Chemo- and biostratigraphy of the Gaojiashan section (northern Yangtze platform, South China): A new Pc-C boundary section

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The widespread, terminal Ediacaran Dengying Formation ( ~551-~542 Ma) of South China hosts one of the most prominent negative carbonate carbon isotope excursions in Earth's history and thus bears on the correlation of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary worldwide. The dominantly carbonate strata of the Dengying Formation are largely studied for their unique preservation of its terminal Ediacaran fauna but their geochemical context is poorly known. This study presents the first high-resolution stable isotope record (δ<sup>13</sup>C, δ<sup>18</sup>O) of calcareous siliciclastic shallow-water deposits of the Gaojiashan section (Shaanxi Province). The section includes (in ascending order) the Algal Dolomite Member, the Gaojiashan Member and the Beiwan Member of the Dengying Formation. Our data record a major δ<sup>13</sup>C<inf>carb</inf> negative excursion to -6‰ in the uppermost Gaojiashan Member which is comparable in shape and magnitude to the global Precambrian-Cambrian boundary negative δ<sup>13</sup>C excursion. Our data set is consistent with a "shallow-water anoxia" scenario which is thought to contribute to the "Cambrian explosion". The stratigraphic occurrence of Cloudina and a large negative δ<sup>13</sup>C excursion suggest that the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary is located near the top of the Gaojiashan Member and, consequently, that overlying carbonates and dolomites of the Beiwan Member are of earliest Cambrian age. Thus the Gaojiashan section may represent a new shallow-water section spanning the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. Although bio- and chemostratigraphic data support this novel interpretation, we cannot exclude the possibility that the key excursions may represent a local perturbation indicating a restricted-basin environment.




Gamper, A., Struck, U., Ohnemueller, F., Heubeck, C., & Hohl, S. (2015). Chemo- and biostratigraphy of the Gaojiashan section (northern Yangtze platform, South China): A new Pc-C boundary section. Fossil Record, 18(2), 105–117.

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