Abstract

In an attempt to understand the origin of an Ir-rich unit near the Late Devonian Frasnian-Famennian (F/F) boundary in the Canning basin of Western Australia, we have examined two lithologically similar Early Cambrian and late Oligocene age horizons from southeastern Australia. Both consist of stromatolitic iron oxide and carbonate petrographically similar to the Ir-rich Frutexites microstromatolites near the F/F boundary. Significant siderophile and chalcophile element anomalies (Ir, Pt, and Ru up to 1.1, 14, and 1.2 ppb, respectively) at both horizons have a geochemistry similar to that of the F/F Frutexites anomaly. As with the F/F bed, the Cambrian and Oligocene stromatolitic beds are closely associated with synsedimentary hardgrounds that contain evidence of subaerial exposure. We suggest that all of these Ir-rich stromatolitic beds developed in response to relative sea-level change and represent periods of condensed marine sedimentation. It is probable that condensation was produced by rapid drowning following subaerial exposure.

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