The Kuanyinchiao Formation (Hirnantian, Upper Ordovician), yielding the typical Hirnantia fauna, has commonly been accepted as representing cool-water sediments deposited during the glacial interval in the Hirnantian Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) region of South China. Recent investigation reveals that the uppermost carbonate-dominated part of this formation yields a warm-water rugose coral fauna with Silurian affinities at many localities of northern Guizhou Province, which substantially differs from the underlying cool-water fauna. This suggests that these carbonates were probably postglacial warm-water sediments, rather than having formed during the Hirnantian glacial interval as previously thought. Such a conclusion is consistent with the evidence from the associated brachiopod fauna, i.e., the Dalmanella testudinariaDorytreta longicrura community, which is similarly distinct from the underlying typical Hirnantia fauna. The sedimentological data show warm-water features at the same level (e.g., the presence of oolitic grains), also supporting this new interpretation.

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