Paper No. 159-0
COETZEE, Louis L.1, BEUKES, Nicolas J.1, GUTZMER, Jens1, and KAKEGAWA, Takeshi2, (1) Geology, Rand Afrikaans Univ, P.O.Box 524, Auckland Park, Johannesburg, 2006, South Africa,, (2) Research Center for Environmental Geochemistry, Tohoku Univ, Sendai, Japan

Secular organic carbon isotope variations in the early Precambrian are often used as evidence for ancient life and environmental changes on Earth. However, there is a wide range of organic carbon d13CPDB values at any point in time. The origin of these variations has not been investigated and forms the focus of this study. We analysed deep drill-core intersections of well preserved carbonaceous shale of the Paleoproterozoic Timeball Hill Formation of the Transvaal Supergroup. The succession lends itself ideally for integrated geochemical, petrographic and sedimentological studies because it comprises well defined stacked genetic increments of sedimentation (parasequences) ranging from prodelta black shale to delta front sand, lateritic oolitic ironstone and glacial diamictite, crosscut by two diabase sills, minor hydrothermal calcite veinlets and a deep groundwater alteration zone.


Organic carbon d13CPDB values vary between -34.7 and -24.8. Careful stratigraphic evaluation of the data indicates that sharply defined positive shifts in d13Corg. values (up to 8) occur in the immediate vicinity of calcite veinlets, diabase sills and along the recent deep groundwater alteration zone. Second, upward enrichment in 13Corganic takes place in individual shallowing upward deltaic parasequences. These could be related to more effective aerobic degradation of organic matter in shallow delta front environments relative to deep prodelta settings. Third, we recognize a gradual overall upward enrichment in 13Corganic from deltaic deposits, with associated lateritic oolitic ironstones, in the lower part of the succession to glacial deposits near the top. This trend is thought to reflect a long term global change in the isotopic composition of the oceanic carbon reservoir. It is related to more effective organic carbon burial that resulted in a major climatic change from warm lateritic to glacial ice-house conditions.


GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 159
Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography II
Hynes Convention Center: 103
8:15 AM-12:00 PM, Thursday, November 8, 2001

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