A syn-depositional age for Earth's deepest δ 13C excursion required by isotope conglomerate tests

Jon M. Husson, Adam C. Maloof, Blair Schoene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The most negative carbon isotope excursion in Earth history is found in carbonate rocks of the Ediacaran Period (635-542Ma). Workers have interpreted the event as the oxidation of the Ediacaran oceans [Rothman et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA100 (2003) 8124; Fike et al., Nature444 (2006) 744; McFadden et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA105 (2008) 3197], or as diagenetic alteration of the δ 13C of carbonates (δ 13C carb) [Knauth and Kennedy, Nature460 (2009) 728; Derry, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.294 (2010) 152]. Here, we present chemo-stratigraphic data from the Ediacaran-aged Wonoka Formation (Fm.) of South Australia that require a syn-depositional age for the extraordinary range of δ 13C carb values (-12 to +4‰) observed in the formation. In some locations, the Wonoka Fm. is 700metres (m) of mixed shelf limestones and siliclastics that record the full 16‰δ 13C carb excursion. In other places, the Wonoka Fm. is host to deep (∼1km) palaeocanyons, which are partly filled by tabular-clast carbonate breccias that are sourced from eroded Wonoka canyon-shoulders. By measuring the isotopic values of 485 carbonate clasts (an isotope conglomerate test), we show that canyon-shoulder carbonates acquired their δ 13C carb18O carb values before brecciation and redeposition in the palaeocanyons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-325
Number of pages8
JournalTerra Nova
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'A syn-depositional age for Earth's deepest δ <sup>13</sup>C excursion required by isotope conglomerate tests'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this