Early Middle Frasnian platform reef strata in the Moravian Karst interpreted as recording the atmospheric dust changes: the key to understanding perturbations in the punctata conodont zone


Authors: Hladil J, Koptíková L, Galle A, Sedláček V, Pruner P, Schnabl P, Langrová A, Bábek O, Frána J, Hladíková J, Otava J, Geršl M

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 84, issue 1; pages: 75 - 106; Received 24 November 2008; Accepted in revised form 20 January 2009; Online 9 February 2009

Keywords: mineral dust, platform reef, sedimentation of particulates, sedimentary rhythms, stromatactis, climate conditions, magnetic susceptibility, gamma-ray spectrometry, geochemistry, mid-punctata Zone perturbations, Alamo impact event, Upper Devonian, Brunovistulian terrane, Moravia, Czech Republic,

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Development of new stratigraphic techniques has led to better understanding of the compositional variability and quantity of dust-related impurity components in pure marine limestones, with a considerable impact on stratigraphic resolution and explanation of causality. The early Middle Frasnian (E-MF, punctata Zone) stratigraphic interval was selected for this study in order to assess the contribution of atmospheric dust and to distinguish between the robust climatically driven anomalies and the potential distant effect of the Alamo impact. The location of the study in the Moravian Karst area has two advantages: there are no mixed carbonate-siliciclastic sediments, only the pure limestone of a platform reef complex, and the authors have access to voluminous survey and drilling reports. The methodology employed for undertaking the most recent research was based on succession and combination of the following steps: biostratigraphy and facies analysis, magnetic susceptibility (MS), gamma-ray spectrometry (GRS), instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), and finally, separation and assessment of rare non-carbonate particles. The natural atmospheric dust burden, deposition, and embedding in pure carbonate traps were, most likely, threefold higher during the Frasnian in the Upper Devonian in comparison with Quaternary platform reef counterparts. Variation of 10-100 ka averages is medium in terms of the Frasnian ranges of MS-GRS values, and the base and top of the E-MF interval are manifested by robust elevations of these values. Forced anomalies in MS, GRS and geochemical signals that defy the normal sequence of rhythms were found: two anomalies disturb the broad middle part of the E-MF interval and one is superimposed on the upper part of the punctata-hassi zones strata. The most significant disturbance was found near the mid-punctata Zone level. In spite of the relatively low magnitude, it shows features that are usually related to major environmental crises which occured in the Devonian, such as the Choteč, Kačák or Kellwasser events. These include a large depression in MS and dust-particle concentration values coupled with a period of sea level lowstand and calm atmospheric conditions (stage A), and an abrupt shift to high MS that has a comb-like pattern that gradually fades upward, developed together with a forced flooding surface, increased detritism, and stormy conditions (stage B). It is a reverse of the normal cyclicity in pure limestone when the high impurity corresponds to lowstands. A very small amount of particulate material of an exotic nature was found at the A-B stage interface and assessed: it contained iron-rich silicate microspherules and drops, devitrified glasses, tiny mineral/rock clasts of hyperbasite compositions, as well as pellets and clumps of glasses and phlogopites. The silt-sized particles show ablated and striated surfaces, flow deformation of devitrified glasses, and layered onion-like structures. Iron-rich lamellae with meshwork crystal patterns occur among decrepitated crystalline mineral phases. This material is tentatively attributed to some vigorous ejection of deep Earth layers, or speculatively, to some previously undescribed olivine-phyric to basaltic and Ni-, Cr-depleted siderolite material of meteoritic origin.


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