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The Neoproterozoic oxygenation event: Environmental perturbations and biogeochemical cycling

The oxygen content of the Earth's surface environment is thought to have increased in two broad steps: the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) around the Archean–Proterozoic boundary and the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event (NOE), during which oxygen possibly accumulated to the levels required to support animal life and ventilate the deep oceans. Although the concept of the GOE is widely accepted, the NOE is less well constrained and its timing and extent remain the subjects of debate. We review available evidence for the NOE against the background of major climatic perturbations, tectonic upheaval related to the break-up of the supercontinent Rodinia and reassembly into Gondwana, and, most importantly, major biological innovations exemplified by the Ediacarian Biota and the Cambrian ‘Explosion’. Geochemical lines of evidence for the NOE include perturbations to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon. Generally high δ 13 C values are possibly indicative of increased organic carbon burial and the release of oxidative power to the Earth's surface environment after c. 800   Ma. A demonstrably global and primary record of extremely negative δ 13 C values after about 580   Ma strongly suggests the oxidation of a large dissolved organic carbon pool (DOC), the culmination of which around c. 550   Ma coincided with an abrupt diversification of Ediacaran macrobiota. Increasing 87 Sr/ 86 Sr ratios toward the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian transition indicates enhanced continental weathering which may have fuelled higher organic production and burial during the later Neoproterozoic. Evidence for enhanced oxidative recycling is given by the increase in sulfur isotope fractionation between sulfide and sulfate, exceeding the range usually attained by sulfate reduction alone, reflecting an increasing importance of the oxidative part in the sulfur cycle. S/C ratios attained a maximum during the Precambrian–Cambrian transition, further indicating higher sulfate concentrations in the ocean and a transition from dominantly pyrite burial to sulfate burial after the Neoproterozoic. Strong evidence for the oxygenation of the deep marine environment has emerged through elemental approaches over the past few years which were able to show significant increases in redox-sensitive trace-metal (notably Mo) enrichment in marine sediments not only during the GOE but even more pronounced during the inferred NOE. In addition to past studies involving Mo enrichment, which has been extended and further substantiated in the current review, we present new compilations of V and U concentrations in black shales throughout Earth history that confirm such a rise and further support the NOE. With regard to ocean ventilation, we also review other sedimentary redox indicators, such as iron speciation, molybdenum isotopes and the more ambiguous REE patterns. Although the timing and extent of the NOE remain the subjects of debate and speculation, we consider the record of redox-sensitive trace-metals and C and S contents in black shales to indicate delayed ocean ventilation later in the Cambrian on a global scale with regard to rising oxygen levels in the atmosphere which likely rose during the Late Neoproterozoic.

پر ارجاع‌ترین مقالات مرتبط:

  • مقاله General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • ترجمه مقاله General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • مقاله علوم زمین و سیارات عمومی
  • ترجمه مقاله علوم زمین و سیارات عمومی
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