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Neoproterozoic glacial origin of the Great Unconformity

Neoproterozoic glacial origin of the Great Unconformity
Neoproterozoic glacial origin of the Great Unconformity
The Great Unconformity, a profound gap in Earth’s stratigraphic record often evident below the base of the Cambrian system, has remained among the most enigmatic field observations in Earth science for over a century. While long associated directly or indirectly with the occurrence of the earliest complex animal fossils, a conclusive explanation for the formation and global extent of the Great Unconformity has remained elusive. Here we show that the Great Unconformity is associated with a set of large global oxygen and hafnium isotope excursions in magmatic zircon that suggest a late Neoproterozoic crustal erosion and sediment subduction event of unprecedented scale. These excursions, the Great Unconformity, preservational irregularities in the terrestrial bolide impact record, and the first-order pattern of Phanerozoic sedimentation can together be explained by spatially heterogeneous Neoproterozoic glacial erosion totalling a global average of three to five vertical kilometers, along with the subsequent thermal and isostatic consequences of this erosion for global continental freeboard.
0027-8424
1136-1145
Keller, C. Brenhin
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Husson, Jon. M.
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Mitchell, Ross N.
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Bottke, William F.
c7b2e928-a935-41af-805b-a4138b5f15ad
Gernon, Thomas
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Boehnke, Patrick
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Bell, Elizabeth A.
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Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas L.
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Peters, Shanan E.
8df27b56-1fc2-4509-87f0-77f1f0814e76
Keller, C. Brenhin
c45b63db-b617-434f-93d2-327557c2b437
Husson, Jon. M.
eb7eabf5-b64b-405e-a1b5-076c438a51d1
Mitchell, Ross N.
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Bottke, William F.
c7b2e928-a935-41af-805b-a4138b5f15ad
Gernon, Thomas
658041a0-fdd1-4516-85f4-98895a39235e
Boehnke, Patrick
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Bell, Elizabeth A.
1728f6a0-aee7-487a-a238-8b37ca94ff16
Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas L.
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Peters, Shanan E.
8df27b56-1fc2-4509-87f0-77f1f0814e76

Keller, C. Brenhin, Husson, Jon. M., Mitchell, Ross N., Bottke, William F., Gernon, Thomas, Boehnke, Patrick, Bell, Elizabeth A., Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas L. and Peters, Shanan E. (2019) Neoproterozoic glacial origin of the Great Unconformity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116 (4), 1136-1145. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1804350116).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The Great Unconformity, a profound gap in Earth’s stratigraphic record often evident below the base of the Cambrian system, has remained among the most enigmatic field observations in Earth science for over a century. While long associated directly or indirectly with the occurrence of the earliest complex animal fossils, a conclusive explanation for the formation and global extent of the Great Unconformity has remained elusive. Here we show that the Great Unconformity is associated with a set of large global oxygen and hafnium isotope excursions in magmatic zircon that suggest a late Neoproterozoic crustal erosion and sediment subduction event of unprecedented scale. These excursions, the Great Unconformity, preservational irregularities in the terrestrial bolide impact record, and the first-order pattern of Phanerozoic sedimentation can together be explained by spatially heterogeneous Neoproterozoic glacial erosion totalling a global average of three to five vertical kilometers, along with the subsequent thermal and isostatic consequences of this erosion for global continental freeboard.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 November 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 31 December 2018
Published date: 22 January 2019

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Local EPrints ID: 427186
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427186
ISSN: 0027-8424
PURE UUID: 81d011f2-662c-4b87-b01a-806b5d50771e

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Date deposited: 04 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:32

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Contributors

Author: C. Brenhin Keller
Author: Jon. M. Husson
Author: Ross N. Mitchell
Author: William F. Bottke
Author: Thomas Gernon
Author: Patrick Boehnke
Author: Elizabeth A. Bell
Author: Nicholas L. Swanson-Hysell
Author: Shanan E. Peters

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