Friday, October 14, 2016

Ediacaran Oceans had a Higher Sulfate Concentration


Zhou et al


Authigenic carbonate associated with anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM), usually via microbial sulfate reduction (MSR) or ferric iron reduction, is generally characterized by extremely low δ13C values (<− 30‰, VPDB). This has been used as one of the major diagnostic features for the recognition of hydrocarbon seep carbonate in the geological past. Previous reports on Precambrian authigenic carbonates are rare, limiting our understanding of the effects of their deposition on the Earth's carbon isotopic mass balance. In this study, mainly based on petrographic features and pronounced negative δ13C values as low as − 38.1‰, we discovered authigenic calcite cement immediately above the cap dolostone in the basal Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in the Jiulongwan section, Yangtze Gorges area, South China. Our observations not only provide direct evidence for the involvement of AOM during carbonate precipitation in the early Ediacaran (~ 635 Ma), but also suggest that the seawater sulfate concentrations in the early Ediacaran may have been higher than previously thought.

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