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The sulfur isotope composition of carbonate-associated sulfate in Mesoproterozoic to Neoproterozoic carbonates from Death Valley, California

By
Matthew T. Hurtgen
Matthew T. Hurtgen
1
Penn State Astrobiology Research Center and Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
3
Present address: Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA, mhurtgen@fas.harvard.edu.
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Michael A. Arthur
Michael A. Arthur
1
Penn State Astrobiology Research Center and Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA
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Anthony R. Prave
Anthony R. Prave
2
School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AL, Scotland
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Published:
January 01, 2004

We have analyzed the concentration and sulfur isotope composition of trace sulfate in carbonate from three Proterozoic formations in Death Valley, California. Trace sulfate concentrations for the Crystal Spring Formation and Beck Spring Dolomite, which were deposited in the late Mesoproterozoic and mid-Neoproterozoic and are not associated with glacial sediments, range from 0 to 144 ppm with δ34Ssulfate values spanning 11.0‰–27.4‰. Within these formations, stratigraphic shifts in δ34Ssulfate of up to ∼9‰ occur over <50 m. Trace sulfate concentrations for the Noonday Dolomite, which was deposited in the late Neoproterozoic and directly overlies glacial sediments associated with the “snowball Earth” events, range from 2 to 272 ppm with δ34Ssulfate values varying between 15‰ and 35‰. The ∼17‰ δ34 Ssulfate increase at the base of the Noonday Dolomite is similar in magnitude and rate to the >20‰ positive δ34S shifts recorded in Neoproterozoic postglacial carbonates from Namibia. The results indicate that the sulfur cycle behaved differently in the late versus early Neoproterozoic as a possible consequence of severe late Neoproterozoic glacial events. Furthermore, based on δ34Ssulfate patterns and carbonate-associated sulfate concentrations recorded in the Crystal Spring and Beck Spring formations, we speculate that late Mesoproterozoic to mid-Neoproterozoic oceanic sulfate concentrations were ∼10% of modern values (e.g., ∼3 mM).

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GSA Special Papers

Sulfur Biogeochemistry - Past and Present

Jan P. Amend
Jan P. Amend
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Katrina J. Edwards
Katrina J. Edwards
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Timothy W. Lyons
Timothy W. Lyons
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Geological Society of America
Volume
379
ISBN print:
9780813723792
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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