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Glendonite occurrences in the Tremadocian of Baltica: first Early Palaeozoic evidence of massive ikaite precipitation at temperate latitude

By Leonid E Popov, J. Javier Álvaro, Lars E. Holmer, Heikki Bauert, Mansoureh Ghobadi Pour, Andrei V Dronov, Oliver Lehnert, Olle Hints, Peep Männik, Zhifei Zhang, Zhiliang Zhang

Posted 04 Dec 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/486779 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-43707-4)

The Tremadocian (Early Ordovician) is currently considered a time span of greenhouse conditions with tropical water surface temperature estimates, interpolated from oxygen isotopes, approaching 40°C. In the high-latitude Baltoscandian Basin, these data are in contrast with the discovery of glendonite, a pseudomorph of ikaite (CaCO3·6H2O) and valuable indicator of near-freezing bottom-water conditions. The massive precipitation of this climatically sensitive mineral is associated with transgressive conditions and high organic productivity. Surprisingly, the precipitation of glendonite is contemporaneous with the record of conodonts displaying low δ values, which would suggest high temperatures (>40°C) in the water column. Therefore, the early Tremadocian sediments of Baltoscandia contain both 'greenhouse' pelagic signals and near-freezing substrate indicators. This apparent paradox suggests both the influence of isotopically depleted freshwater yielded by fluvial systems, and the onset of sharp thermal stratification patterns in a semi-closed basin, which should have played an important role in moderating subpolar climates and reducing latitudinal gradients.

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