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δ13C stratigraphy of a Turinian-Chatfieldian (Upper Ordovician) foreland succession, Ottawa Embayment (central Canada): resolving local and inter-regional isotope excursions in a tectonically active basin

Oruche, Nkechi E., Dix, George R., Gazdewich, Sean
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 v.528 pp. 186-203
Ordovician period, basins, carbon, carbonates, drawdown, energy, oceanography, photosynthesis, seawater, stable isotopes, stratigraphy, subsidence, Canada
Positive δ13Ccarb excursions are correlated through an upper Turinian to lower Chatfieldian carbonate-platform succession along the axis of the Ottawa Embayment and into outliers of the northern Ottawa-Bonnechere graben in central Canada. Successive Turinian excursions (E1 and E2) are lithostratigraphically constrained by erosional surfaces and hosted within the Watertown and overlying L'Orignal formations, respectively, the latter coeval with the Selby Formation in the adjacent northern Appalachian Basin. The excursions coincide with periods of regional transgression, but geographic patterns of 13C depletion versus enrichment coincide with structurally defined areas of stratigraphically condensed and preferentially thickened formation successions, respectively. Differential subsidence is interpreted to have created bathymetric variation resulting in intrabasinal restriction of seawater exchange between these areas, with preferential Corg recycling with stratigraphic condensation. By early Chatfieldian time, segmentation of the once regional carbonate platform (L'Orignal Formation) produced a regional mosaic of low-energy muddy carbonate banks (Rockland Formation) and a deeper water platform (lower Hull Formation) settings subject to fluctuating high to low energy current flow. Excursion E3 occurs in both successions, but 13C enrichment is associated only with the bank-top muddy facies. This may identify preferential photosynthetic drawdown of 12C across the bank tops due to limited seawater exchange across the bank-deeper platform boundaries. Excursions E1 to E3, and a younger excursion (E4) in the Hull Formation, are correlated with varying confidence with excursions across southern Laurentia, excursion E3 being the local expression of the Guttenberg δ13C excursion. Our study supports local modulation of regional, if not global, δ13C excursions arising from structurally controlled changes in oceanography and productivity.