The Application of 238U/235U as a Redox-Proxy for Past Ocean Chemistry
Abstract:The recent discovery of significant variation in 238U/235U caused by redox change at the surface Earth has led to its use to extract information on the oxygenation state of ancient oceans from marine sediments [e.g. 1]. Recent studies have focused on improving the understanding of the 238U/235U signature in modern marine carbonates  and black shales  to improve the robustness of this tracer. To further advance its use we have focused on improving our understanding of 238U/235U systematics in modern dolomite, another commonly occurring rock-type in the geological record, before turning to 238U/235U signatures in ancient sediments.
The measured dolomite samples, precipitated in modern environments of coastal hypersaline lagoons in Brazil, all exhibit 238U/235U values that deviate from the seawater composition . Observed values are both lighter (ca. 130 ppm; as also observed in dolomite from tidal-ponds on Bahamas ) and heavier (50-180 ppm). These distinct 238U/235U values for different dolomite-precipitates likely attest to the particular formation style, as well as early diagenetic processes. We use such modern settings to discuss the utility of 238U/235U in ancient sediments, the singularity of any observed 238U/235U signal, its relation to global ocean chemistry and potential diagenetic overprinting. These constraints are then used to evaluate a well-preserved marine carbonate section  and published black shale 238U/235U data , both deposited during the Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (93 Ma). We discuss the capabilities of both the carbonate and black shale section for retaining information on the 238U/235U composition in the ocean during OAE 2.
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