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Abstract

The Neoproterozoic succession of East and North-East Greenland (over 14 000 m thick) includes the Eleonore Bay Supergroup (?Tonian–Cryogenian) and the Tillite Group (Cryogenian–Ediacaran). The upper units of the Eleonore Bay Supergroup consist of shallow to deeper-water carbonates, succeeded by siliciclastic fine-grained sediments (Bedgroup 19) that characterize the top unit of the supergroup.

The Tillite Group includes two diamictite-bearing units (Ulvesø and Storeelv formations) of glaciogenic origin and two upper, upwards-shallowing strata (Canyon and Spiral Creek formations) that were deposited during semiarid conditions and concluded the Neoproterozoic depositional cycle. Diamictite is preserved on the craton and compares with the Storeelv Formation (Fm.) of the Tillite Group.

Detailed investigations of the diamictite-bearing units (i.e. Ulvesø and Storeelv formations) demonstrate that the lower of the two formations is mainly of marine origin, whereas the upper one has both marine and terrestrial origins. Chemostratigraphic data include analyses on total carbon (TC), total organic carbon (TOC), total sulphur (TS) and δ13C. The data set for δ13C shows a substantial and abrupt shift towards negative values of ≥10%, from below Bedgroup 19. Low-diversity acritarch assemblages (Cryogenian) are recorded from the Andrée Land and Tillite groups; a thin cherty dolostone unit present above the Storeelv Fm. suggests that the diamictite units are of late Cryogenian age and the upper part of the Tillite Group is Ediacaran.

Bedgroup 19 disconformably overlies older carbonates and the unit is a prelude to the succeeding (upper Cryogenian–lower Ediacaran) diamictite sediments of the Tillite Group. A disconformity separates the Tillite Group from the overlying Lower Palaeozoic sediments. Both disconformities are, according to palaeomagnetic data, related to rift–drift episodes that occurred during the late Neoproterozoic. Alternatively, the isotope data suggest that the diamictites were deposited during the late Cryogenian glaciation and the older disconformity may be interpreted as a significant gap developed by the lowering of sea level during an early Cryogenian glaciation.

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