TESTING THE FIDELITY OF THE SILURIAN CARBON ISOTOPE RECORD AS A PROXY FOR THE GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE
We present a series of δ13Ccarb transects spanning shallow ramp sections into their deep-water equivalents in four sedimentary basins, from two isolated paleocontinents. These transacts show a striking consistency in the range of values despite crossing a spectrum of paleogeographic and paleoenvironmental settings over hundreds of kilometers. Similarly, there is a remarkable correspondence between δ13C values from whole-rock, low-Mg brachiopod (extensively screened for evidence of diagenetic alteration) and organic carbon from these sections. Finally, the lockstep changes between δ13Ccarb values, other chemical/redox/climatic proxies and mass extinction events are in keeping those expected with variations in open ocean DIC values.
Combined our new and published high-resolution δ13Ccarb chemostratigraphy, sedimentology, and chrono-stratigraphic correlations, provide, arguably, some of the most thoroughly evaluated record of Paleozoic δ13Ccarb excursion events. Given previous approaches developed from studies of modern and ancient carbonates to test the fidelity between measured δ13Ccarb and open ocean DIC, our evaluation strongly suggests that the observed δ13Ccarb excursions and coincident paleo-biologic, -geochemical, and -environmental changes are, in fact, responding to changes in the global carbon cycle.