Evolution of the 87Sr/86Sr composition of Neoproterozoic seawater

Galen P. Halverson, Francis Ö Dudás, Adam C. Maloof, Samuel A. Bowring

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The limited availability and low resolution of biostratigraphic and radiometric data in the Precambrian necessitate using marine chemostratigraphy to correlate and integrate the fragmentary stratigraphic record. We present a new composite record of the strontium isotope composition of seawater during the Neoproterozoic (1000-542 Ma) Era that is linked to a high-resolution δ13C (carbonate) compilation. The 87Sr/86Sr record consists predominantly of new and previously published data from carbonate-rich successions in northwest Canada, Svalbard, and northern Namibia. Published data from other late Neoproterozoic successions are conservatively included to fill in the Ediacaran Period (635-542 Ma). Consistent with previous compilations, the resulting strontium isotope record shows a systematic rise in 87Sr/86Sr throughout the Neoproterozoic, from as low as 0.7055 at the beginning of the era to greater than 0.7085 towards the end. Though the record remains poorly resolved and time-calibrated, it appears that declines, inflections, and rapid changes in 87Sr/86Sr all correspond to major biogeochemical or climatic events. However, this record supports neither a tight coupling between δ13C and 87Sr/86Sr via continental erosion nor widespread mountain-building as the main driver for increasing 87Sr/86Sr compositions during the Neoproterozoic. Rather, the steady rise in 87Sr/86Sr during the Neoproterozoic corresponded to the break-up of the supercontinent Rodinia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-129
Number of pages27
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 6 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology


  • C isotopes
  • Carbonates
  • Glaciation
  • Neoproterozoic
  • Seawater
  • Sr isotopes


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