Earth's earliest global glaciation? Carbonate geochemistry and geochronology of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation, Kola Peninsula, Russia

A. T. Brasier*, A. P. Martin, V. A. Melezhik, A. R. Prave, D. J. Condon, A. E. Fallick, FAR-DEEP Scientists

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

As part of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program's Fennoscandian Arctic Russia-Drilling Early Earth Project (ICDP FAR-DEEP), Palaeoproterozoic diamictic and associated rocks were targeted and recovered in Hole 3A on the Kola Peninsula of NW Russia. In addition to the diamictites, carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic ash layers (all metamorphosed to greenschist grade) were encountered. Sedimentology and geochemistry suggest deposition of the diamictites in an open-marine aragonite-precipitating environment. Sampling of the core and of outcrops from the same geographical area yielded a number of zircons for analyses, the majority of which were inherited. However a tuff at 20.01 m core depth yielded zircons dated at 2434 +/- 1.2 Ma (+/- 6.6 Myr including decay constant uncertainties) that we interpret as a magmatic age. These data, combined with dates from underlying intrusions, indicate deposition of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation diamictites and underlying carbonates during an interval of time from ca. 2430 to 2440 Ma. The carbonate rocks, which likely originally included aragonitic limestones, were deposited mostly in a deep-water setting (i.e. at least below storm wave base) and occur below the diamictite. They record two inorganic carbon delta C-13 excursions, from values of ca. 0% to minima of ca. -5.4 parts per thousand, as the contact with the overlying diamictite is approached. The older (stratigraphically lower) excursion occurs about 9 m below the base of the diamictic units and the younger one at 1 m below. Throughout that interval, Mg/Ca ratios correlate strongly with delta C-13 (n = 38, r = 0.85), and combined with petrographic observations, this indicates that the first (stratigraphically lower) excursion was modified by secondary alteration and the second is recorded in resedimented dolostone clasts. It is tempting to speculate that these dolostone clasts were deposited in penecontemporaneous shallow-marine waters, and that their low delta C-13 values might reflect input of oxidised atmospheric methane to the ocean surface (and therefore the cause of the glaciation); the dolostones were subsequently resedimented into the deeper marine settings. However this must be left as a hypothesis to be tested when further age-constrained contemporaneous pre-glacial carbonate sections are found. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-294
Number of pages17
JournalPrecambrian Research
Volume235
Early online date12 Jul 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • Huronian-age glaciation
  • carbon isotopes
  • carbonate rocks
  • Palaeoproterozoic
  • Great oxidation event

Cite this

Earth's earliest global glaciation? Carbonate geochemistry and geochronology of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation, Kola Peninsula, Russia. / Brasier, A. T.; Martin, A. P.; Melezhik, V. A.; Prave, A. R.; Condon, D. J.; Fallick, A. E.; FAR-DEEP Scientists.

In: Precambrian Research, Vol. 235, 09.2013, p. 278-294.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brasier, A. T. ; Martin, A. P. ; Melezhik, V. A. ; Prave, A. R. ; Condon, D. J. ; Fallick, A. E. ; FAR-DEEP Scientists. / Earth's earliest global glaciation? Carbonate geochemistry and geochronology of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation, Kola Peninsula, Russia. In: Precambrian Research. 2013 ; Vol. 235. pp. 278-294.
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abstract = "As part of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program's Fennoscandian Arctic Russia-Drilling Early Earth Project (ICDP FAR-DEEP), Palaeoproterozoic diamictic and associated rocks were targeted and recovered in Hole 3A on the Kola Peninsula of NW Russia. In addition to the diamictites, carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic ash layers (all metamorphosed to greenschist grade) were encountered. Sedimentology and geochemistry suggest deposition of the diamictites in an open-marine aragonite-precipitating environment. Sampling of the core and of outcrops from the same geographical area yielded a number of zircons for analyses, the majority of which were inherited. However a tuff at 20.01 m core depth yielded zircons dated at 2434 +/- 1.2 Ma (+/- 6.6 Myr including decay constant uncertainties) that we interpret as a magmatic age. These data, combined with dates from underlying intrusions, indicate deposition of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation diamictites and underlying carbonates during an interval of time from ca. 2430 to 2440 Ma. The carbonate rocks, which likely originally included aragonitic limestones, were deposited mostly in a deep-water setting (i.e. at least below storm wave base) and occur below the diamictite. They record two inorganic carbon delta C-13 excursions, from values of ca. 0{\%} to minima of ca. -5.4 parts per thousand, as the contact with the overlying diamictite is approached. The older (stratigraphically lower) excursion occurs about 9 m below the base of the diamictic units and the younger one at 1 m below. Throughout that interval, Mg/Ca ratios correlate strongly with delta C-13 (n = 38, r = 0.85), and combined with petrographic observations, this indicates that the first (stratigraphically lower) excursion was modified by secondary alteration and the second is recorded in resedimented dolostone clasts. It is tempting to speculate that these dolostone clasts were deposited in penecontemporaneous shallow-marine waters, and that their low delta C-13 values might reflect input of oxidised atmospheric methane to the ocean surface (and therefore the cause of the glaciation); the dolostones were subsequently resedimented into the deeper marine settings. However this must be left as a hypothesis to be tested when further age-constrained contemporaneous pre-glacial carbonate sections are found. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.",
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note = "ATB and AM were supported by NERC grant NE/G00398X/1 to AEF, ARP and DJC. VAM is supported by NFR grant 191530/V30 (projects 331000 and 802795). This is a contribution (Paper No. 9) to ICDP FAR-DEEP.",
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T1 - Earth's earliest global glaciation? Carbonate geochemistry and geochronology of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation, Kola Peninsula, Russia

AU - Brasier, A. T.

AU - Martin, A. P.

AU - Melezhik, V. A.

AU - Prave, A. R.

AU - Condon, D. J.

AU - Fallick, A. E.

AU - FAR-DEEP Scientists

N1 - ATB and AM were supported by NERC grant NE/G00398X/1 to AEF, ARP and DJC. VAM is supported by NFR grant 191530/V30 (projects 331000 and 802795). This is a contribution (Paper No. 9) to ICDP FAR-DEEP.

PY - 2013/9

Y1 - 2013/9

N2 - As part of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program's Fennoscandian Arctic Russia-Drilling Early Earth Project (ICDP FAR-DEEP), Palaeoproterozoic diamictic and associated rocks were targeted and recovered in Hole 3A on the Kola Peninsula of NW Russia. In addition to the diamictites, carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic ash layers (all metamorphosed to greenschist grade) were encountered. Sedimentology and geochemistry suggest deposition of the diamictites in an open-marine aragonite-precipitating environment. Sampling of the core and of outcrops from the same geographical area yielded a number of zircons for analyses, the majority of which were inherited. However a tuff at 20.01 m core depth yielded zircons dated at 2434 +/- 1.2 Ma (+/- 6.6 Myr including decay constant uncertainties) that we interpret as a magmatic age. These data, combined with dates from underlying intrusions, indicate deposition of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation diamictites and underlying carbonates during an interval of time from ca. 2430 to 2440 Ma. The carbonate rocks, which likely originally included aragonitic limestones, were deposited mostly in a deep-water setting (i.e. at least below storm wave base) and occur below the diamictite. They record two inorganic carbon delta C-13 excursions, from values of ca. 0% to minima of ca. -5.4 parts per thousand, as the contact with the overlying diamictite is approached. The older (stratigraphically lower) excursion occurs about 9 m below the base of the diamictic units and the younger one at 1 m below. Throughout that interval, Mg/Ca ratios correlate strongly with delta C-13 (n = 38, r = 0.85), and combined with petrographic observations, this indicates that the first (stratigraphically lower) excursion was modified by secondary alteration and the second is recorded in resedimented dolostone clasts. It is tempting to speculate that these dolostone clasts were deposited in penecontemporaneous shallow-marine waters, and that their low delta C-13 values might reflect input of oxidised atmospheric methane to the ocean surface (and therefore the cause of the glaciation); the dolostones were subsequently resedimented into the deeper marine settings. However this must be left as a hypothesis to be tested when further age-constrained contemporaneous pre-glacial carbonate sections are found. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

AB - As part of the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program's Fennoscandian Arctic Russia-Drilling Early Earth Project (ICDP FAR-DEEP), Palaeoproterozoic diamictic and associated rocks were targeted and recovered in Hole 3A on the Kola Peninsula of NW Russia. In addition to the diamictites, carbonate sedimentary rocks and volcanic ash layers (all metamorphosed to greenschist grade) were encountered. Sedimentology and geochemistry suggest deposition of the diamictites in an open-marine aragonite-precipitating environment. Sampling of the core and of outcrops from the same geographical area yielded a number of zircons for analyses, the majority of which were inherited. However a tuff at 20.01 m core depth yielded zircons dated at 2434 +/- 1.2 Ma (+/- 6.6 Myr including decay constant uncertainties) that we interpret as a magmatic age. These data, combined with dates from underlying intrusions, indicate deposition of the Polisarka Sedimentary Formation diamictites and underlying carbonates during an interval of time from ca. 2430 to 2440 Ma. The carbonate rocks, which likely originally included aragonitic limestones, were deposited mostly in a deep-water setting (i.e. at least below storm wave base) and occur below the diamictite. They record two inorganic carbon delta C-13 excursions, from values of ca. 0% to minima of ca. -5.4 parts per thousand, as the contact with the overlying diamictite is approached. The older (stratigraphically lower) excursion occurs about 9 m below the base of the diamictic units and the younger one at 1 m below. Throughout that interval, Mg/Ca ratios correlate strongly with delta C-13 (n = 38, r = 0.85), and combined with petrographic observations, this indicates that the first (stratigraphically lower) excursion was modified by secondary alteration and the second is recorded in resedimented dolostone clasts. It is tempting to speculate that these dolostone clasts were deposited in penecontemporaneous shallow-marine waters, and that their low delta C-13 values might reflect input of oxidised atmospheric methane to the ocean surface (and therefore the cause of the glaciation); the dolostones were subsequently resedimented into the deeper marine settings. However this must be left as a hypothesis to be tested when further age-constrained contemporaneous pre-glacial carbonate sections are found. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

KW - Huronian-age glaciation

KW - carbon isotopes

KW - carbonate rocks

KW - Palaeoproterozoic

KW - Great oxidation event

U2 - 10.1016/j.precamres.2013.06.007

DO - 10.1016/j.precamres.2013.06.007

M3 - Article

VL - 235

SP - 278

EP - 294

JO - Precambrian Research

JF - Precambrian Research

SN - 0301-9268

ER -