ISSN 0253-2778

CN 34-1054/N

Open AccessOpen Access JUSTC Earth and Space Sciences 20 April 2022

Constraining the Ediacaran oceanic dissolved organic carbon reservoir: Insights from carbon isotopic records from a drill core from South China

Funds:  This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (42003058), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2021M703058), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (WK2080000136, WK2080000148).
Cite this:
https://doi.org/10.52396/JUSTC-2021-0226
More Information
  • Author Bio:

    Yunpei Gao received his BS and PhD degrees from University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2013 and 2020, respectively. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at USTC. His areas of interest include paleoenvironmental reconstruction, the global carbon cycle, and biogeochemical processes

    Xiaoyan Chen received her BS and PhD degree in Geochemistry from University of Science and Technology of China in 2013 and 2020, respectively. Her research interests mainly focus on redox conditions and biogeochemical cycles of carbon and sulfur in the Meso- and Neoproterozoic oceans

  • Corresponding author: E-mail: cxyan@ustc.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 22 October 2021
  • Accepted Date: 22 December 2021
  • Available Online: 20 April 2022
  • The evolution of the atmospheric oxygen content through Earth’s history is a key issue in paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental research. There were at least two oxygenation events in the Precambrian that involved fundamental changes in both biotic innovation and the surface environment. However, a large dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool maintained in deep oceans during the Neoproterozoic may have extended the time interval between the two oxygenation events. To test the DOC hypothesis, we conducted detailed micro-drilled analyses of carbonate carbon isotopes (δ13Ccarb) of a long Ediacaran drill core (the Wangji drill core), for which whole-rock δ13Ccarb and organic carbon isotope (δ13Corg) records were available. The micro-drilled δ13Ccarb values obtained in this study are consistent with whole-rock δ13Ccarb results, precluding the influence of severe authigenic carbonate incorporation. Importantly, the multiple negative δ13Ccarb excursions in the Wangji drill core were likely linked with upwelling events, during which DOC was supplied to the surface water and oxidized. Using box models, we estimate that ~3.6 × 1019 mol and ~2.0 × 1019 mol DOC were converted to bicarbonate during two negative δ13Ccarb excursions spanning millions of years. The estimations are approximately 1000 times the modern marine DOC reservoir. Our results support a relatively high oxidation capacity (elevated atmospheric pO2 and/or oceanic [

    \begin{document}${\rm{SO}}_4^{2 - }$\end{document}

    ]) of the Earth’s surface during the early Ediacaran Period.

      Carbon species conversions between dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the Ediacaran ocean.

    The evolution of the atmospheric oxygen content through Earth’s history is a key issue in paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental research. There were at least two oxygenation events in the Precambrian that involved fundamental changes in both biotic innovation and the surface environment. However, a large dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool maintained in deep oceans during the Neoproterozoic may have extended the time interval between the two oxygenation events. To test the DOC hypothesis, we conducted detailed micro-drilled analyses of carbonate carbon isotopes (δ13Ccarb) of a long Ediacaran drill core (the Wangji drill core), for which whole-rock δ13Ccarb and organic carbon isotope (δ13Corg) records were available. The micro-drilled δ13Ccarb values obtained in this study are consistent with whole-rock δ13Ccarb results, precluding the influence of severe authigenic carbonate incorporation. Importantly, the multiple negative δ13Ccarb excursions in the Wangji drill core were likely linked with upwelling events, during which DOC was supplied to the surface water and oxidized. Using box models, we estimate that ~3.6 × 1019 mol and ~2.0 × 1019 mol DOC were converted to bicarbonate during two negative δ13Ccarb excursions spanning millions of years. The estimations are approximately 1000 times the modern marine DOC reservoir. Our results support a relatively high oxidation capacity (elevated atmospheric pO2 and/or oceanic [

    \begin{document}${\rm{SO}}_4^{2 - }$\end{document}

    ]) of the Earth’s surface during the early Ediacaran Period.

    • The micro-drilled and whole-rock δ13Ccarb results for the Wangji drill core are well consistent, precluding severe authigenic carbonate influence.
    • Negative δ13Ccarb excursions indicate ~1019 mol oceanic DOC may have been oxidized.
    • The decrease of DOC reservoir suggests a more oxygenated surface Earth (elevated atmospheric pO2 and/or oceanic [${\rm{SO}}_4^{2 - }$]) in the Ediacaran Period.

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  • 加载中

Catalog

    Figure  1.  Geological history of atmospheric oxygen and oceanic redox state. pO2, atmospheric partial pressure of O2; PAL, present atmospheric level; Gyr, billion year; GOE, Great Oxygenation Event; NOE, Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event.

    Figure  2.  Schematic diagrams of two dominant primary producers regulating the marine organic carbon cycle, modified after Butterfield[17]. (a) Cyanobacteria-dominated oceans. (b) Algae-dominated oceans. DOC, dissolved organic carbon.

    Figure  3.  (a) Generalized geological map of China. (b) Paleogeographic reconstruction of the Yangtze platform (South China) consisting of different facies associations during the Ediacaran, modified after Jiang et al.[32]. The red star marks the location of the Wangji drill core. (c) Transect from north to south in the Yangtze platform and the location of the Wangji drill core. (d) Lithostratigraphic, whole-rock δ13Ccarb, and δ13Corg profiles of the Wangji drill core. The pink shading represents phosphorite-rich intervals. The ages are based on U/Pb dating by Condon et al.[34] and Chen et al.[35]. (E) Cross-plot of the whole-rock δ13Ccarb and δ13Corg values of the Wangji drill core.

    Figure  4.  Representative single polarizing microscope photos of thin sections from the Wangji drill core.

    Figure  5.  Photos of polished rock samples and micro-drilled δ13Ccarb results of the interval 58.9–519 m in the Wangji drill core. The whole-rock δ13Ccarb value is on the upper right corner, and the white scale bar in the bottom right corner is 1 cm.

    Figure  6.  Photos of polished rock samples and micro-drilled δ13Ccarb results for the interval 520.6–658.8 m in the Wangji drill core. The whole-rock δ13Ccarb value is on the upper right corner, and the white scale bar in the bottom right corner is 1 cm.

    Figure  7.  Photos of polished rock samples and micro-drilled δ13Ccarb results for the interval 663.6–669 m in the Wangji drill core. The whole-rock δ13Ccarb value is in the upper right corner, and the white scale bar in the bottom right corner is 1 cm.

    Figure  8.  Photos of polished rock samples and micro-drilled δ13Ccarb results for the interval 672.5–703.6 m in the Wangji drill core. The whole-rock δ13Ccarb value is on the upper right corner, and the white scale bar in the bottom right corner is 1 cm.

    Figure  9.  δ13Corg, δ13Ccarb, Δ13Ccarb-org, total organic carbon content (TOC), and δ18Ocarb profiles for the Wangji drill core. Yellow points represent micro-drilled δ13Ccarb and δ18Ocarb results obtained in this study. The pink shading represents phosphorite-rich intervals. The ages are based on U/Pb dating by Condon et al.[34] and Chen et al.[35].

    Figure  10.  Simple reservoir model of oceanic C cycling. Ms is the mass of the surface ocean DIC with the C isotope composition of δs; Md is the mass of the deep ocean DIC with the C isotope composition of δd; MDOC represents the mass of the deep ocean DOC with the C isotope composition of δDOC; Fi represents inputs of carbon from continental weathering, with an average isotopic composition of δi; Fsd is the inorganic carbon flux from the surface to the deep ocean; $ {F}_{{\rm {sd}}}^{\rm o} $ is the organic carbon flux from the surface to the deep ocean; FROC is the carbon flux from the remineralization of upwelled organic carbon, with the isotopic composition of δROC; Fcarb is the carbonate burial flux; and Forg is the organic carbon burial flux.

    Figure  11.  Comparison of the observed (three-point average) and modeled C isotope compositions in phosphorite-rich units in the Doushantuo Formation and model predictions of FROC and Δm/Ms* (the mass of remineralized DIC normalized by the initial DIC mass of the surface ocean). Time (t) is estimated by the deposition rate.

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    Farquhar J, Bao H, Thiemens M. Atmospheric influence of Earth’s earliest sulfur cycle. Science, 2000, 289 (5480): 756–758. doi: 10.1126/science.289.5480.756
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    Fike D A, Grotzinger J P, Pratt L M, et al. Oxidation of the Ediacaran ocean. Nature, 2006, 444 (7120): 744–747. doi: 10.1038/nature05345
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    [29]
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