Effects of early marine diagenesis and site-specific depositional controls on carbonate-associated sulfate: Insights from paired S and O isotopic analyses

WashU affiliated authors: Jocelyn A.Richardson, Alexander S. Bradley, David A. Fike (Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences)

Abstract: Carbon, sulfur and oxygen isotope profiles in Silurian strata of the Baltoscandian Basin (Estonia), coincident with the Ireviken Bioevent, provide insights into basin-scale and platform-specific depositional processes. Paired carbon isotope records preserve a positive isotope excursion during the early Wenlock, coincident with faunal turnover, yet δ13C variability of this excursion compared to other locations within the paleobasin reflects local depositional influences superimposed on a global signal. In comparison, sulfur isotope records do not preserve a systematic isotopic excursion over the same interval. Instead, sulfur isotope records have high sample-to-sample stratigraphic variability, particularly in shallow-water carbonate rocks (scatter up to ~10‰ for δ34SCAS and ~ 25‰ for δ34Spyr). This pattern of isotopic variability is also found between sites from the same carbonate platform, where the magnitude and isotopic variability in δ34SCAS and δ34Spyr differ depending on relative local sea level (and therefore facies). Such facies-dependent variability reflects more closed- versus more open-system diagenetic conditions where pulses of increased sedimentation rate in the shallow water environments generates greater isotopic variability in both δ34SCAS and δ34Spyr. Increased reworking and proximity to the shoreline results in local sulfide oxidation, seen as a decrease in δ34SCAS in the most proximal settings. Platform-scale evolution of isotopically distilled pore-fluids associated with dolomitization results in increased δ34SCAS in deep water settings. Correlations in paired δ34SCAS-δ18OCAS data support these conclusions, demonstrating the local alteration of CAS during deposition and early marine diagenesis. We present a framework to assess the sequence of diagenetic and depositional environmental processes that have altered δ34SCAS and find that δ34S of ~27–28‰ approximates Silurian seawater sulfate. Our findings provide a mechanism to understand the elevated variability in many deep-time δ34SCAS records that cannot otherwise be reconciled with behavior of the marine sulfate reservoir.

Citation or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2021.120525