Integrated sedimentary, biotic, and paleoredox dynamics from multiple localities in southern Laurentia during the late Silurian (Ludfordian) extinction event
Summary, in English
The Silurian was a time of major climatic transition punctuated by multiple biotic crises and global carbon cycle perturbations. The most severe of these biotic events was the late Silurian (Ludfordian) Lau/Kozlowskii extinction event (LKE) and the associated Lau carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Although the extinction event and Lau CIE are globally documented, the only records thus far of local and global marine paleoredox conditions through this interval are from a single region in Scandinavia. Here we examine four sections along a bathymetric transect of mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sediments from western Tennessee, USA. A novel approach using a multi-proxy dataset combining high-resolution geochemical data and microfacies analyses from multiple localities explores the possibilities of local/regional-scale redox heterogeneities during a time of widespread environmental upheaval on a global scale. Paired positive excursions recorded in carbonate carbon isotopes and carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur isotopes support recent work from carbonate and siliciclastic successions from Scandinavia, suggesting a global enhancement of organic carbon and pyrite burial driven by an expansion of euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic water column) conditions in the oceans during the mid-Ludfordian. Furthermore, positive excursions in organic carbon isotopes and pyrite sulfur isotopes reflect the global changes in redox. Stratigraphic trends in I/Ca ratios imply a local expansion of low-oxygen conditions, with low, but non-zero values during the rising limb and peak of the CIE. The fossil assemblages vary across the shelf and through the CIE interval. Stratigraphic changes in fossil assemblages and I/Ca are closely associated with local and global changes in oxygenation and sea level during the mid-Ludfordian. The collective data indicate significant biotic reorganization in response to changes in marine redox conditions and in conjunction with sea-level variation during the LKE interval, but detailed macroscopic biodiversity is currently unconstrained for this region.
- Sea level
- Sulfur isotopes
- ISSN: 0031-0182