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Duration and synchroneity of the largest negative carbon isotope excursion on Earth: The Shuram/Wonoka anomaly

Abstract : Carbonate δ 13C values provide a useful monitor of changes in the global carbon cycle because they can record the burial ratio of organic to carbonate carbon. The most pronounced isotope excursions in the geologic record occur during the Neoproterozoic and have assumed a central role in the interpretation of biogeochemical events preceding the Ediacaran and Cambrian radiations. The most profound negative carbon isotope excursion is best recorded in the Ediacaran-aged Shuram Formation of Oman and has potential equivalents worldwide including the Wonoka Formation of South Australia and other sections in China, India, Siberia, Canada, Scandinavia and Brazil. All these excursions are less well understood than those in the Phanerozoic because of their unusual magnitude, long duration (> 1 Ma) and the difficulty in correlating Neoproterozoic basins to confirm independently that they do indeed record global change in the mixed ocean reservoir. Alternatively, these δ 13C anomalies could reflect diachronous diagenetic processes. Currently none of these excursion are firmly time constrained and critical to their interpretation is a coherent reproducibility and synchroneity at the global ocean scale. Here we use available strontium isotope record as an independent chronometer to test the timing and synchroneity of the Shuram δ 13C and its potential equivalents. The use of the 86Sr/ 87Sr ratio allows the reconstruction of a coherent, global δ 13C record calibrated independently against time. The calibrated δ 13C curve indicates that the Shuram negative anomaly spans several tens of millions of years and reaches values below -10‰. This carbon isotopic anomaly therefore represents a meaningful oceanographic event that fundamentally challenges our understanding of the carbon cycle as defined in the Phanerozoic.
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Submitted on : Friday, February 18, 2022 - 10:36:23 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 4:35:15 AM

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Erwan Le Guerroué. Duration and synchroneity of the largest negative carbon isotope excursion on Earth: The Shuram/Wonoka anomaly. Comptes Rendus Géoscience, Elsevier, 2010, 342, pp.204-214. ⟨10.1016/j.crte.2009.12.008⟩. ⟨insu-03579575⟩

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