Pearce, Christopher R.; Coe, Angela L. and Cohen, Anthony S.
Seawater redox variations during the deposition of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation, United Kindom (Upper Jurassic): evidence from molybdenum isotopes and trace metal ratios.
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The Kimmeridge Clay Formation (KCF) and its equivalents worldwide represent one of the most prolonged periods of organic carbon accumulation of the Mesozoic. In this study, we use the molybdenum (Mo) stable isotope system in conjunction with a range of trace metal paleoredox proxies to assess how seawater redox varied both locally and globally during the deposition of the KCF. Facies with lower organic carbon contents (TOC 1-7 wt%) were deposited under mildly reducing (suboxic) conditions, while organic?rich facies (TOC >7 wt%) accumulated under more strongly reducing (anoxic or euxinic) local conditions. Trace metal abundances are closely linked to TOC content, suggesting that the intensity of reducing conditions varied repeatedly during the deposition of the KCF and may have been related to orbitally controlled climate changes. Long-term variations in δ98/95Mo are associated with the formation of organic-rich intervals and are related to third-order fluctuations in relative sea level. Differences in the mean δ98/95Mo composition of the organic-rich intervals suggest that the global distribution of reducing conditions was more extensive during the deposition of the Pectinatites wheatleyensis and lower Pectinatites hudlestoni zones than during the deposition of the upper Pectinatites hudlestoni and Pectinatites pectinatus zones. The global extent of reducing conditions during the Kimmerigidan was greater than today but was less widespread than during the Toarcian (Early Jurassic) oceanic anoxic event. This study also demonstrates that the Mo isotope system in Jurassic seawater responded to changes in redox conditions in a manner consistent with its behavior in present-day sedimentary environments.
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