Abstract

Stellate crystals of ferroan dolomite in neritic siliciclastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks between Sturtian and Marinoan glaciations in the Mackenzie Mountains are interpreted as replaced glendonites. These pseudomorphs after ikaite indicate that shallow seawater at that time was near freezing. Stromatolites verify that paleoenvironments were in the photic zone and physical sedimentary structures such as hummocky cross-bedding confirm that the seafloor was repeatedly disturbed by storms. Glendonites within these low-latitude, continental shelf to coastal sedimentary deposits imply that global ocean water during much of Cryogenian time was likely very cold. Such an ocean would easily have cooled to yield widespread sea ice and, through positive feedback, growth of low-latitude continental glaciers. In this situation gas hydrates could have formed in shallow-water, cold shelf sediment, but would have been particularly sensitive to destabilization as a result of sea-level change. Co-occurrence of pisolites and glendonites in these rocks additionally implies that some ooids and pisoids might have been, unlike Phanerozoic equivalents, characteristic of cold-water sediments.

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