New radiometric age constraints on the Ordovician-Silurian boundary from Anticosti Island (eastern Canada) and the Siljan district (Sweden)

Date

2019-08-30

Authors

Cappello, Mariko

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Abstract

The transition from the end of the Ordovician to the beginning of the Silurian Period is characterized by the glaciation of the Gondwana paleocontinent, eustatic sea level change, a perturbation to the global carbon cycle and one of the ve major mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic Eon. Due to signi cant sea level fall, the Ordovician-Silurian (O-S) boundary is often marked by hiatus and exposure in the shallow marine geologic record (e.g., Copper et al. [2013]). Two locations that host stratigraphic succession close to the boudary are Anticosti Basin of Quebec (Canada, e.g., Desrochers et al. [2010]), and the carbonate mounds of the Siljan ring district (Dalarna County, Sweden, e.g., Ebbestad et al. [2015]). The exact timing and dynamics of the glaciation and mass extinction are yet to be understood. Similarly, the interplay between those events and the carbon cycle perturbation are still unclear. As a result, there is a serious need for radiometric age constraints in this crucial part of the Paleozoic Era. The acquisition of more radiometric dates, achieved in this study, aims to address the present dearth of absolute dates close to the boundary. The dates produced in this study represent the first modern geochronologic constraints on the O-S boundary, leveraging the development of the EARTHTIME initiative and the latest U-Pb dating techniques that have improved accuracy and allowed for dating of single zircon crystals at <=0.1% precision level. Here I present two new U-Pb zircon ages obtained via bentonite dating. The first bentonite, 443.61+-0.52 Ma (2, including analytical, tracer calibration and decay constant uncertainties) was collected from the base of the Lousy Cove Member, Ellis Bay Formation (Anticosti Island, Quebec, Canada). The second one, 443.28+-0.50 Ma (including analytical, tracer calibration and decay constant uncertainties) comes from a karstic void within the Boda Core Facies of the Boda Formation (Dalarna County, Sweden). U-Pb geochronology (chemical abrasion, isotope dilution, thermal ionization mass spectrometry: CA-ID-TIMS) on single zircons was used to obtain these ages. These results are the closest radiometric ages to the current O-S boundary (compared to any time constraints in the 2012 Geologic Time Scale) and allow to signifcantly reduce the uncertainty of the current age boundary (443.8+-1.5, Cohen et al. [2018]). Furthermore these absolute ages have been used to make models that explore drivers of Earth system change, such as an end-Ordovician global carbon cycle perturbation.

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Keywords

U-Pb geochronology, CA-ID-TIMS, zircon, Ordovician-Silurian boundary

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