The response of sediment routing to climatic changes across icehouse-to-greenhouse turnovers is not well documented in Earth’s pre-Cenozoic sedimentary record. Southwest Gondwana hosts one of the thickest and most laterally extensive records of Earth’s penultimate icehouse, the late Paleozoic ice age. We present the first high-resolution U-Pb zircon chemical abrasion−isotope dilution−thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) analysis of late Paleozoic ice age deposits in the Kalahari Basin of southern Africa, which, coupled with existing CA-ID-TIMS zircon records from the Paraná and Karoo Basins, we used to refine the late Paleozoic ice age glacial history of SW Gondwana. Key findings from this work suggest that subglacial evidence in the Kalahari region is restricted to the Carboniferous (older than 300 Ma), with glacially influenced deposits culminating in this region by the earliest Permian (296 Ma). The U-Pb detrital zircon geochronologic records from the Paraná Basin of South America, which was located downstream of the Kalahari Basin in the latest Carboniferous and Permian, indicate that large-scale changes in sediment supplied to the Paraná were contemporaneous with shifts in the SW Gondwana ice record. Gondwanan deglaciation events were associated with the delivery of far-field, African-sourced sediments into the Paraná Basin. In contrast, Gondwanan glacial periods were associated with the restriction of African-sourced sediments into the basin. We interpret the influx of far-field sediments into the Paraná Basin as an expansion of the catchment area for the Paraná Basin during the deglaciation events, which occurred in the latest Carboniferous (300−299 Ma), early Permian (296 Ma), and late early Permian (<284 Ma). The coupled ice and detrital zircon records for this region of Gondwana present opportunities to investigate climate feedbacks associated with changes in freshwater and nutrient delivery to late Paleozoic ocean basins across the turnover from icehouse to greenhouse conditions.
High-latitude ice and climate control on sediment supply across SW Gondwana during the late Carboniferous and early Permian
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N. Griffis, I. Montañez, R. Mundil, D. Le Heron, P. Dietrich, C. Kettler, B. Linol, T. Mottin, F. Vesely, R. Iannuzzi, M. Huyskens, Q.-Z. Yin; High-latitude ice and climate control on sediment supply across SW Gondwana during the late Carboniferous and early Permian. GSA Bulletin 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B35852.1
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