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A short-lived oxidation event during the early Ediacaran and delayed oxygenation of the Proterozoic ocean

Chen, Bo, Hu, Chunlin, Mills, Benjamin J. W., He, Tianchen, Andersen, Morten B. ORCID:, Chen, Xi, Liu, Pengju, Lu, Miao, Newton, Robert J., Poulton, Simon W., Shields, Graham A. and Zhu, Maoyan 2022. A short-lived oxidation event during the early Ediacaran and delayed oxygenation of the Proterozoic ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 577 , 117274. 10.1016/j.epsl.2021.117274

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The Ediacaran Period was characterised by major carbon isotope perturbations. The most extreme of these, the ∼570 Ma Shuram/DOUNCE (Doushantuo Negative Carbon isotope Excursion) anomaly, coincided with early radiations of benthic macrofauna linked to a temporary expansion in the extent of oxygenated seawater. Here we document an earlier negative excursion (the ∼610 Ma WANCE (Weng'An Negative Carbon isotope Excursion)) anomaly in the Yangtze Gorges area, South China, that reached equally extreme carbon isotope values and was associated with a similar degree of environmental perturbation. Specifically, new uranium isotope data evidence a significant, but transient, shift towards more oxygenated conditions in tandem with decreasing carbon isotope values, while strontium and sulfur isotope data support an increase in continental weathering through the excursion. We utilize a biogeochemical modelling approach to demonstrate that the influx of such a weathering pulse into an organically-laden, largely anoxic ocean, fully reproduces each of these distinct isotopic trends. Our study directly supports the hypothesis that a large dissolved marine organic pool effectively buffered against widespread oxygenation of the marine environment through the Proterozoic Eon, and in doing so, substantially delayed the radiation of complex aerobic life on Earth.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-821X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 October 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 September 2021
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 07:24

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