Toward a Neoproterozoic composite carbon-isotope record

Galen P. Halverson, Paul F. Hoffman, Daniel P. Schrag, Adam C. Maloof, A. Hugh N. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

758 Scopus citations


Glacial deposits of Sturtian and Marinoan age occur in the well-studied Neoproterozoic successions of northern Namibia, South Australia, and northwestern Canada. In all three regions, the Marinoan glaciation is presaged by a large negative δ13C anomaly, and the cap carbonates to both glacial units share a suite of unique sedimentological, stratigraphic, and geochemical features. These global chronostratigraphic markers are the bases of a new correlation scheme for the Neoproterozoic that corroborates radiometric data that indicate that there were three glacial epochs between ca. 750 and 580 Ma. Intraregional correlation of Neoproterozoic successions in the present-day North Atlantic region suggests that glacial diamictite pairs in the Polarisbreen Group in northeastern Svalbard and the Tillite Group in eastern Greenland were deposited during the Marinoan glaciation, whereas the younger of a pair of glacials (Mortensnes Formation) in the Vestertana Group of northern Norway was deposited during the third (Gaskiers) Neoproterozoic glaciation. Gaskiers-aged glacial deposits are neither globally distributed nor overlain by a widespread cap carbonate but are associated with an extremely negative δ13C anomaly. The chronology developed here provides the framework for a new, high-resolution model carbon-isotope record for the Neoproterozoic comprising new δ13C (carbonate) data from Svalbard (Akademikerbreen Group) and Namibia (Otavi Group) and data in the literature from Svalbard, Namibia, and Oman. A new U-Pb zircon age of 760 ± 1 Ma from an ash bed in the Ombombo Subgroup in Namibia provides the oldest direct time-calibration point in the compilation, but the time scale of this preliminary δ13C record remains poorly constrained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1207
Number of pages27
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


  • Carbon isotope
  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Geochronology
  • Glaciation
  • Neoproterozoic


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