Geologica Belgica

1374-8505 2034-1954

 

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Maciej G. ŚLIWIŃSKI, Michael T. WHALEN & Jed DAY

Trace element variations in the Middle Frasnian punctata zone (Late Devonian) in the Western Canada sedimentary basin – changes in oceanic bioproductivity and paleoredox spurred by a pulse of terrestrial afforestation?

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Mots-clés : magnetic susceptibility, punctata Event, geochemistry, trace element proxies, archaeopterid forests

Abstract

The ‘punctata Event’ (Early–Middle Frasnian transition, Late Devonian) was recently recognized as yet another episode of major geochemical perturbations associated with the Middle-Late Devonian ecosystem readjustments which culminated in the Frasnian-Fammenian (F/F) mass extinction event, one of five largest of the Phanerozoic. We report variations in total organic carbon (TOC), magnetic susceptibility (MS), major, minor and trace element proxies (for changes in detrital input, bioproductivity and redox conditions) across the P.punctata conodont biozone in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (Western Laurussia). Geochemical proxies and MS display similar trends, suggesting an intimate interdependence. The data is thus evaluated within 1) a regional sequence stratigraphic perspective and 2) the marine-terrestrial teleconnections model (Algeo & Sheckler, 1998), whereby the rise and expansion of arborescent vascular land plants (the first ‘true’ forests) results in a transient increase in pedogenesis and solute delivery (hence biolimiting micronutrients) to the oceans. The punctata Event approximately coincides temporally with the advent of archaeopterid forest expansion and rise to dominance in the Frasnian-Fammenian age. This evolutionary event is speculated to have amplified the detrital influx which was likely already elevated by conditions of sea level lowstand, early transgression, episodes of mountain building and increased weathering during Frasnian warming. Statistical correlations among proxies suggest that changes in detrital input were the main driver of a bioproductivity increase. Elevated organic matter export from the photic zone likely led to the deposition and later preservation of organic-carbon rich facies under facilitated conditions of bottom water oxygen depletion. This paper is intended to supplement the growing body of work aimed at elucidating the causes of the punctata Event and documenting ecosystem responses to major perturbations of the global carbon cycle.

To cite this article

Maciej G. ŚLIWIŃSKI, Michael T. WHALEN & Jed DAY, «Trace element variations in the Middle Frasnian punctata zone (Late Devonian) in the Western Canada sedimentary basin – changes in oceanic bioproductivity and paleoredox spurred by a pulse of terrestrial afforestation?», Geologica Belgica [En ligne], volume 13 (2010), number 4 - Magnetic susceptibility, correlations and Palaeozoic environments, 459-482 URL : http://popups.ulg.ac.be/1374-8505/index.php?id=3140.

About: Maciej G. ŚLIWIŃSKI

Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, U.S.A.

About: Michael T. WHALEN

Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, U.S.A.

About: Jed DAY

Department of Geography-Geology, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4400, USA