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Tonian-Cryogenian boundary sections of Argyll, Scotland
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Number of Authors: 162018 (English)In: Precambrian Research, ISSN 0301-9268, E-ISSN 1872-7433, Vol. 319, p. 37-64Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Tonian-Cryogenian System boundary is to be defined at a GSSP (Global Boundary Stratigraphic Section and Point) beneath the first evidence of widespread glaciation. A candidate lies within the Dalradian Supergroup of Scotland and Ireland, which is least deformed and metamorphosed in Argyll, western Scotland. We present new stratigraphic profiles and interpretations from the Isle of Islay and the Garvellach Islands, update the chemostratigraphy of the Appin Group Tonian carbonates underlying the thick (ca. 1 km) glacigenic Port Askaig Formation (PAF) and demonstrate an environmental transition at the contact. The Appin Group forms a regionally extensive, > 4 km-thick, succession of limestones, shales and sandstones deposited on a marine shelf. On Islay, the upper part of the lithostratigraphy has been clarified by measuring and correlating two sections containing distinctive stratigraphic levels including molar tooth structure, oolite, stromatolitic dolomite and intraclastic microbial mounds. Significantly deeper erosion at the unconformity at the base of the overlying PAF is demonstrated in the southern section. Carbonate facies show a gradual decline in delta C-13(VPDB) from +5 to + 2 parts per thousand upwards. In NE Garbh Eileach (Garvellach Islands), a continuously exposed section of Appin Group carbonates, 70 m thick, here designated the Garbh Eileach Formation (GEF), lies conformably beneath the PAF. The GEF and the GEF-PAF boundary relationships are re -described with new sedimentological logs, petrological and stable isotope data. Interstratified limestone and dolomicrosparite with delta C-13 of -4 to -7 parts per thousand (a feature named the Garvellach anomaly, replacing the term Islay anomaly) are overlain by dolomite in which the isotope signature becomes weakly positive (up to +1 parts per thousand) upwards. Shallow subtidal conditions become peritidal upwards, with evidence of wave and storm activity. Gypsum pseudomorphs and subaerial exposure surfaces are common near the top of the GEF. The basal diamictite (D1) of the PAF is rich in carbonate clasts similar to slightly deeper water parts of the underlying succession. D1 is typically several metres thick with interstratified sandstone and conglomerate, but dies out laterally. Scattered siliciclastic coarse sandstone to pebble conglomerate with dropstones associated with soft -sediment deformation is interbedded with carbonate below and above D1. Dolomite beds with derived intraclasts and gypsum pseudomorphs are found above D1 (or equivalent position, where Dl is absent). Published and new Sr isotope studies, including successive leach data, demonstrate primary Tonian Sr-87/Sr-86 values of 0.7066-0.7069 on Islay, decreasing to 0.7064-0.7066 in the younger GEF limestones on the Garvellachs, with 1700-2700 ppm Sr. Other typically Tonian characteristics of the carbonates are the Sr-rich nature of limestones, molar tooth structure, and dolomitized peritidal facies with evidence of aridity. Seabed surveys suggesting uniformly-dipping strata and shallow borehole core material illustrate the potential for extending the Tonian record offshore of the Garvellachs. A candidate Tonian-Cryogenian GSSP is proposed on Garbh Eileach within the smooth delta C-13 profile at the cross-over to positive delta C-13 signatures, 4 m below the first occurrence of ice-rafted sediment and 9 m below the first diamictite. Although lacking radiometric constraints or stratigraphically significant biotas or biomarkers, the Scottish succession has a thick and relatively complete sedimentary record of glaciation, coherent carbon and strontium chemostratigraphy, lateral continuity of outcrops and 100% exposure at the proposed boundary interval.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 319, p. 37-64
Keywords [en]
Neoproterozoic, Limestone, Glaciation, Dolomite, Carbon isotopes, Strontium isotopes
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165729DOI: 10.1016/j.precamres.2017.09.020ISI: 000454376400004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165729DiVA, id: diva2:1286292
Available from: 2019-02-06 Created: 2019-02-06 Last updated: 2019-12-09Bibliographically approved

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