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The onset of widespread marine red beds and the evolution of ferruginous oceans
Song, H.; Jiang, G.; Poulton, S.W.; Wignall, B.P.; Tong, J.; Song, H.; An, Z.; Chu, D.; Tian, L.; She, Z.; Wang, C. (2017). The onset of widespread marine red beds and the evolution of ferruginous oceans. Nature Comm. 8(1): 7 pp.
In: Nature Communications. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2041-1723; e-ISSN 2041-1723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Song, H.
  • Jiang, G.
  • Poulton, S.W.
  • Wignall, B.P.
  • Tong, J.
  • Song, H.
  • An, Z.
  • Chu, D.
  • Tian, L.
  • She, Z.
  • Wang, C.

    Banded iron formations were a prevalent feature of marine sedimentation ~3.8–1.8 billion years ago and they provide key evidence for ferruginous oceans. The disappearance of banded iron formations at ~1.8 billion years ago was traditionally taken as evidence for the demise of ferruginous oceans, but recent geochemical studies show that ferruginous conditions persisted throughout the later Precambrian, and were even a feature of Phanerozoic ocean anoxic events. Here, to reconcile these observations, we track the evolution of oceanic Fe-concentrations by considering the temporal record of banded iron formations and marine red beds. We find that marine red beds are a prominent feature of the sedimentary record since the middle Ediacaran (~580 million years ago). Geochemical analyses and thermodynamic modelling reveal that marine red beds formed when deep-ocean Fe-concentrations were > 4 nM. By contrast, banded iron formations formed when Fe-concentrations were much higher (> 50 μM). Thus, the first widespread development of marine red beds constrains the timing of deep-ocean oxygenation.

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