Abstract

The Ediacaran Period is punctuated by the ca. 580 Ma Gaskiers glaciation in Newfoundland. However, paleoclimatic data are scarce in Ediacaran successions in South China, where abundant geochemical and paleobiological data are shaping current understanding of Ediacaran evolutionary and environmental history. Here, we report the occurrence of silicified glendonites in the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation deposited in an inner-shelf environment on the South China block. Petrographic evidence suggests that these silicified glendonites are pseudomorphs after syndepositional or early authigenic ikaites formed at near-freezing temperatures. The glendonite-bearing stratigraphic interval is characterized by positive δ13C values. It predates both the negative δ13C excursion EN3 (widely believed to be an equivalent of the Shuram negative excursion) and excursion EN2. Although alternative interpretations may be possible, these glendonites may be related to and correlated with the Gaskiers glaciation. If confirmed, this correlation suggests that the Shuram event postdates the Gaskiers glaciation, thus having important implications for Ediacaran climate changes, carbon cycles, and biological evolution.

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