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Biological sources of sedimentary organic matter in Neoproterozoic–Lower Cambrian shales in the Sichuan Basin (SW China): Evidence from biomarkers and microfossils

Wang, Ning, Li, Meijun, Hong, Haitao, Song, Daofu, Tian, Xingwang, Liu, Peng, Fang, Ronghui, Chen, Guo, Wang, Maolin
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 v.516 pp. 342-353
Bacillariophyceae, Cambrian period, Cyanobacteria, Ediacaran period, Miozoa, Pelagophyceae, Rhizobiales, algae, ancestry, basins, biomarkers, carbon, methane, methanotrophs, microfossils, organic matter, shale, stable isotopes, China
Study of the occurrence and formation of sedimentary organic matter in the Sichuan Basin, southern China, provides valuable insights into the biological sources and compositions of Neoproterozoic to Lower Cambrian shales. Rock samples from two sets of shales in the Sichuan Basin and adjacent areas, including the Ediacaran Doushantuo shale and the Lower Cambrian Qiongzhusi shale in the Gaoshiti-Moxi and Ziyang-Weiyuan areas were collected and geochemically analyzed in this study.The distribution of biomarkers, stable carbon isotope compositions and microfossil characteristics reveal that eukaryotic algae including chlorophytes, pelagophyceae, dinoflagellates, diatoms (or their ancestors) and sponges proliferated widely during the Late Neoproterozoic to Early Cambrian in the Sichuan Basin. Cyanobacteria, some α-Proteobacteria, rhizobiales and aerobic methanotrophs also made a contribution to organic matter in the studied shales. Aerobic methanotrophs that utilize 13C-depleted substrates such as CH4 as carbon sources may have been the cause of anomalous 13C-depleted kerogen in the study area.