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Depositional environment and organic matter accumulation of Upper Ordovician–Lower Silurian marine shale in the Upper Yangtze Platform, South China

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology

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, , , and
DOI:10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.11.037

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Abstract

The main controlling factors of organic matter accumulation in the Upper Ordovician Wufeng–Lower Silurian Longmaxi Formations are complex and remain highly controversial. This study investigates the vertical variation of total organic carbon (TOC) content as well as major and trace element concentrations of four Ordovician–Silurian transition sections from the Upper Yangtze Platform of South China to reconstruct the paleoenvironment of these deposits and to improve our understanding of those factors that have influenced organic matter accumulation in these deposits.

The residual TOC content of the Wufeng Formation averages 3.2% and ranges from 0.12 to 6.0%. The overlying lower Longmaxi Formation displays higher TOC content (avg. 4.4%), followed upsection by consistent and lower values that average 1.6% in the upper Longmaxi Formation. The concentration and covariation of redox-sensitive trace elements (Mo, U and V) suggest that organic-rich intervals of the Wufeng Formation accumulated under predominantly anoxic conditions. Organic-rich horizons of the lower Longmaxi Formation were deposited under strongly anoxic to euxinic conditions, whereas organic-poor intervals of the upper Longmaxi Formation accumulated under suboxic conditions. Positive correlations between redox proxies and TOC contents suggest that organic matter accumulation was predominantly controlled by preservation. Barium excess (Baxs) values indicate high paleoproductivity throughout the entire depositional sequence, with an increase in the lower Longmaxi Formation. Increased productivity may have been induced by enhanced P recycling, as evidenced by elevated Corg/Ptot ratios. Mo–U covariation and Mo/TOC values reveal that the Wufeng Formation was deposited under extremely restricted conditions, whereas the Longmaxi Formation accumulated under moderately restricted conditions. During the Late Ordovician, the extremely restricted nature of ocean circulation on the Upper Yangtze Platform in tandem with enhanced stratification of the water column promoted anoxic conditions favorable for the preservation of organic matter. During Early Silurian time, organic matter accumulation was principally controlled by changes in sea level, which affected terrigenous flux, redox conditions, and the degree of nutrition recycling.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Depositional environment and organic matter accumulation of Upper Ordovician–Lower Silurian marine shale in the Upper Yangtze Platform, South China
Series title:
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
DOI:
10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.11.037
Volume:
466
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Publisher location:
Amsterdam
Contributing office(s):
Central Energy Resources Science Center
Description:
15 p.
First page:
252
Last page:
264
Country:
China
Other Geospatial:
Upper Yangtze Platform