Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Marine redox fluctuation as a potential trigger for the Cambrian explosion

Wei Guangyi, Noah J. Planavsky, Lidya G. Tarhan, Chen Xi, Wei Wei, Li Da and Ling Hongfei
Marine redox fluctuation as a potential trigger for the Cambrian explosion
Geology (Boulder) (May 2018) Pre-Issue Publication


The diversification of metazoans during the latest Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian has been attributed to, among other factors, a progressive rise in surface oxygen levels. However, recent results have also questioned the idea of a prominent rise in atmospheric oxygen levels or a major or unidirectional shift in the marine redox landscape across this interval. Here, we present new carbonate-associated uranium isotope data from upper Ediacaran to lower Cambrian marine carbonate successions. These data provide evidence for short-lived episodes of widespread marine anoxia near the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition and during Cambrian Age 2 (ca. 525 Ma). We suggest that biotic turnover and resulting ecological restructuring, triggered by marine redox fluctuations rather than progressive oxygenation, were the dominant drivers of the Cambrian explosion. Episodes of harsh environmental conditions against a backdrop of Proterozoic-Phanerozoic oceanic oxygenation on the eve of the Cambrian explosion could have, by promoting ecosystem restructuring, spurred the diversification of the Cambrian Evolutionary Fauna.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: Pre-Issue Publication
Title: Marine redox fluctuation as a potential trigger for the Cambrian explosion
Affiliation: Nanjing University, Department of Earth Sciences, Nanjing, China
Published: 20180530
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 27
Accession Number: 2018-049536
Categories: Stratigraphy
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: GSA Data Repository item 2018195
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N29°00'00" - N33°19'60", E108°30'00" - E116°00'00"
N21°40'00" - N29°00'00", E97°30'00" - E106°10'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Yale University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201812
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal