Abstract

The late Paleozoic is well documented as a time of significant continental glaciation, but the extents of the glaciation and attendant glacioeustasy are not well constrained because precise amplitudes of eustasy are difficult to extract from the stratigraphic record. In this paper, we use preserved relief on ancient subaerial exposure surfaces of large algal bioherms to demonstrate directly that Late Pennsylvanian glacioeustasy reached minimum amplitudes of 80 m and probably exceeded 100 m. Upper Paleozoic algal bioherms accreted predominantly during sea-level falls, but also during sea-level rises and highstands, and were capable of remarkably rapid growth rates. Eustatic amplitudes in excess of 100 m approach amounts documented for the Pleistocene, and place constraints on models for Gondwanan ice volume, climate dynamics, and potential character and magnitude of glacioclimatic fluctuations.

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