Capturing the loss of mass-independent sulphur isotope fractionation (MIF-S), the correlative South African Duitschland and Rooihoogte formations are widely held to bear the isotopic fingerprint of the first atmospheric oxygenation at the onset of the so-called Great Oxidation Event (GOE). Surprisingly, however, while the multiple sulphur isotope systematics of these formations remain central to our understanding of the GOE, until now, comparatively little work has been done to elucidate the repercussions within the marine realm. Here we present chemostratigraphic records from four drill cores covering a large area of the Transvaal Basin, transcending these crucial units and continuing into the overlying Timeball Hill Formation (TBH), that document the immediate, yet counterintuitive, marine response to atmospheric oxygenation. Specifically, irrespective of the interpretative framework employed, our basin-wide redox-sensitive trace element data document an environmental change from oxic/suboxic conditions within the lower and middle parts of the Duitschland and Rooihoogte formations to suboxic/anoxic conditions within their upper reaches. Interestingly, in concert with a ~35‰ negative δ34S excursion that implicates increased sulphate availability and bacterial sulphate reduction, δ98/95Mo3134+0.25 values increase by ~1.0 to 1.5‰. Combining these observations with increased Fe/Mn ratios, elevated total sulphur and carbon contents and a trend towards lower δ13Corg values imply a shift toward less oxygenated conditions across the Transvaal Basin. The combined observations in the mentioned parameters expose a geobiological feedback-driven causality between the earliest oxygenation of the atmosphere and decreased redox potentials of medium to deep marine environments, at least within the Transvaal Basin.

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