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Coupled molybdenum, iron and uranium stable isotopes as oceanic paleoredox proxies during the Paleoproterozoic Shunga Event

Abstract : The Paleoproterozoic Era was a time of remarkable importance in the redox evolution of Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Here, we present a multi-proxy study of Mo, U and Fe isotopes together with Fe speciation of black shales and siltstones from the upper Zaonega Formation of the Onega Basin in Karelia. We attempt to better understand oceanic redox conditions during the 2.05 Ga Shunga Event as the next step following the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) and the Lomagundi carbon isotope excursion Event. A cautious examination of the Fe speciation data shows that the studied section was deposited under dominantly euxinic conditions (anoxic and sulfidic) and that the lower part of the section experienced metamorphism through which pyrite was altered to pyrrhotite. During this episode, the system was closed with respect to Fe but not sulfur. The Mo and U isotopic compositions (corrected for detrital input) were not affected by the metamorphism and loss of S and are fairly uniform throughout the entire section. The Fe isotope compositions are exceptionally heavy in the lower part of the section (up to δ56FeIRMM-14 = 0.83‰) and become lighter towards the upper intervals, which also show significant [Mo] and [U] enrichments. We suggest that this pattern reflects changes in the position of the deposition site relative to the redox structure of the water column. The upper part was deposited within a locally euxinic portion of the basin where H2S availability was highest, removal of Mo and U was more efficient and precipitated pyrite captured relatively non-fractionated dissolved Fe. In other words, quantitative uptake of Fe was favored. In contrast, the lower interval was deposited on the lower margin of a euxinic wedge where H2S availability was lower, and removal of Mo and U was less efficient. Pyrite precipitation in this part of the water column reflected a more fractionated dissolved Fe reservoir due to more protracted, non-quantitative Fe uptake because of less efficient pyrite formation under lower sulfide conditions and greater access to the large oceanic pool of Fe. The U isotopic signal was corrected for detrital contribution giving compositions similar to the riverine input and suggesting that co-precipitation into carbonates was the main process of U removal at this time. We estimate the Mo isotope composition of the contemporaneous ocean to be δ98MoSW = 0.85 ± 0.21‰. This is the lowest value yet reported for the Proterozoic ocean, suggesting that the oceanic Mo cycle was dominated by euxinic and anoxic sinks with negligible Mo removal into oxic environments. Recent studies have proposed a sharp increase in ocean-atmosphere oxygen levels during the Lomagundi Event followed by a dramatic crash. Our results from black shales of the 2.05 Ga Shunga Event are consistent with a post-Lomagundi decrease in biospheric oxygen levels.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 20, 2014 - 3:31:47 PM
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Dan Asael, François Lh Tissot, Christopher T. Reinhard, Olivier Rouxel, Nicolas Dauphas, et al.. Coupled molybdenum, iron and uranium stable isotopes as oceanic paleoredox proxies during the Paleoproterozoic Shunga Event. Chemical Geology, Elsevier, 2013, 362, pp.193-210. ⟨10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.08.003⟩. ⟨insu-00933477⟩

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