News Release

New Geology articles published online ahead of print in February

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Geological Society of America

New Geology Articles Published Online Ahead of Print in February

Boulder, Colo., USA: Article topics and locations include the Coriolis effect; insights from iron isotopes; ocean paleotemperatures; the Midcontinent Rift; the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica; the South Bohemian batholith; the creeping section of the San Andreas fault; the growth of the Tibetan Plateau; and the dwarf planet Ceres. These Geology articles are online at .

Giant sheath-folded nappe stack demonstrates extreme subhorizontal shear strain in an Archean orogen
Yating Zhong; Timothy M. Kusky; Lu Wang
Abstract: Giant sheath-folded nappes are associated with suture zones and emplacement of far-traveled allochthons in Phanerozoic orogens, demonstrating a rare but significant geologic phenomenon indicative of modern-style plate tectonics. We document the world’s oldest-known subhorizontal mega-scale sheath fold from Archean Alpine-style nappes of the Central orogenic belt, North China craton. The Zanhuang nappes are recumbent Alpine-style forearc-affinity metabasaltic and metasedimentary nappes emplaced over a passive continental margin in the Archean, marking an ancient suture zone. Field evidence shows multiscale sheath folds from decimeters to tens of meters in size, and our three-dimensional fence profile, fold hinges, kinematic lineations, and lithological traces define an ~1-km-long (parallel to the x-axis) sheath fold in the core of the nappe stack. Structural analysis statistically demonstrates the macro-scale recumbent sheath-folded nappe preserves a complete 180° hinge-line curvature. The giant sheath fold plunges northwest, reflecting its formation during non-coaxial, top-to-the-southeast shearing with extremely high shear strain (γ ≥10), equated to >10 km of ductile slip on the bounding surfaces. Slip vectors derived from S-C fabrics on overturned limbs are consistent with rotation into the southeast-directed transport direction, parallel to the similarly rotated fold hinges. Comparison of the giant sheath-folded nappes from the Archean Zanhuang example with mega-scale sheath folds in Phanerozoic and Proterozoic orogens shows that Neoarchean lithosphere was stiff enough to allow tectonics to operate in a manner analogous to modern-style plate tectonics.
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Oligocene onset of uplift and inversion of the Cascadia forearc basin, southern Oregon Coast Range, USA
Michael H. Darin; John M. Armentrout; Rebecca J. Dorsey
Abstract: An extensive detrital zircon U-Pb data set (n = 6324 dates) from Eocene to Miocene sandstones and modern river sands establishes the onset of arc magmatism and forearc uplift along the Cascadia convergent margin in southwestern Oregon (United States). Middle to late Eocene marine strata in the Coos Bay area were primarily sourced from the Klamath Mountains and coeval Clarno-Challis volcanoes in central Oregon and/or Idaho. Ancestral Cascades arc magmatism initiated at 40 Ma and supplied sediment to a broad forearc basin in western Oregon during late Eocene time. Major reduction of Ancestral Cascades arc (40–12 Ma) and Clarno-Challis (52–40 Ma) zircon in the Tunnel Point Sandstone (ca. 33–30 Ma) records the isolation of the Coos Bay area from the Ancestral Cascades arc due to Oligocene onset of forearc uplift, basin inversion, and emergence of the southern Oregon Coast Range. The Tarheel formation (ca. 18–15 Ma) is characterized by disappearance of Ancestral Cascades arc zircon and a substantial increase in Clarno-Challis zircon recycled from underlying forearc strata. The ~15–20 m.y. delay between subduction initiation (ca. 49–46 Ma) and the onset of forearc uplift (ca. 33–30 Ma) supports insights from thermomechanical models that identify tectonic underplating and thermally activated lower-crustal flow as major drivers of deformation and uplift in active forearc regions.
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The continent-to-ocean transition in the Iberia Abyssal Plain
Ingo Grevemeyer; Cesar R. Ranero; Cord Papenberg; Valenti Sallares; Rafael Bartolomé ...
Abstract: Conceptual models of magma-poor rifting are strongly based on studies of the nature of the basement in the continent-to-ocean transition of the Iberia Abyssal Plain, and suggest that exhumed mantle abuts extended continental crust. Yet, basement has only been sampled at a few sites, and its regional nature and the transition to seafloor spreading inferred from relatively low-resolution geophysical data are inadequately constrained. This uncertainty has led to a debate about the subcontinental or seafloor-spreading origin of exhumed mantle and the rift-related or oceanic nature of magmatic crust causing the magnetic J anomaly. Different interpretations change the locus of break-up by >100 km and lead to debate of the causative processes. We present the tomographic velocity structure along a 360-km-long seismic profile centered at the J anomaly in the Iberia Abyssal Plain. Rather than delineating an excessive outpouring of magma, the J anomaly occurs over subdued basement. Furthermore, its thin crust shows the characteristic layering of oceanic crust and is juxtaposed to exhumed mantle, marking the onset of magma-starved seafloor spreading, which yields the westward limit of an ~160-km-wide continent–ocean transition zone where continental mantle has been unroofed. This zone is profoundly asymmetric with respect to its conjugate margin, suggesting that the majority of mantle exhumation occurs off Iberia. Because the J anomaly is related to the final break-up and emplacement of oceanic crust, it neither represents synrift magmatism nor defines an isochron, and hence it poorly constrains plate tectonic reconstructions.
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Tibetan Plateau growth linked to crustal thermal transitions since the Miocene
Xiu-Zheng Zhang; Qiang Wang; Derek Wyman; Quan Ou; Yue Qi ...
Abstract: The topographic transition of central–northern Tibet since the early Miocene has created a consistently high and flat plateau similar to that of today. However, to date, the associated deep crust and/or mantle events are poorly understood, mainly due to an early Miocene metamorphic–magmatic lull within the Qiangtang Block. To address this issue, we undertook a study of crustal xenoliths and zircon xenocrysts in 6.0–2.3 Ma lavas in the Qiangtang Block. The occurrence of 22.6–12.9 Ma high-temperature–low-pressure granulite xenoliths implies that the middle crust of the block has been very hot since that time. Zircon xenocrysts and granitic xenoliths from 6.0–2.3 Ma lavas were studied and shown to have high δ18O values, which supports Miocene crustal melting and the formation of unexposed, coeval felsic plutons. Combined with paleoelevation data from the Tibetan Plateau, our results suggest that the early Miocene cold–hot thermal transition of the middle–lower crust was near-synchronous with topographic evolution from high-relief mountains to a flat plateau, which supports crustal flow as the main topographic smoothing mechanism for central–northern Tibet.
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Decrypting the polymetamorphic record of the Himalaya
Iva Lihter; Kyle P. Larson; Matthijs A. Smit; John M. Cottle; Kyle T. Ashley ...
Abstract: Reconstructions of the tectonometamorphic architectures of orogenic systems rely on petrogenetic indicator minerals, such as garnet, to trace the transport of rocks through space and time. We show the results of new garnet Lu–Hf geochronology and inclusion U-(Th-)Pb geochronology from exhumed midcrustal metamorphic rocks exposed in the Kanchenjunga region of the eastern Nepalese Himalaya. Garnet in three of the five specimens analyzed yielded pre-Himalayan Lu–Hf dates of ca. 292–230 Ma, which contrasts with Himalayan-aged inclusions therein. Garnet in these specimens either grew entirely during the Early Permian opening of the Neo-Tethys Ocean or grew partly during Cambrian–Ordovician orogenesis and partly during the Cenozoic. The remaining two specimens yield Lu–Hf ages of ca. 50 Ma, which are some of the oldest recorded dates for Himalayan metamorphism. The apparent discordance between the geochronological techniques highlights a potential issue with interpretations that rely on single-geochron-method inclusion records. These results further show that some pressure-temperature determinations used in Himalayan models may not be Himalayan in age.
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Long-lasting viscous drainage of eclogites from the cratonic lithospheric mantle after Archean subduction stacking
Zhensheng Wang; Timothy M. Kusky; Lu Wang
Abstract: The origin of early continental lithosphere is enigmatic. Characteristics of eclogitic components in the cratonic lithospheric mantle (CLM) indicate that some CLM was likely constructed by stacking of subducted oceanic lithosphere in the Archean. However, the dynamic process of converting high-density, eclogite-bearing subducted oceanic lithosphere to buoyant CLM remains unclear. We investigate this process through numerical modeling and show that some subducted and stacked eclogites can be segregated into the asthenosphere through an episodic viscous drainage process lasting billions of years. This process increases the chemical buoyancy of the CLM, stabilizes the CLM, and promotes the preservation and redistribution of the eclogites in the CLM, explaining the current status of early subduction relicts in the CLM revealed by geophysical and petrological studies. Our results also demonstrate that the subduction stacking hypothesis does not conflict with the longevity of CLM.
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History of earthquakes along the creeping section of the San Andreas fault, California, USA
Genevieve L. Coffey; Heather M. Savage; Pratigya J. Polissar; Stephen E. Cox; Sidney R. Hemming ...
Abstract: Creeping faults are difficult to assess for seismic hazard because they may participate in rupture even though they likely cannot nucleate large earthquakes. The creeping central section of the San Andreas fault in California (USA) has not participated in a historical large earthquake; however, earthquake ruptures nucleating in the locked northern and southern sections may propagate through the creeping section. We used biomarker thermal maturity and K/Ar dating on samples from the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth to look for evidence of earthquakes. Biomarkers show evidence of many earthquakes with displacements >1.5 m in and near a 3.5-m-wide patch of the fault. We show that K/Ar ages decrease with thermal maturity, and partial resetting occurs during coseismic heating. Therefore, measured ages provide a maximum constraint on earthquake age, and the youngest earthquakes here are younger than 3 Ma. Our results demonstrate that creeping faults may host large earthquakes over longer time scales.
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Calibrating the Russøya excursion in Svalbard, Norway, and implications for Neoproterozoic chronology
Alexie E.G. Millikin; Justin V. Strauss; Galen P. Halverson; Kristin D. Bergmann; Nicholas J. Tosca ...
Abstract: The Tonian–Ediacaran Hecla Hoek succession of Svalbard, Norway, represents one of the most complete and well-preserved Neoproterozoic sedimentary successions worldwide. With diverse fossil assemblages, an extensive carbonate δ13C record, and sedimentary evidence for two distinct Cryogenian glaciations, this succession will continue to yield insights into the Neoproterozoic Earth system; however, at present there are no direct radiometric age constraints for these strata. We present two new Re-Os ages and initial Os isotope data that constrain the timing of Neoproterozoic glaciation in Svalbard, providing further support for two globally synchronous Cryogenian glaciations and insight into pre- and post-snowball global weathering conditions. An age from the Russøya Member (Elbobreen Formation) facilitates correlation of the negative carbon isotope excursion recorded therein with the pre-glacial “Islay” excursion of the Callison Lake Formation of northwestern Canada and the Didikama and Matheos Formations of Ethiopia. We propose that this globally synchronous ca. 735 Ma carbon isotope excursion be referred to as the Russøya excursion with northeastern Svalbard as the type locality. This new age provides an opportunity to construct a time-calibrated geological framework in Svalbard to assess connections between biogeochemical cycling, evolutionary innovations within the eukaryotes, and the most extreme climatic changes in Earth history.
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Zn-, Mg- and O-isotope evidence for the origin of mantle eclogites from Roberts Victor kimberlite (Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa)
Jian Huang; Jin-Xiang Huang; William L. Griffin; Fang Huang
Abstract: We report Zn-isotope compositions of garnet, clinopyroxene, and whole rocks for 14 Type I and 10 Type II eclogites from the Roberts Victor kimberlite (Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa) that were previously analyzed for Mg-O isotopes. Type II eclogites are the protoliths of the highly metasomatized Type I. Garnet and clinopyroxene in Type II eclogites have δ66Zn from 0.14‰ to 0.50‰ and from 0.29‰ to 0.58‰, respectively; reconstructed whole-rock δ66Zn is from 0.24‰ to 0.54‰, which is higher than typical mantle values (0.16–0.20‰). Their heavy Zn- and light Mg- and O-isotope compositions (δ26Mg = –1.1‰ to –0.14‰, δ18O = 2.3‰ to 4.9‰) cannot originate from subducted, carbonate-rich, altered oceanic crust, which is enriched in heavy Zn-O and light Mg isotopes. The low δ18O may be inherited from parental melts derived from low-δ 18O mantle sources like those that produced the Weltevreden komatiites of the Kaapvaal Craton. The high δ66Zn and low δ 26Mg reflect diffusion-driven Zn-Mg–isotope exchange between peridotites and the parental melts during their emplacement in the deep lithosphere. Type I eclogites have reconstructed whole-rock δ66 Zn from 0.03‰ to 0.43‰ and garnet δ18O from 6‰ to 9.1‰ but show more scatter in inter-mineral Zn-isotope fractionation than Type II, reflecting incomplete equilibration during later metasomatism by carbonatitic-to-kimberlitic melts. Our evidence from multiple isotopes thus suggests that the Roberts Victor eclogites might have crystallized from deep-seated melts at mantle depths.
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No effect of thermal maturity on the Mo, U, Cd, and Zn isotope compositions of Lower Jurassic organic-rich sediments
Alexander J. Dickson; Erdem Idiz; Don Porcelli; Melissa J. Murphy; Ricardo Celestino ...
Abstract: The isotope ratios of redox-sensitive metals in organic-rich rocks are critical tools for quantifying the timing and severity of deoxygenation and nutrient cycling in Earth’s past. The resilience of isotopic data to thermal alteration of the host sediments over millions of years of burial is, however, largely unknown. We present molybdenum, uranium, cadmium, and zinc stable-isotope data from two stratigraphic successions of the same Lower Jurassic Posidonienschiefer unit in the Lower Saxony Basin of northern Germany that were affected by different burial histories. We show that thermal maturity had no effect on the isotopic compositions of these elements but does appear to have increased their concentrations in the rock. The data corroborate the results of laboratory-based maturation studies and provide constraints on the Mo, U, Cd, and Zn isotopic compositions of ca. 182 Ma seawater in the Lower Saxony Basin.
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Coriolis effect recorded in Late Pleistocene Marine Isotope Stage 5e Bahamian aeolianites
Ben Rendall; Kat Wilson; Charles Kerans; Mark Helper; David Mohrig
Abstract: The windward islands of the Lucayan Archipelago (Bahamas) form an Atlantic Ocean– facing transect spanning >950 km in length and 6° of latitude. The islands’ topography is largely constructed from carbonate wind-blown dunes (i.e., aeolianites) deposited during the interglacial phases of the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. New digital elevation data from satellite radar interferometry (TanDEM-X German Earth observation satellite) enables a step change in the ability to map and quantify Bahamian aeolian landforms across the archipelago. A semi-automated mapping approach that leverages object-based image analysis yields a total aeolianite area of ~1674 km 2 across Great Abaco, Eleuthera, Cat, San Salvador, Long, Crooked, Acklins, and Mayaguana islands (Bahamas) and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Longitudinal axis measurements from 747 Pleistocene parabolic dunes record increasing consistency of east-west orientation with decreasing latitude. Three U.S. National Data Buoy Center data buoys provided modern wind direction and velocity measurements (n = 730,933 of each) along this transect. Analysis of wind vectors (>P90 [90th percentile], n = 70,095) demonstrates increasing organization of easterlies at southern latitudes and an offset in directionality compared to formational winds of Pleistocene Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e deposits. Southward trends of increasing wind strength and consistency reflect geostrophic flow driven by atmospheric circulation within the Hadley cell and right-hand deflection of the Coriolis effect in the Northern Hemisphere. We propose that the offset in directionality between dune axes and modern wind vectors is related to changes in latitudinal width of the Hadley cell from the Late Pleistocene (MIS 5e) to today. This data set is robust enough to serve as a benchmark against which future atmospheric circulation models can be compared.
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What drives Fe depletion in calc-alkaline magma differentiation: Insights from Fe isotopes
De-Hong Du; Ming Tang; Weiqiang Li; Suzanne Mahlburg Kay; Xiao-Lei Wang
Abstract: The continental crust is strongly depleted in iron relative to mid-oceanic ridge basalt, broadly identical to the calc-alkaline magmas, suggesting that calc-alkaline differentiation is key to continent formation. However, it remains contentious as to what drives Fe depletion during magmatic differentiation in the crust. The two competing hypotheses for calc-alkaline differentiation—magnetite versus garnet (± amphibole) fractionation—predict contrasting Fe isotopic fractionation pathways in evolved melts because magnetite preferentially depletes ferric, isotopically heavy Fe whereas garnet (± amphibole) does the opposite. We report whole-rock Fe isotope data for two suites of igneous rocks from the central Andes, which represent magmas traversing normal and thickened arc crust, respectively. The magmas traversing thickened crust show a strong Fe depletion trend and consistently high δ56Fe values (0.14‰ ± 0.02‰, 1 standard deviation [SD]), while those traversing normal crust are less depleted in Fe and show variable δ56Fe values (0.10‰ ± 0.05‰, 1SD). The two Andean suites are both isotopically heavier than Mariana arc (Pacific Ocean) magmas that differentiate along tholeiitic (Fe-enriching) paths. These results confirm that garnet (± amphibole) fractionation/retention is the primary driver of Fe depletion in calc-alkaline magmas, and highlight a role for crustal thickening in generating calc-alkaline magmas.
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Reassessment of ocean paleotemperatures during the Late Ordovician
Bryce B. Barney; Ethan L. Grossman
Abstract: The Late Ordovician is a paradox, with a greenhouse climate shifting to an icehouse climate during a time of presumably high CO2 levels. We used clumped isotope (Δ47) microanalysis of fossil brachiopod shells to determine paleotemperatures of North America (Cincinnati Arch) during the Katian (453–443 Ma). Microanalyses of fossil brachiopods yielded a right-skewed distribution of clumped isotope temperatures [T47)] ranging from 25 °C to 55 °C with a mode of 32 °C and a mean of 36 °C. To test the impact of Δ47 reordering (reequilibration of 13C-18O bonding) at burial temperatures onT47), we applied a Monte Carlo simulation to a Δ 47 reordering model based on the burial history. Because the reordering simulation indicated partial reordering, we used the simulation results to back-calculate T47) and correct the reordering effect. Correcting for reordering decreased the mean T47) by only ~1 °C, to 35 °C, and did not change the mode (32 °C). These temperatures are lower than those of previous studies, but still suggest that the Late Ordovician climate of the Cincinnati Arch was warmer than the modern subtropical seas. However, carbonate facies in these strata argue for upwelling of cool water; thus, typical subtropical surface waters may have been as warm as 35 °C approaching the Hirnantian glaciation. Seawater δ18O values derived from back-calculated T47) and brachiopod δ18O values average –0.3‰ ± 0.6‰ relative to Vienna standard mean ocean water (VSMOW), consistent with the value expected for subtropical surface waters in a greenhouse Earth, assuming a constant seawater-δ18O model.
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Final inversion of the Midcontinent Rift during the Rigolet Phase of the Grenvillian Orogeny
Eben B. Hodgin; Nicholas L. Swanson-Hysell; James M. DeGraff; Andrew R.C. Kylander-Clark; Mark D. Schmitz ...
Abstract: Despite being a prominent continental-scale feature, the late Mesoproterozoic North American Midcontinent Rift did not result in the break-up of Laurentia, and subsequently underwent structural inversion. The timing of inversion is critical for constraining far-field effects of orogenesis and processes associated with the rift’s failure. The Keweenaw fault in northern Michigan (USA) is a major thrust structure associated with rift inversion; it places ca. 1093 Ma rift volcanic rocks atop the post-rift Jacobsville Formation, which is folded in its footwall. Previous detrital zircon (DZ) U-Pb geochronology conducted by laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) assigned a ca. 950 Ma maximum age to the Jacobsville Formation and led researchers to interpret its deposition and deformation as postdating the ca. 1090–980 Ma Grenvillian Orogeny. In this study, we reproduced similar DZ dates using LA-ICP-MS and then dated 19 of the youngest DZ grains using high-precision chemical abrasion–isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS). The youngest DZ dated by CA-ID-TIMS at 992.51 ± 0.64 Ma (2σ) redefines the maximum depositional age of the Jacobsville Formation and overlaps with a U-Pb LA-ICP-MS date of 985.5 ± 35.8 Ma (2σ) for late-kinematic calcite veins within the brecciated Keweenaw fault zone. Collectively, these data are interpreted to constrain deposition of the Jacobsville Formation and final rift inversion to have occurred during the 1010–980 Ma Rigolet Phase of the Grenvillian Orogeny, following an earlier phase of Ottawan inversion. Far-field deformation propagated >500 km into the continental interior during the Ottawan and Rigolet phases of the Grenvillian Orogeny.
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Reconciling persistent sub-zero temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, with Neogene dynamic marine ice-sheet fluctuations
Anna Ruth W. Halberstadt; Douglas E. Kowalewski; Robert M. DeConto
Abstract: In the Ross Sea sector of Antarctica, periodic large-scale marine ice-sheet fluctuations since the mid-Miocene are recorded by drill core and seismic data, revealing a dynamic ice-sheet response to past increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2. In the adjacent, predominantly ice-free McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDVs), preserved terrestrial landscapes reflect persistent cold conditions and have been interpreted as indicators of a stable polar ice sheet, implying that the Antarctic Ice Sheet was largely insensitive during past warm periods. These disparate data-based perspectives highlight a long-standing debate around the past stability of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, with direct implications for the future ice-sheet response to ongoing climate warming. We reconcile marine records of dynamic ice-sheet behavior and episodic open-marine conditions with nearby ancient terrestrial landscapes recording consistent cold-polar conditions. Coupled ice-sheet and regional climate models nested at a high resolution are used to investigate surface temperatures in the MDVs during past warm periods. We find that high-elevation regions of the MDVs remain below freezing even when ice-free conditions prevail in the nearby Ross Sea. We compare observed landscapes with the spatial extent of modeled persistent cold conditions required for preservation of these ancient features, demonstrating that frozen MDVs landscapes could have coexisted with receded or collapsed ice sheets during past warm periods.
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Ultrahigh-temperature granites and a curious thermal eye in the post-collisional South Bohemian batholith of the Variscan orogenic belt (Europe)
Fritz Finger; David Schiller; Martin Lindner; Christoph Hauzenberger; Kryštof Verner ...
Abstract: Comprehensive zircon thermometry that takes into account zircon saturation temperatures, Ti-in-zircon measurements, and zircon morphologies and microstructures can provide key information on the thermal evolution of a granite batholith. The Variscan South Bohemian batholith (Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic) comprises a series of granitoid units that intruded between ca. 330 and ca. 300 Ma. We categorize the granitic rocks according to their emplacement temperature into very low temperature (T) (VLT; <750 °C), low T (LT; 750–800 °C), medium T (MT; 800–850 °C), high T (HT; 850–900 °C), and ultrahigh T (UHT; >900 °C). The first stage of batholith formation (ca. 330–325 Ma) is characterized by LT to MT melting of mainly metasedimentary sources driven by their isothermal exhumation. In turn, ca. 322 Ma HT and UHT granites in the southern half of the batholith reveal an ephemeral thermal anomaly in the subbatholithic crust, which is presumably linked to a hidden mafic intrusion. The HT and UHT granites are weakly peraluminous, high-K, I-type rocks. Although sharing some features with A-type granites such as high Zr and rare earth element contents, they differ from classical A-type granites in being magnesian, not enriched in Ga over Al, and having high Ba and Sr contents. A ring structure of ca. 317 Ma MT and/or LT plutons is observed around the HT and/or UHT granite complex and interpreted as an aftermath of the hotspot event. This study is an example of how deep-crustal hotspots, presumably caused by mantle magmatism, can significantly enhance the effects of decompressional crustal melting in a post-collisional setting.
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Boron proxies record paleosalinity variation in the North American Midcontinent Sea in response to Carboniferous glacio-eustasy
Wei Wei; Wenchao Yu; Thomas J. Algeo; Achim D. Herrmann; Lian Zhou ...
Abstract: Salinity variation in ancient epicontinental seas has long been challenging to reconstruct. We determined salinity variation in the Late Pennsylvanian North American Midcontinent Sea based on normalized boron concentrations (B/Ga) and isotopic compositions (δ11B) of bulk shale. We analyzed the Stark Shale Member of the Missourian Stage Dennis Limestone cyclothem in the Charleston core (CC) from the Illinois Basin (eastward, more proximal) and the Iowa Riverton core (IRC) from the Midcontinent Shelf (westward, more distal). Both cores exhibited the same pattern of secular variation, with lower B/Ga and δ11B values at their base and top, recording less saline conditions during lower sea-level stands, and higher values in their middle part, recording more saline conditions at highstands—a pattern that conforms to conventional sequence stratigraphic and glacio-eustatic interpretations of Midcontinent cyclothems. At equivalent stratigraphic levels, B/Ga and δ11B values are systematically lower at CC relative to IRC, reflecting the generally lower salinity conditions of the Illinois Basin relative to the Midcontinent shelf, which is consistent with greater freshwater influence from the east due to heavy river runoff into the Appalachian foreland basin. Our findings serve to demonstrate the utility of paired B concentration and isotope data for paleosalinity analysis of deep-time shale formations.
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Implications for Ediacaran biological evolution from the ca. 602 Ma Lantian biota in China
Chuan Yang; Yang Li; David Selby; Bin Wan; Chengguo Guan ...
Abstract: The morphologically differentiated benthic macrofossils of algae and putative animal affinities of the Lantian biota in China represents the oldest known Ediacaran macroscopic eukaryotic assemblage. Although the biota provides remarkable insights into the early evolution of complex macroeukaryotes in the Ediacaran, the uncertainty in its age has hampered any robust biological evaluation. We resolve this issue by applying a petrographic-guided rhenium-osmium (Re-Os) organic-bearing sedimentary unit study on the Lantian biota. This work confines a minimum age for the first appearance of the Lantian biota to 602 ± 7 Ma (2σ, including decay constant uncertainty). This new Re-Os date confirms that the Lantian biota is of early–mid Ediacaran age and temporally distinct from the typical Ediacaran macrobiotas. Our results indicate that the differentiation and radiation of macroscopic eukaryotes, and the evolution of the primitive, erect epibenthic ecosystem, occurred in the early–mid Ediacaran and were associated with highly fluctuating oceanic redox conditions. The radiogenic initial 187Os/188Os ratios derived from the Lantian (1.14 ± 0.02) and other Ediacaran shales invoke oxidative weathering of upper continental crust in the early–middle Ediacaran, which may have stimulated the evolution of life and oceanic-atmospheric oxygenation. Integrated with published Ediacaran chronological and geochemical data, our new Re-Os geochemical study of the Lantian black shale provides a refined, time-calibrated record of environment and eukaryote evolution during the Ediacaran.
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Comparative morphometric analysis suggests ice-cored pingo-shaped landforms on the dwarf planet Ceres
Kynan H.G. Hughson; Britney E. Schmidt; Kathrine T. Udell Lopez; Hanna G. Sizemore; Paul M. Schenk ...
Abstract: The NASA Dawn mission revealed that the floor of Occator crater on the dwarf planet Ceres (in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter) is populated with small quasi-conical hills. Many of these features exhibit morphometric properties that are like those of ice-cored periglacial hills called pingos. Alternatively, some of these Cerean hills have also been hypothesized to be cryovolcanic in origin. If these hills are analogous to pingos, they represent ice-rich environments that are attractive targets for future exploration. We report new constraints on the morphologies of the Occator hills that aid in determining their origin. We also directly test how morphologically similar the hills in Occator are to pingos and volcanic cones on Earth using comparative statistical analyses. Using a novel application of kernel density estimation and Markov chain Monte Carlo methods we show that the morphologies of terrestrial pingos and volcanic cones are quantifiably distinct, and that the Cerean hills share significant morphometric similarities with pingos on Earth. Our findings indicate that a statistical treatment of morphometry alone can be a powerful tool for classifying and comparing planetary surface features, and that the majority of the resolved Cerean hills are morphometrically more similar to pingos than to small terrestrial volcanic cones.
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Non-steady-state slip rates emerge along evolving restraining bends under constant loading
Hanna Elston; Michele Cooke; Alex Hatem
Abstract: Recent field studies provide evidence of fault slip-rate variability over time periods of 10–100 k.y., yet researchers do not know how processes internal to the fault system (e.g., fault reorganization) impact records of fault slip rates. In this study, we directly observed fault-system evolution and measured slip-rate histories within a scaled physical experiment of a dextral strike-slip 15° restraining bend representative of a gentle crustal restraining bend. To assess the degree of slip-rate variability at particular sites along the experimental faults, such as would be revealed in a field study, we tracked fault slip rates at specific locations that advected throughout the experiment with accrued fault slip. Slip rates increased or decreased (5%–25% of the applied velocity) both during fault reorganization (e.g., fault growth and abandonment) and as sites migrated to new structural positions. Sites that advected into the restraining bend showed decreased slip rate. While we expect new fault growth to reduce slip rates along nearby fault segments, we document that the growth of new oblique-slip faults can increase strike-slip rates on nearby fault segments. New oblique-slip thrust faults within the experiment accommodated off-fault convergence and unclamped nearby strike-slip segments. The experimental results show that even under a constant loading rate, slip rates at sites located on stable fault segments can vary due to either reorganization elsewhere in the fault system or site advection.
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Quantifying volcanism and organic carbon burial across Oceanic Anoxic Event 2
Nina M. Papadomanolaki; Niels A.G.M. van Helmond; Heiko Pälike; Appy Sluijs; Caroline P. Slomp
Abstract: Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (ca. 94 Ma; OAE2) was one of the largest Mesozoic carbon cycle perturbations, but associated carbon emissions, primarily from the Caribbean large igneous province (LIP) and marine burial fluxes, are poorly constrained. Here, we use the carbon cycle box model LOSCAR-P to quantify the role of LIP volcanism and enhanced marine organic carbon (C org) burial as constrained by the magnitude and shape of the positive stable carbon isotope (δ13C) excursion (CIE) in the exogenic carbon pool and atmospheric pCO2 reconstructions. In our best fit scenario, two pulses of volcanic carbon input—0.065 Pg C yr–1 over 170 k.y. and 0.075 Pg C yr –1 over 40 k.y., separated by an 80 k.y. interval with an input of 0.02 Pg C yr–1—are required to simulate observed changes in δ13C and pCO2. Reduced LIP activity and C org burial lead to pronounced pCO2 reductions at the termination of both volcanic pulses, consistent with widespread evidence for cooling and a temporal negative trend in the global exogenic δ13C record. Finally, we show that observed leads and lags between such features in the records and simulations are explained by differences in the response time of components of the carbon cycle to volcanic forcing.
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Biotite as a recorder of an exsolved Li-rich volatile phase in upper-crustal silicic magma reservoirs
B.S. Ellis; J. Neukampf; O. Bachmann; C. Harris; F. Forni ...
Abstract: The magmatic-hydrothermal transition is key in controlling the fate of many economically important elements due to the change in partitioning when melt and magmatic fluid coexist. Despite its increasing economic importance, the behavior of lithium (Li) in such environments remains poorly known. We illustrate how compositionally unusual biotites from the rhyolitic Bishop Tuff (California, USA) and Kos Plateau Tuff (Greece) may contain a magmatic volatile phase trapped between layers of biotite crystals. Despite originating in pristine deposits and showing the expected X-ray diffraction spectra, these biotites return low (<95 wt%) analytical totals via electron microprobe (EMP) consistent with the presence of considerable amounts of light elements (non-measurable by EMP). Lithium contents and isotope ratios in these biotites are remarkable, with abundances reaching >2300 ppm, exceptionally light Li isotopic compositions (δ7Li as low as –27.6‰), and large isotopic fractionation between biotite and corresponding bulk samples (Δ7Libt–bulk as low as –36.5‰). Other mineral phases, groundmass glass, and melt inclusions from the same units do not support an extremely Li-rich melt prior to eruption. Biotites from phonolitic systems (Tenerife [Canary Islands] and Campi Flegrei [Italy]) do not show such extreme compositional differences, with biotite and melt showing roughly equivalent Li contents, underscored by significantly reduced Δ7Libt–bulk to a maximum of –10.9‰. We ascribe the difference in behavior to the near-liquidus appearance of biotite in alkaline magmatic suites, before widespread exsolution of a magmatic volatile phase in the magma reservoir, while in rhyolitic suites, biotite crystallizes at low temperature, trapping the coexisting exsolved fluid phase in the reservoir.
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