High-resolution Chemostratigraphy Through a Nearshore, Mixed Carbonate-shale Succession of Late Ordovician Age (Sandbian-Katian) in the Laurentian Cratonic Interior

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Noah Trawicki Anderson, Carleton College, Northfield, MN, United States
High-resolution (20cm sampling interval) δ13Ccarb, δ13Corg, and pXRF data from core and outcrop exposures of a mixed carbonate-shale succession of Late Ordovician age (Sandbian-Katian) provide insight into the nearshore paleoceanography of Laurentian epeiric seas during a time of global marine perturbations. These strata occur along a 250km transect in Minnesota and Iowa. They represent deposition in a tectonically stable, marginal marine setting that records the interplay of (1) seafloor topography, (2) sea level change, (3) terrigenous influx that periodically smothered a benthic heterozoan faunal community, and (4) production of micritic carbonate that eludes assignment to obvious depositional conditions. Preliminary analyses of δ13Ccarb data from closely spaced sections of the Platteville Formation reveal km-scale lateral variation in the isotopic record. Amid current debate over the interpretation of isotopically distinct “aquafacies” in epeiric seas (reported in these and similar strata elsewhere), our data appear to distinguish regional lithofacies and allow correlation through an otherwise sedimentologically-opaque carbonate rock. Comparison of δ13Ccarb with δ13Corg from carbonate and shale units through the Platteville, Decorah and Cummingsville Formations permits time correlation across significant facies and paleoceanographic gradients in the study area. High-resolution lithostratigraphic data from pXRF allows comparison with this isotopic chronostratigraphy. This time interval includes cooling at the onset of global ice-house conditions (under relatively elevated atmospheric CO2 levels), perturbations of the carbon cycle evinced by δ13C excursions (e.g., GICE) and unusual marine ashfalls preserved as well known K-bentonites in the study area (Millbrig, Deicke, etc.). These strata provide an opportunity to study the dynamics of the most inshore and possibly most sensitive setting preserved for this system.