Strong positive fractionation of chromium isotopes in iron formation of the Jacadigo Group (Brazil) – A link to enhanced atmospheric oxygenation during the Late Neoproterozoic

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  • Trygvi Bech Árting
  • Paulo César Boggiani
  • Claudio Gaucher
  • Henrique Albuquerque Fernandes
  • Frei, Robert

Cr isotopes recorded in iron formations (IF) are considered to have the potential to reflect the isotope signatures in respective ambient surface seawater. The ∼600 Ma Fe and Mn deposits pertaining to the Banda Alta Formation (Urucum district, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil), comprise the world's youngest and largest Neoproterozoic sedimentary Fe and Mn formations (MnF). Shale normalized Rare Earth Element and Yttrium (REY) patterns of drillcore samples show flat, positively sloped patterns with absent Europium anomalies and near- to supra-chondritic Yttrium-Holmium ratios with negative Cerium anomalies, which imply intermittent mixing of freshwater with seawater. Redox sensitive element enrichment factors (MoEF, UEF, CrEF) show positive correlation, indicating varying redox conditions across the Jacadigo Basin, with ephemeral euxinic conditions. The Cr isotope signatures across the Urucum IF (δ53Crauth at: Morraria Grande + 0.93 ± 0.34 ‰, 2σ, n = 28; Morro do Rabichão + 0.5 ± 0.4 ‰, 2σ, n = 3; and Morro do Urucum ca. + 0.64 ‰, n = 1) are statistically indistinguishable from previously published surface outcrop samples at Morro do Urucum. Our new data support: (1) a stable supply of oxidized Cr potentially from continental sources at the time of deposition, implying high atmospheric O2 levels in the Late Neoproterozoic; (2) insignificant alteration of the authigenic Cr isotope signals by tropical weathering despite surface iron up-concentration and leaching of carbonates, and (3) lack of isotope effects that would be associated with non-quantitative reduction processes and accompanying particulate transport to the chemical sediments in the Jacadigo Basin. The combined information from (isotope)geochemical data presented herein speak for a deposition of the Urucum IFs in restricted, periodically ice-covered and stratified sub-basins with partial connection to the open ocean, and for the presence of a sufficiently oxidative atmosphere which promoted a continuous supply of the surface waters with isotopically heavy Cr from the weathering landmasses at this time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGondwana Research
Pages (from-to)39-60
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Banda Alta Formation, Chromium isotopes, Late Neoproterozoic, Marinoan glaciation, Urucum iron formation Brazil

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