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Paleomagnetism and rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, South China: Constraints on the remagnetization mechanism and the encoding process of Milankovitch cycles

Gong, Zheng, Kodama, Kenneth P., Li, Yong-Xiang
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 v.528 pp. 232-246
Ediacaran period, Triassic period, carbonates, magnetism, minerals, scanning electron microscopy, sediments, China
South China provides exceptional and unique sedimentary archives of Earth's fundamental changes in Ediacaran time. However, the lack of robust geochronological constraints renders a poorly-defined chronostratigraphic framework for Ediacaran-aged strata in South China, thus making it difficult to understand Earth's critical changes during this time interval. Magnetostratigraphy and rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy turn out to be a few reliable methods in chronostratigraphic studies, especially in the Precambrian. Here, we present a detailed paleomagnetic and rock magnetic study of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in the Huanglianba section, Guizhou Province, South China. The section consists of ~75 m thick carbonate succession and has a record of one of the largest carbon isotope excursions in the Earth history, known as the Shuram excursion. Stepwise thermal demagnetization of Doushantuo carbonates reveals single-component magnetizations that yield a paleomagnetic pole consistent with the Late Triassic segment of the apparent polar wander path of South China. The secondary origin of Doushantuo carbonates' magnetization is supported by their magnetic mineralogy based on various rock magnetic experiments and scanning electron microscopic analyses. We interpret that the secondary magnetization resides mainly in authigenic pyrrhotite that likely precipitated from the reducing fluids during the late stage of Indosinian orogeny in the Triassic. Interestingly, the companion high-resolution cyclostratigraphic study of a 4-m thick succession at the upper layers of the Doushantuo Formation in the Huanglianba section indicates that the Milankovitch cycles were encoded in the variation of magnetic susceptibility, immune from the influence of remagnetization. Variation of magnetic susceptibility is attributed to changes in the abundance of paramagnetic minerals which, by implication, means that the amount of terrestrial materials transported from the continent was regulated by Milankovitch cycles during the deposition of Doushantuo carbonates. Therefore, our results suggest that even though carbonates are prone to remagnetization, astronomical modulation of deposition could be encoded in rock magnetics of the remagnetized carbonates. As a result, rock magnetic cyclostratigraphy has potential in remagnetized carbonates for providing a floating astronomical timescale that can be applied to constrain sediment accumulation rates, estimate the duration of geological events, and construct high-resolution chronostratigraphies.