Correlation of aptian-albian carbon isotope excursions in continental strata of the cretaceous Foreland Basin, Eastern Utah, U.S.A.

Journal of Sedimentary Research

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Nodular carbonates ("calcretes") in continental foreland-basin strata of the Early Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation (CMF) in eastern Utah yield ??13C and ??O records of changes in the exogenic carbon cycle related to oceanic anoxic events (OAEs), and terrestrial paleoclimate. Chemostratigraphic profiles of both forebulge and foredeep sections show two prominent positive ??13C excursions, each with a peak value of -3% VPDB, and having background ??13C values of about -6% VPDB. These excursions correlate with the global early Aptian (Ap7) and late Aptian-early Albian (Apl2-All) carbon isotope excursions. Aptian-Albian positive ??13C excursions in the CMF also correspond to 3-4 per mil increases in carbonate ??18O. These phenomena record local aridification events. The chemostratigraphic profile on the thinner forebulge section of the CMF is calibrated, for the first time, by a radiogenic U-Pb date of 119.4 ?? 2.6 Ma on a carbonate bed, and by detrital zircon U-Pb dates on two bounding sandstone units (maximum depositional ages of 146 Ma and 112 Ma). P??trographie observations and diagenetic analyses of micritic to microsparitic carbonates from nodules indicate palustrine origins and demonstrate that they crystallized in shallow early meteoric phreatic environments. Meteoric calcite lines derived from CMF carbonates have ??18O values ranging between -8.1 to -7.5%o VPDB, supporting an estimate of zonal mean groundwater ??18O of -6% VSMOW for an Aptian-Albian paleolatitude of 34?? N. Furthermore, our two chemostratigraphic profiles exhibit a generally proportionate thinning of correlative strata from the foredeep on to the forebulge, suggesting that there were consistently lower rates of accumulation on the forebulge during the Aptian-Albian. Identification of the global Aptian-Albian ??13C excursions in purely continental strata, as demonstrated in this paper, opens a new avenue of research by identifying specific stratigraphie intervals that record the terrestrial paleoclimatic impacts of perturbations of the global carbon cycle. Copyright ?? 2010, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology).

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Correlation of aptian-albian carbon isotope excursions in continental strata of the cretaceous Foreland Basin, Eastern Utah, U.S.A.
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Journal of Sedimentary Research
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