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Selenium isotope evidence for progressive oxidation of the Neoproterozoic biosphere

von Strandmann, PAEP; Stueeken, EE; Elliott, T; Poulton, SW; Dehler, CM; Canfield, DE; Catling, DC; (2015) Selenium isotope evidence for progressive oxidation of the Neoproterozoic biosphere. Nature Communications , 6 (10157) 10.1038/ncomms10157. Green open access

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Abstract

Neoproterozoic (1,000–542 Myr ago) Earth experienced profound environmental change, including ‘snowball’ glaciations, oxygenation and the appearance of animals. However, an integrated understanding of these events remains elusive, partly because proxies that track subtle oceanic or atmospheric redox trends are lacking. Here we utilize selenium (Se) isotopes as a tracer of Earth redox conditions. We find temporal trends towards lower δ82/76Se values in shales before and after all Neoproterozoic glaciations, which we interpret as incomplete reduction of Se oxyanions. Trends suggest that deep-ocean Se oxyanion concentrations increased because of progressive atmospheric and deep-ocean oxidation. Immediately after the Marinoan glaciation, higher δ82/76Se values superpose the general decline. This may indicate less oxic conditions with lower availability of oxyanions or increased bioproductivity along continental margins that captured heavy seawater δ82/76Se into buried organics. Overall, increased ocean oxidation and atmospheric O2 extended over at least 100 million years, setting the stage for early animal evolution.

Type: Article
Title: Selenium isotope evidence for progressive oxidation of the Neoproterozoic biosphere
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms10157
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10157
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474793
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