Friday, June 24, 2016

Evidence of a Microbial Dominated Ocean During the Late MesoProterozoic

Carbonate rocks and related facies with vestiges of biomarkers: Clues to redox conditions in the Mesoproterozoic ocean


Patranabis-Deb et al


The Raipur Group of the Chattisgarh Basin preserves two major Late Mesoproterozoic carbonate platforms. The lower platform is about 490-m thick, separated from the upper platform (~ 670 m thick) by a 500-m thick calcareous shale. Carbonate strata cover almost 40% of the Chattisgarh Basin outcrop and represent two major platform types: a) a non-stromatolitic ramp (the Charmuria/Sarangarh Limestone) and b) a platform developed chiefly in the intertidal to shallow subtidal environment with prolific growth of stromatolites (the Chandi/Saradih Limestone). The first platform consists primarily of the black Timarlaga limestone that is locally replaced by early diagenetic dolomite. This carbonate platform experienced strong storm waves and was subsequently drowned by a major transgression, during which extensive black limestone–marl rhythmite was deposited, followed by deposition of the Gunderdehi Shale. The carbonate factory was later re-established with development of an extensive stromatolite-dominated Charmuria/Sarangarh platform that ranged from restricted embayment to open-marine conditions. Sea-level change played a major role in controlling the broad facies pattern and platform evolution. The δ13C signatures of the Chattisgarh limestones, falling within a relatively narrow range (0 to + 4‰) are typical for Upper Mesoproterozoic carbonate rocks. δ18O values, however, have a greater range (− 5.7 to − 13.3‰) indicating significant diagenetic alteration of some samples. Likely dysoxic or anoxic conditions prevailed during deposition of the black Timarlaga limestone and well-oxygenated conditions during deposition of the Gunderdehi Shale and Saradih/Chandi stromatolite. The lack of 17β,21α (moretanes) and high Tmax values suggest mature organic matter in the non-stromatolitic ramp. A paucity of diagnostic eukaryotic steroids indicates that algae were rare in the Chattisgarh Basin. A high content of hopanes supports a generally bacterially-dominated Proterozoic ocean in which various stromatolites flourished.

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