Distribution of iridium and associated geochemistry across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary in sections at Kuhjoch and Kendlbach, Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria
Tanner et al
Samples from strata spanning the Triassic–Jurassic boundary at the GSSP at Kuhjoch and at Kendlbachgraben were studied by NAA, XRF and combustion analysis to determine Ir levels and associated geochemistry. The results are compared to previously determined carbon isotope stratigraphy at these sections. Ir concentrations in the limestones of the Kössen Formation at Kuhjoch are very low (< 10 pg/g) below the top of the formation, rising to 26 pg/g, in the T-bed at the top of the Eiberg Member. The Tiefengraben Member of the Kendlbach Formation exhibits higher concentrations of Ir in general relative to the strata below. The shift to higher levels is abrupt at the base of the member, coinciding with a decrease in carbonate content. Concentrations of 60 to 80 pg/g are typical through the entire thickness of the Schattwald Beds and into the gray Tiefengraben Member strata, peaking at 145 pg/g. Concentrations decline to 30–40 pg/g above 680 cm from the formation base, coinciding with increasing carbonate content. The analyses from the Kendlbachgraben section compare well with those from Kuhjoch, with similar difference in Ir concentration between the Kössen and Kendlbach formations. In both sections, the initial increase in Ir corresponds to the initial carbon isotope excursion. Concentrations of redox-sensitive elements indicate transient reducing conditions during deposition of the uppermost Kössen Formation, but oxidizing conditions during Tiefengraben Member deposition. The Al/Ti ratio indicates more intense weathering during deposition of the lowermost 20 cm of the Tiefengraben Member, but otherwise consistently humid to sub-humid climate prevailed during deposition. The primary control on Ir concentration in the sampled section is formation lithology, although there are variations within the Tiefengraben Member that are independent of carbonate content. Enrichment of Ir at the top of the T-bed is associated with a redox boundary, but the cause of other variations is undetermined.