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Volcanism intensity and associated climate-ocean-land dynamics during the Cryogenian interglaciation: Insights from mercury isotopes TEXT SIZE: A A A

The Cryogenian interglaciation (ca. 660 Ma to 650 Ma) was an interlude between the Sturtian glaciation (ca. 717 Ma to 660 Ma) and Marinoan glaciation (ca. 650 Ma to 635 Ma). Recent observations of anomalously high mercury (Hg) concentrations in Cryogenian interglacial sediments at basinal settings in the Nanhua Rift Basin, South China, imply that large volcanism can be a possible driving force of the Cryogenian interglaciation. To test this hypothesis and understand the potential linkage between large volcanism and climate-ocean-land dynamics during the Cryogenian interglaciation, we investigate mercury (Hg) concentrations and isotopic composition of Cryogenian interglacial sediments at shallow water (shelf/slope) settings in the Nanhua Rift Basin, South China. The basal Mn-bearing black shales show an increased pattern in Hg concentrations (318 to 4400 ppb) and Hg/ TOC ratios (243 to 1730 ppb/wt%), and overall positive & UDelta;199Hg values (0.00 to 0.10%o), suggesting increasing volcanic Hg input into the ocean via atmospheric Hg(II) deposition in the early Cryogenian interglaciation. The upper siltstone samples show a dramatic decrease in Hg concentrations (from 5110 to 459 ppb) and a drop of & UDelta;199Hg values (from 0.04 to -0.05%o), suggesting weakened volcanism during the middle-late Cryogenian interglaciation. Combined with the analyses of major and trace elements proxies, we demonstrate that (1) greenhouse climate in the early Cryogenian interglaciation induced high oceanic productivity, high organic burial on the seafloor and high terrestrial sulfate input into the ocean, which favors the deposition of Mn-bearing black shales in the ocean; and (2) weakened volcanism and continued continental weathering exhausted atmospheric CO2 and drove the global climate to the Marinoan glaciation. This study, therefore, provides important insights into the climate-ocean-land dynamics during the Cryogenian interglaciation.

Publication name

 Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, Volume 623, DOI 10.1016/j.palaeo.2023.111634, Article Number 111634, Published AUG 1 2023


 Wang, Li; Liu, Yu; Yang, Chenchen; Huang, Hu; Hou, Mingcai; Yang, Chuang; Yin, Runsheng

Corresponding author(s) 

 Yin, Runsheng
 Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Geochem, State Key Lab Ore Deposit Geochem, Guiyang 550081, Peoples R China

Author(s) from IGCAS   Yin, Runsheng; Wang, Li; Yang, Chenchen; Yang, Chuang

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