Abstract

Late Middle to Late Ordovician subtidal ramp carbonates of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma contain abundant spiculitic chert (to 70% chert by volume) and phosphate (1–5 wt%), indicating that these rocks formed in an extensive upwelling zone. Upwelling began in the late Middle Ordovician (ca. 454 Ma) and persisted until the end of the Ordovician. Late Ordovician cherty carbonates also occur along the U.S. Cordilleran margin, in board of organic-rich graptolitic shale and chert. The widespread occurrence of Late Ordovician cherty and phosphatic carbonates on southern and western Laurentia, in addition to phosphate-rich, cool-water carbonates over much of the North American Midcontinent, suggests vigorous thermohaline circulation related to prolonged (10–14 Ma) Gondwana glaciation.

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