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Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Silurian brachiopods; implications for coeval seawater and glaciations

Karem Azmy, Jan Veizer, Michael G. Bassett and Paul Copper
Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Silurian brachiopods; implications for coeval seawater and glaciations
Geological Society of America Bulletin (November 1998) 110 (11): 1499-1512

Abstract

We collected 236 calcitic brachiopod shells, covering the entire Silurian Period ( approximately 30 m.y.), at high temporal resolution from stratotype sections from Anticosti Island (Canada), Wales (United Kingdom), the Oslo region (Norway), Gotland (Sweden), and Podolia (Ukraine), Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Data from petrography, scanning electron microscopy, cathodoluminescence, isotopes, and trace elements all confirmed that there was excellent preservation in most shells, thus arguing for retention of primary isotope signals; exceptions were samples from the Oslo region. The delta (super 18) O and delta (super 13) C values for the well-preserved samples range from -2% to -6.5% and from -1% to 7.5% (Peedee belemnite), respectively. In terms of temporal trends, oxygen and carbon isotopes vary in parallel, with a slight decrease with declining age of approximately 1% through Silurian time, with superimposed short-term oscillations that are negatively correlated with sea-level changes. Three successive positive delta (super 18) O shifts in early Aeronian, latest Aeronian, and early Wenlock time correlate with sea-level lowstands and with glacial diamictite deposits in the Amazon Basin and in Africa. The high delta (super 18) O and delta (super 13) C values are attributed to cold episodes with low sea levels and low values to warm episodes with high sea levels. During warm Silurian episodes, the delta (super 18) O value of seawater is suggested to have been about -3.5% standard mean ocean water (SMOW) and the global tropical temperatures of about 20-30 degrees C, similar to the present-day values in summer. During glacial episodes, seawater is proposed to have had a delta (super 18) O value of approximately -2.5% (SMOW) and temperature of about 14-23 degrees C, comparable to tropical temperatures proposed for the last glacial episode (14 to 28 degrees C). Three positive delta (super 13) C peaks, in early and late Wenlock and late Ludlow time, likely of regional to global significance, appear to coincide with sea-level lowstands, but we are as yet unable to propose a convincing causative geologic scenario that would explain their origin.


ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Coden: BUGMAF
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 110
Serial Issue: 11
Title: Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Silurian brachiopods; implications for coeval seawater and glaciations
Affiliation: University of Ottawa, Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Ottawa, ON, Canada
Pages: 1499-1512
Published: 199811
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 86
Accession Number: 1999-000399
Categories: StratigraphyIsotope geochemistry
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables
Secondary Affiliation: National Museum of Wales, GBR, United KingdomLaurentian University, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 199901
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