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Type: Journal article
Title: A chemostratigraphic overview of the late Cryogenian interglacial sequence in the Adelaide Fold-Thrust Belt, South Australia
Author: McKirdy, D.
Burgess, J.
Lemon, N.
Yu, X.
Cooper, A.
Gostin, V.
Jenkins, R.
Both, R.
Citation: Precambrian Research, 2001; 106(1-2):149-186
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Issue Date: 2001
ISSN: 0301-9268
Abstract: Within the Neoproterozoic sequence of the Adelaide Fold-Thrust Belt, South Australia, two of the most severe ice ages in Earth history (Sturtian and Marinoan) are recorded in the glacigenic rocks which mark the base and top of the 4.5 km-thick Umberatana Group, the focus of the present chemostratigraphic study. Rock units from three drillholes and ten measured outcrop sections, located in the southern and central Flinders Ranges and on the Stuart Shelf, were sampled for isotopic analysis of their co-existing calcite (δ13Ccal), dolomite (δ13Cdol) and kerogen (δ13Corg). Strontium and sulphur isotopic analyses were also run on selected samples. The sample sites are in tectonic domains where regional metamorphism has been insufficient to significantly alter the isotopic composition of the kerogen. The resulting data, when integrated with the lithostratigraphy of the Umberatana Group, yield one of the most complete records of secular variation in the C-isotope signature of the late Cryogenian ocean between ∼ 750 and 680 Ma. Its composite δ13Ccarb curve begins with a sharp positive excursion (-3 to + 1.5‰ in the dolomitic Tindelpina Shale which caps Sturtian glacial diamictites (Wilyerpa Formation). Then follows a steady climb through the shoaling upward Tapley Hill Formation reaching +4‰ in the Brighton Limestone and culminating in a plateau of δ13C enrichment within the platformal carbonates of the Etina Formation (+ 8 to + 10‰). The upper part of the temporal trend shows a decline to + 6 to + 7‰ in the stromatolite reef facies of the Enorama Shale; and a dramatic drop to -8 to -9.5‰, followed by a recovery to -3‰, in the youngest carbonate unit (Trezona Formation) beneath the Marinoan glacigenic Elatina Formation. The latter is capped by a thin dolostone, the Nuccaleena Formation, which records a consistent up-section decrease in δ13C (- 1 to -3‰). Superimposed on this overall pattern of C-isotopic variation are second and third-order fluctuations attributable to eustatic sea-level change. Pyritic sulphur in the lower Tapley Hill Formation (δ34S = + 9 to + 40‰) is distinctly heavier than that in the underlying Wilyerpa Formation (+ 4 to + 20‰). Minimum 87Sr/86Sr values obtained from the Brighton Limestone (0.7071) and Etina Formation (0.7076) are consistent with their late Cryogenian age. This Sturtian to Marinoan interglacial succession is more complete than equivalent sequences elsewhere, and thus provides a useful reference for global chemostratigraphic correlation. Notable features of its C-isotope curve are the strong post-Wilyerpa positive excursion, also seen in key sections from Svalbard and western Mongolia; the 'Etina plateau' of 13C enrichment which is remarkably similar to maxima in the terminal Proterozoic C-isotope records of western Mongolia, north-western Canada and Brazil; and the spectacular depletion of 13C in the lower Trezona relative to similar carbonate facies in the underlying Etina Formation and Enorama Shale. A preglacial offset in δ13Ccarb values of such proportions (∼ 14‰) is almost unprecedented, except perhaps for that recently documented in the upper Ombaatjie Formation beneath tillites of the Ghaub Formation, Otavi Group, Namibia. It represents a key piece of evidence in the case presented by the proponents of a Neoproterozoic `snowball' Earth. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/S0301-9268(00)00130-3
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