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Isotopic evidence for temperate oceans during the Cambrian Explosion
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7366-7680
Swedish Museum of Natural History, Department of Paleobiology.
2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 6330Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Cambrian Explosion was a key event in the evolution of life on Earth. This event took place at a time when sea surface temperatures have been proposed to reach about 60 °C. Such high temperatures are clearly above the upper thermal limit of 38 °C for modern marine invertebrates and preclude a major biological revolution. To address this dichotomy, we performed in situ δ18O analyses of Cambrian phosphatic brachiopods via secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). The δ18Ophosphate data, which are considered to represent the most primary δ18Oseawater signature, were identified by evaluating the diagenetic alteration of the analyzed shells. Assuming ice-free conditions for the Cambrian ocean and no change in δ18Oseawater (-1.4‰ to -1‰; V-SMOW) through time, our temperatures vary between 35 °C ± 12 °C and 41 °C ± 12 °C. They are thus clearly above (1) recent subequatorial sea surface temperatures of 27 °C–35 °C and (2) the upper lethal limit of 38 °C of marine organisms. Our new data can therefore be used to infer a minimal depletion in early Cambrian δ18Oseawater relative to today of about -3‰. With this presumption, our most pristine δ18Ophosphate values translate into sea surface temperatures of about 30 °C indicating habitable temperatures for subequatorial oceans during the Cambrian Explosion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 9, article id 6330
National Category
Geology
Research subject
The changing Earth
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:nrm:diva-3376DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42719-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:nrm-3376DiVA, id: diva2:1370063
Funder
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme, SYNTHESYS (SE-TAF 6454)Available from: 2019-11-13 Created: 2019-11-13 Last updated: 2019-11-18Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-42719-4#article-info

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