Abstract

A large drop in seawater 87Sr/86Sr during the Middle Ordovician was among the most rapid in the entire Phanerozoic. New 87Sr/86Sr measurements from Nevada indicate that the rapid shift began in the Pygodus serra conodont zone of the upper Darriwilian Stage. We use a numerical model to explore the hypothesis that volcanic weathering provided the flux of nonradiogenic Sr to the oceans. A close balance between volcanic outgassing and CO2 consumption from weathering produced steady pCO2 levels and climate through the middle Katian, consistent with recent Ordovician paleotemperature estimates. In the late Katian, outgassing was reduced while volcanic weathering continued, and resulted in a cooling episode leading into the well-known end-Ordovician glaciation.

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