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Biogeochemical cycling through the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition in China: an integrated study of redox-sensitive elements

Och, L.M.; (2011) Biogeochemical cycling through the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition in China: an integrated study of redox-sensitive elements. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

I investigated changes in biogeochemical cycling during the Precambrian-Cambrian transition on the Yangtze Platform in South China by analyzing about 350 predominantly black shale samples from several sedimentary successions deposited during the interval from the Late Cryogenian to the Lower Cambrian. I focused on redox-sensitive trace-metal concentrations in these sediments, whereby special attention is paid to molybdenum, vanadium and uranium to try to pinpoint the onset of increasing atmospheric oxygen levels and the transition from widespread euxinia to a pervasively oxygenated deep ocean. The measurements have been carried out using X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Besides that, total organic carbon and total sulphur contents have been measured for all samples. This approach is completed by iron speciation analysis which is considered to be a reliable redox proxy. I also conducted extended literature research on trace-metal enrichments in anoxic sediments throughout Earth history as well as a major review (which will be included as an extended introduction) on all currently available lines of evidence for a major Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event, including carbon, sulphur, strontium, molybdenum and chromium isotope studies. I show that the well preserved sedimentary succession from the Precambrian-Cambrian transition on the Yangtze Platform might represent a unique archive of ancient geochemical conditions on the Earth’s surface, based on a significant increase of Mo, V and U enrichment in black shales across the Pc-C boundary. The evidence for predominantly anoxic-ferruginous and even intermittently euxinic conditions in the water column across the Pc-C boundary and significant regional variations in geochemical parameters unravel complex interactions between ocean chemistry, platformal configuration and paleontology.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Biogeochemical cycling through the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition in China: an integrated study of redox-sensitive elements
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Earth Sciences

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