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Constraints on the carbon cycle and climate during the early evolution of animals

Citation

Bergmann, Kristin Diane (2013) Constraints on the carbon cycle and climate during the early evolution of animals. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:06102013-045943358

Abstract

One of the greatest challenges in science lies in disentangling causality in complex, coupled systems. This is illustrated no better than in the dynamic interplay between the Earth and life. The early evolution and diversification of animals occurred within a backdrop of global change, yet reconstructing the potential role of the environment in this evolutionary transition is challenging. In the 200 million years from the end-Cryogenian to the Ordovician, enigmatic Ediacaran fauna explored body plans, animals diversified and began to biomineralize, forever changing the ocean's chemical cycles, and the biological community in shallow marine ecosystems transitioned from a microbial one to an animal one.

In the following dissertation, a multi-faceted approach combining macro- and micro-scale analyses is presented that draws on the sedimentology, geochemistry and paleontology of the rocks that span this transition to better constrain the potential environmental changes during this interval.

In Chapter 1, the potential of clumped isotope thermometry in deep time is explored by assessing the importance of burial and diagenesis on the thermometer. Eocene- to Precambrian-aged carbonates from the Sultanate of Oman were analyzed from current burial depths of 350-5850 meters. Two end-member styles of diagenesis independent of burial depth were observed.

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 explore the fallibility of the Ediacaran carbon isotope record and aspects of the sedimentology and geochemistry of the rocks preserving the largest negative carbon isotope excursion on record---the Shuram Excursion. Chapter 2 documents the importance of temperature, fluid composition and mineralogy on the delta 18-O min record and interrogates the bulk trace metal signal. Chapter 3 explores the spatial variability in delta 13-C recorded in the transgressive Johnnie Oolite and finds a north-to-south trend recording the onset of the excursion. Chapter 4 investigates the nature of seafloor precipitation during this excursion and more broadly. We document the potential importance of microbial respiratory reactions on the carbonate chemistry of the sediment-water interface through time.

Chapter 5 investigates the latest Precambrian sedimentary record in carbonates from the Sultanate of Oman, including how delta 13-C and delta 34-S CAS vary across depositional and depth gradients. A new model for the correlation of the Buah and Ara formations across Oman is presented. Isotopic results indicate delta 13-C varies with relative eustatic change and delta 34-S CAS may vary in absolute magnitude across Oman.

Chapter 6 investigates the secular rise in delta 18-Omin in the early Paleozoic by using clumped isotope geochemistry on calcitic and phosphatic fossils from the Cambrian and Ordovician. Results do not indicate extreme delta 18-O seawater depletion and instead suggest warmer equatorial temperatures across the early Paleozoic.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Clumped, isotope, Ediacaran, Cambrian, Ordovician
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Grotzinger, John P. (co-advisor)
  • Fischer, Woodward W. (co-advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Eiler, John M. (chair)
  • Grotzinger, John P.
  • Fischer, Woodward W.
  • Adkins, Jess F.
  • Orphan, Victoria J.
Defense Date:31 May 2013
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06102013-045943358
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:06102013-045943358
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7879
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Kristin Bergmann
Deposited On:12 Jun 2013 18:30
Last Modified:03 Jun 2014 19:39

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