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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. The disappearance of mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation (S-MIF) within the c. 2.3-billion-year-old (Ga) Rooihoogte Formation has been heralded as a chemostratigraphic marker of permanent atmospheric oxygenation. Reports of younger S-MIF, however, question this narrative, leaving significant uncertainties surrounding the timing, tempo, and trajectory of Earth’s oxygenation. Leveraging a new bulk quadruple S-isotope record, we return to the South African Transvaal Basin in search of support for supposed oscillations in atmospheric oxygen beyond 2.3 Ga. Here, as expected, within the Rooihoogte Formation, our data capture a collapse in Δ 3× S values and a shift from Archean-like Δ 36 S/Δ 33 S slopes to their mass-dependent counterparts. Importantly, the interrogation of a Δ 33 S-exotic grain reveals extreme spatial variability, whereby atypically large Δ 33 S values are separated from more typical Paleoproterozoic values by a subtle grain-housed siderophile-enriched band. This isotopic juxtaposition signals the coexistence of two sulfur pools that were able to escape diagenetic homogenization. These large Δ 33 S values require an active photochemical sulfur source, fingerprinting atmospheric S-MIF production after its documented cessation elsewhere at ∼2.4 Ga. By contrast, the Δ 33 S monotony observed in overlying Timeball Hill Formation, with muted Δ 33 S values (<0.3‰)more »and predominantly mass-dependent Δ 36 S/Δ 33 S systematics, remains in stark contrast to recent reports of pronounced S-MIF within proximal formational equivalents. If reflective of atmospheric processes, these observed kilometer-scale discrepancies disclose heterogenous S-MIF delivery to the Transvaal Basin and/or poorly resolved fleeting returns to S-MIF production. Rigorous bulk and grain-scale analytical campaigns remain paramount to refine our understanding of Earth’s oxygenation and substantiate claims of post-2.3 Ga oscillations in atmospheric oxygen.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2023
  3. Paleotemperatures based on δ18O values derived from belemnites are usually “too cold” compared to other archives and paleoclimate models. This temperature bias represents a significant obstacle in paleoceanographic research. Here we show geochemical evidence that belemnite calcite fibers are composed of two distinct low-Mg calcite phases (CP1, CP2). Phase-specific in situ measurement of δ18O values revealed a systematic offset of up to 2‰ (~8 °C), showing a lead–lag signal between both phases in analyses spaced less than 25 µm apart and a total fluctuation of 3.9‰ (~16 °C) within a 2 cm × 2 cm portion of a Megateuthis (Middle Jurassic) rostrum. We explain this geochemical offset and the lead–lag signal for both phases by the complex biomineralization of the belemnite rostrum. The biologically controlled formation of CP1 is approximating isotope fractionation conditions with ambient seawater to be used for temperature calculation. In contrast, CP2 indicates characteristic non-isotope equilibrium with ambient seawater due to its formation via an amorphous Ca-Mg carbonate precursor at high solid-to-liquid ratio, i.e., limited amounts of water were available during its transformation to calcite, thus suggesting lower formation temperatures. CP2 occludes syn vivo the primary pore space left after formation of CP1. Our findings support paleobiologicalmore »interpretations of belemnites as shelf-dwelling, pelagic predators and call for a reassessment of paleoceanographic reconstructions based on belemnite stable isotope data.« less
  4. Abstract Tellurium-rich (Te) adularia-sericite epithermal Au-Ag deposits are an important current and future source of precious and critical metals. However, the source and evolution of ore-forming fluids in these deposits are masked by traditional bulk analysis of quartz oxygen isotope ratios that homogenize fine-scale textures and growth zones. To advance understanding of the source of Te and precious metals, herein, we use petrographic and cathodoluminescence (CL) images of such textures and growth zones to guide high spatial resolution secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS) oxygen isotope analyses (10 µm spot) and spatially correlated fluid inclusion microthermometric measurements on successive quartz bands in contemporary Te-rich and Te-poor adularia-sericite (-quartz) epithermal Au-Ag vein deposits in northeastern China. The results show that large positive oxygen isotope shifts from –7.1 to +7.7‰ in quartz rims are followed by precipitation of Au-Ag telluride minerals in the Te-rich deposit, whereas small oxygen isotope shifts of only 4‰ (–2.2 to +1.6‰) were detected in quartz associated with Au-Ag minerals in the Te-poor deposits. Moreover, fluid-inclusion homogenization temperatures are higher in comb quartz rims (avg. 266.4 to 277.5 °C) followed by Au-Ag telluride minerals than in previous stages (~250 °C) in the Te-rich deposit. The Te-poor deposit has amore »consistent temperature (~245 °C) in quartz that pre- and postdates Au-Ag minerals. Together, the coupled increase in oxygen isotope ratios and homogenization temperatures followed by precipitation of Au-Ag tellurides strongly supports that inputs of magmatic fluid containing Au, Ag, and Te into barren meteoric water-dominated flow systems are critical to the formation of Te-rich adularia-sericite epithermal Au-Ag deposits. In contrast, Te-poor adularia-sericite epithermal Au-Ag deposits show little or no oxygen isotope or fluid-inclusion evidence for inputs of magmatic fluid.« less
  5. Abstract We present >500 zircon δ18O and Lu-Hf isotope analyses on previously dated zircons to explore the interplay between spatial and temporal magmatic signals in Zealandia Cordillera. Our data cover ~8500 km2 of middle and lower crust in the Median Batholith (Fiordland segment of Zealandia Cordillera) where Mesozoic arc magmatism along the paleo-Pacific margin of Gondwana was focused along an ~100 km wide, arc-parallel zone. Our data reveal three spatially distinct isotope domains that we term the eastern, central, and western isotope domains. These domains parallel the Mesozoic arc-axis, and their boundaries are defined by major crustal-scale faults that were reactivated as ductile shear zones during the Early Cretaceous. The western isotope domain has homogenous, mantle-like δ 18O (Zrn) values of 5.8 ± 0.3‰ (2 St.dev.) and initial εHf (Zrn) values of +4.2 ± 1.0 (2 St.dev.). The eastern isotope domain is defined by isotopically low and homogenous δ18O (Zrn) values of 3.9 ± 0.2‰ and initial εHf values of +7.8 ± 0.6. The central isotope domain is characterized by transitional isotope values that display a strong E-W gradient with δ18O (Zrn) values rising from 4.6 to 5.9‰ and initial εHf values decreasing from +5.5 to +3.7. We find thatmore »the isotope architecture of the Median Batholith was in place before the initiation of Mesozoic arc magmatism and pre-dates Early Cretaceous contractional deformation and transpression. Our data show that Mesozoic pluton chemistry was controlled in part by long-lived, spatially distinct isotope domains that extend from the crust through to the upper mantle. Isotope differences between these domains are the result of the crustal architecture (an underthrusted low-δ18O source terrane) and a transient event beginning at ca. 129 Ma that primarily involved a depleted-mantle component contaminated by recycled trench sediments (10–20%). When data showing the temporal and spatial patterns of magmatism are integrated, we observe a pattern of decreasing crustal recycling of the low-δ18O source over time, which ultimately culminated in a mantle-controlled flare-up. Our data demonstrate that spatial and temporal signals are intimately linked, and when evaluated together they provide important insights into the crustal architecture and the role of both stable and transient arc magmatic trends in Cordilleran batholiths.« less
  6. Abstract The southern Coast Mountain batholith was episodically active from Jurassic to Eocene time and experienced four distinct high magmatic flux events during that period. Similar episodicity has been recognized in arcs worldwide, yet the mechanism(s) driving such punctuated magmatic behavior are debated. This study uses zircon Hf and O isotopes, with whole-rock and mineral geochemistry, to track spatiotemporal changes in southern Coast Mountains batholith melt sources and to evaluate models of flare-up behavior and crust formation in Cordilleran arc systems. Zircon Hf isotope analysis yielded consistently primitive values, with all zircon grains recording initial εHf between +6 and +16. The majority (97%) of zircons analyzed yielded δ18O values between 4.2‰ and 6.5‰, and only five grains recorded values of up to 8.3‰. These isotopic results are interpreted to reflect magmatism dominated by mantle melting during all time periods and across all areas of the southern batholith, which argues against the periodic input of more melt-fertile crustal materials as the driver of episodic arc magmatism. They also indicate that limited crustal recycling is needed to produce the large volumes of continental crust generated in the batholith. Although the isotopic character of intrusions is relatively invariant through time, magmas emplaced duringmore »flare-ups record higher Sr/Y and La/Yb(N) and lower zircon Ti and Yb concentrations, which is consistent with melting in thickened crust with garnet present as a fractionating phase. Flare-ups are also temporally associated with periods when the southern Coast Mountains batholith both widens and advances inboard. We suggest that the landward shift of the arc into more fertile lithospheric mantle domains triggers voluminous magmatism and is accompanied by magmatic and/or tectonic thickening. Overall, these results demonstrate that the magmatic growth of Cordilleran arcs can be spatially and temporally complex without requiring variability in the contributions of crust and/or mantle to the batholith.« less
  7. Abstract The 119 Ma Dinkey Dome pluton in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith is a peraluminous granite and contains magmatic garnet and zircon that are complexly zoned with respect to oxygen isotope ratios. Intracrystalline SIMS analysis tests the relative importance of magmatic differentiation processes vs. partial melting of metasedimentary rocks. Whereas δ18O values of bulk zircon concentrates are uniform across the entire pluton (7.7‰ VSMOW), zircon crystals are zoned in δ18O by up to 1.8‰, and when compared to late garnet, show evidence of changing magma chemistry during multiple interactions of the magma with wall rock during crustal transit. The evolution from an early high-δ18O magma [δ18O(WR) = 9.8‰] toward lower values is shown by high-δ18O zircon cores (7.8‰) and lower δ 18O rims (6.8‰). Garnets from the northwest side of the pluton show a final increase in δ18O with rims reaching 8.1‰. In situ REE measurements show zircon is magmatic and grew before garnets. Additionally, δ18O in garnets from the western side of the pluton are consistently higher (avg = 7.3‰) relative to the west (avg = 5.9‰). These δ18O variations in zircon and garnet record different stages of assimilation and fractional crystallization whereby an initially high-δ18O magma partiallymore »melted low-δ18O wallrock and was subsequently contaminated near the current level of emplacement by higher δ18O melts. Collectively, the comparison of δ18O zoning in garnet and zircon shows how a peraluminous pluton can be constructed from multiple batches of variably contaminated melts, especially in early stages of arc magmatism where magmas encounter significant heterogeneity of wall-rock assemblages. Collectively, peraluminous magmas in the Sierran arc are limited to small <100 km2 plutons that are intimately associated with metasedimentary wall rocks and often surrounded by later and larger metaluminous tonalite and granodiorite plutons. The general associations suggest that early-stage arc magmas sample crustal heterogeneities in small melt batches, but that with progressive invigoration of the arc, such compositions are more effectively blended with mantle melts in source regions. Thus, peraluminous magmas provide important details of the nascent Sierran arc and pre-batholithic crustal structure.« less
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