The Marinoan cap carbonate of Svalbard: Syngenetic marine dolomite with 17O-anomalous carbonate‐associated sulphate

Fairchild, Ian J; Bao, Huiming; Windmill, Richard and Boomer, Ian (2023). The Marinoan cap carbonate of Svalbard: Syngenetic marine dolomite with 17O-anomalous carbonate‐associated sulphate. The Depositional Record, 9(3) pp. 482–507.



Two cap carbonates overlying Cryogenian panglacial deposits are found in North- East Svalbard of which the younger (635 Ma) forms the base of the Ediacaran Period. It is represented by a transgressive succession in which laminated do-lostone, typically around 20 m thick (Member D1), is succeeded transitionally by a similar thickness of impure carbonates (Member D2). In Spitsbergen, there is evidence of microbially influenced sediment stabilisation and carbonate precipitation in the lower part of D1, whilst the upper part of D1 and D2 show centimetre- decimetre- scale graded units with undulatory lamination interpreted as evidence of storm activity. Carbonate originated as possible freshwater whitings, as well as microbial precipitates. Exhumed and eroded hardgrounds display replacive 10– 30 μm dolomite crystals with cathodoluminescence characteris-tics consistent with early diagenetic manganese and iron reduction. Regionally, carbon isotope values consistently decrease by around 2‰ from around −3‰ over 30 m of section which is both a temporal and a bathymetric signal, but not a global one. An exponential decline in carbonate production predicted by box models is fitted by a semi- quantitative sedimentation model. A mass- anomalous 17O depletion in carbonate- associated sulphate in dolomite, inherited from pre-cursor calcite, decreases from −0.6 to −0.3‰ in the basal 15 m of section and then approaches background values. The post- glacial anomalous 17O depletion in carbonate- associated sulphate and barite elsewhere has been interpreted in terms of ultra- high pCO2 at the onset of deglaciation. Such anomalies, with larger amplitude, have been reported in Svalbard from underlying lacustrine and tufa-ceous limestones representing a hyperarid glacial environment. The anomalous sulphate could be produced contemporarily, or the internally drained landscape may have continued to release 17O-anomalous sulphate as it was transgressed during cap carbonate deposition. The late Cryogenian to earliest Ediacaran record in Svalbard provides the most complete record of the basal 17O - depletion event in the world.

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