Abstract

Elemental abundances (including Ir), carbon and oxygen ratios in carbonates, mineral content, and thin sections have been measured in samples collected across the conodont-defined Ordovician/Silurian (O/S) boundary exposed on Anticosti Island, Quebec. The Ir concentrations ranged from 5 to a maximum at the boundary of 58 parts per trillion (ppt). However, there is no evidence, on the basis of these Ir results, for the association of a large-body-Earth impact with the O/S extinction, because the Ir concentrations, like those of most other trace elements, are simply proportional to the clay (Al) content in the carbonate sequence. The 13C/12C and 18O/16O ratios decrease abruptly at the boundary, then just as abruptly increase to a long period of higher than preboundary ratios. These patterns are probably related to the salinity in the seaway, which was shallowing up to boundary time and then deepened and developed patch-reefs. Fresh-water input from rivers would have been most influential during the shallow-water conditions.

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