The stratigraphic complexity of the middle Ediacaran carbon isotopic record in the Yangtze Gorges area, South China, and its implications for the age and chemostratigraphic significance of the Shuram excursionAuthors:Zhou et alAbstract:The middle Ediacaran Shuram excursion represents the most pronounced negative carbon isotopic shift in Earth history, and has been considered as evidence for a profound disturbance to the global carbon cycle and proposed as a key chemostratigraphic marker for Ediacaran stratigraphic subdivision and global correlation. Previous study has revealed a pronounced negative δ13C shift (EN3) in the upper Doushantuo Formation of South China, which has been interpreted as an equivalent of the Shuram excursion. Detailed δ13C investigation of multiple sections of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation around the Huangling Anticline, western Hubei Province, South China, indicates that the δ13C variation in the upper Doushantuo Formation is more complex than previously reported. In the western region of the Huangling anticline, a moderately positive δ13C excursion (here termed the Diaoyapo positive excursion) bisects two strongly negative δ13C excursions (here termed the Jiuqunao negative excursion and the younger Miaohe negative excursion), with a ∼551 Ma ash bed capping the Miaohe negative excursion. In the central region, there is only one negative δ13C excursion, whereas in the eastern region, the negative δ13C excursion is absent. The variable stratigraphic expression of these δ13C excursions is most parsimoniously interpreted as reflecting local facies variation, diagenesis, and/or a cryptic unconformity. The more complete but more complex δ13C chemostratigraphic record in the western region of Huangling Anticline implies that, depending on how this record is correlated with the Shuram excursion, the latter may be significantly older than 551 Ma if it does represent a global chemostratigraphic marker.