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Sulfate-controlled marine euxinia in the semi-restricted inner Yangtze Sea (South China) during the Ordovician-Silurian transition

Li, Na, Li, Chao, Fan, Junxuan, Algeo, Thomas J., Yan, Detian, Zhu, Guangyou, Wu, Shiyong, Tang, Shida, Cheng, Meng, Jin, Chengsheng
Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology 2019 pp. 109281
basins, data collection, dissolved sulfates, glaciation, iron, primary productivity, pyrite, stable isotopes, tectonics, weathering, China
Conflicting published interpretations of marine redox conditions during the Ordovician-Silurian transition (OST) may have been linked to spatial redox heterogeneity during this interval. However, details of the pattern of redox heterogeneity and its underlying causes remain unclear. Here, we present a high-resolution geochemical study of a drillcore section (Pengye #1) from Pengshui County (Chongqing municipality, southwestern China) that was located in the semi-restricted inner Yangtze Sea during the OST. We analyzed Fe-speciation, redox-sensitive trace elements, major elements, and pyrite δ34S compositions (δ34Spy) and then compared these data with published results from coeval sections at Datianba and Shuanghe in the same basin. The integrated dataset demonstrates pronounced spatiotemporal heterogeneity of redox conditions—especially the local development of euxinic conditions in the inner Yangtze Sea during the OST. Integrated data further suggest that high primary productivity and ample Fe fluxes in the inner Yangtze Sea may have depleted dissolved sulfate through microbial sulfate reduction (MSR) and subsequent pyrite formation, except in areas with enhanced sulfate supply from continental weathering or open-ocean exchange, which varied as a function of both tectonic (i.e., the regional Kwangsian Orogeny) and eustatic changes (i.e., the global Hirnantian glaciation). Limited sulfate availability thus likely prevented the development of euxinic conditions in some regions of the inner Yangtze Sea, as reflected in spatial variation of δ34Spy. Our study highlights the potential role of sulfate availability on the development of watermass euxinia in semi-restricted marginal-marine basins during the OST.