Interpreting carbonate and organic carbon isotope covariance in the sedimentary record

Amanda M. Oehlert, Peter K Swart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many negative δ 13 C excursions in marine carbonates from the geological record are interpreted to record significant biogeochemical events in early Earth history. The assumption that no post-depositional processes can simultaneously alter carbonate and organic δ 13 C values towards more negative values is the cornerstone of this approach. However, the effects of post-depositional alteration on the relationship between carbonate and organic δ 13 C values have not been directly evaluated. Here we present paired carbonate and organic δ 13 C records that exhibit a coupled negative excursion resulting from multiple periods of meteoric alteration of the carbonate δ 13 C record, and consequent contributions of isotopically negative terrestrial organic matter to the sedimentary record. The possibility that carbonate and organic δ 13 C records can be simultaneously shifted towards lower δ 13 C values during periods of subaerial exposure may necessitate the reappraisal of some of the δ 13 C anomalies associated with noteworthy biogeochemical events throughout Earth history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4672
JournalNature Communications
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 19 2014

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Carbon Isotopes
carbon isotopes
Carbonates
Organic carbon
carbonates
History
Earth (planet)
histories
Biological materials
anomalies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Interpreting carbonate and organic carbon isotope covariance in the sedimentary record. / Oehlert, Amanda M.; Swart, Peter K.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 5, 4672, 19.08.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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