchers in the world, since tremendous amount of fossil fishes were found in the formation exposed in the surrounding areas of Qujing in 2007, which eventually led to the discovery and establishment of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna in 2009. However, the stratigraphic subdivision, correlation and the geological age of the Kuanti Formation in Qujing still remain contentious, although many biostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic attempts have been made since the formation was named in 1914. Based on the detailed field geological investigation in recent years in the surrounding areas of Xiaoxiang Reservoir and the measured data of one continuous section (Shangtielu-Dongpo Section), together with many previous paleontological and stratigraphic works, this paper redefines the Kuanti Formation containing abundant Silurian fishes in Qujing Area and further discusses its geological age. According to the main lithological changes and paleontological characteristics, the Yuejiashan Formation which was separated by some researchers from the lower part of the Kuanti Formation is abandoned here. In the paper, the redefined Kuanti Formation can be subdivided into four members in ascending order. Member I (Yuejiashan Member) is characterised by yellow-green and gray-green shales intercalated with thin-bedded fine sandstones or siltstones and several thin-bedded fine-grained conglomerates bearing fragments of fossil fishes in its lower and middle parts. Member II (Chongjiawan Member) is represented by gray-green and purple-red shales, intercalated with light grey middle- to thin-bedded or lenticular limestones or bioclastic limestones containing many brachiopod fossils. Member III (Cailian Member) is dominated by purple-red and gray-green silty and calcareous mudstones or marls intercalated with minor purple-red or yellow-green shales or siltstones, containing brachiopods, fossil fishes and stout tubular trace fossils. A set of middle-thick-bedded fine sandstone with small thickness is usually developed in the bottom of the member, which becomes the obvious marker of the boundary between Member III and Member II. Member IV (Dongpo Member) is composed of gray-green and yellow-green mudstones and shales intercalated with thin-bedded or lenticular argillaceous limestones and marlites. Abundant fossil fishes of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna were found in the argillaceous limestones in the lower part, and coral fossils in the upper part. Mainly based on the records of fossil fishes, conodonts and other paleontological data, the age of Member III to Member IV of the Kuanti Formation, containing the main fish-bearing strata of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna and conodont Ozarkodina crispa, should be assigned to the Ludfordian Stage of the Ludlow, and Member I to Member II can be referred to the Gorstian Stage of the Ludlow, Silurian. Based on the current stratigraphic data, the possibility of its bottom extending down to Wenlock is not excluded.