Abstract

Biostratigraphic, carbon isotope, and U-Pb zircon geochronological data from the Ara Group of Oman indicate an abrupt last appearance of Cloudina and Namacalathus coincident with a large-magnitude, but short-lived negative excursion in the carbon isotope composition of seawater that is globally coincident with the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. U-Pb zircon age data from an intercalated ash bed directly define this negative excursion to be at 542.0 ± 0.3 Ma, consistent with previous age constraints from Siberia and Namibia. Combined with the global biostratigraphic record, these new data strengthen hypotheses invoking mass extinction within terminal Proterozoic ecosystems at or near the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary.

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