Carbon cycle changes during the end-Marjuman (Cambrian) extinction in the Southern Appalachians
Gerhardt, Angela Mae
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The late Cambrian-early Ordovician transition contains several trilobite extinctions. The first of these extinctions (the end-Marjuman) is thought to coincide with the Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion or SPICE, a large and rapid excursion in the marine carbon isotope record. This excursion, which is expressed in sedimentary successions globally, is thought to represent a large perturbation to the carbon cycle during this time. Additionally, a limited amount of carbon isotope data from the Deadwood Formation in the Black Hills of South Dakota suggests the possibility of a small negative ẟ¹³C excursion near the extinction and preceding the SPICE. Previous high-resolution biostratigraphy has identified an expanded record of extinction event within the Nolichucky Formation of the Southern Appalachians making it an excellent candidate for the study of the precise relationship between the extinction and changes in the carbon cycle. This investigation confirms the onset of the SPICE occurs at the extinction boundary however no negative ẟ¹³C excursion occurs at the extinction boundary. Further there is no systematic relationship between local facies changes and ẟ¹³C or the extinction interval across the basin, which suggests that global environmental changes were responsible for both the ẟ¹³C record and the extinction event.
- Masters Theses