Primary aragonite and high-Mg calcite in the late Cambrian (Furongian): Potential evidence from marine carbonates in Oman

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Transient aragonite seas occurred in the early Cambrian but several models suggest the late Cambrian was a time of calcite seas. Here, evidence is presented from the Andam Group, Huqf High, Oman (Gondwana) that suggests a transient Furongian (late Cambrian) aragonite sea, characterized by the precipitation of aragonite and high-Mg calcite ooids and aragonite isopachous, fibrous, cements. Stable carbon isotope data suggest that precipitation occurred just before and during the SPICE (Steptoean Positive Carbonate Isotope Excursion). Aragonite and high-Mg calcite precipitation can be accounted for if mMg:Ca ratios were around 1.2 given the very high atmospheric CO2 at that time and if precipitation occurred in warm waters associated with the SPICE. This, together with reported occurrences of early Furongian aragonite ooids from various locations in North America (Laurentia), suggests that aragonite and high-Mg calcite precipitation from seawater may have been more than just a local phenomenon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalTerra Nova
Issue number5
Early online date20 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note


Fieldwork and sampling was funded by Petroleum Development Oman during S. Al Marjibis's Ph.D. Their help is gratefully acknowledged. We also thank colleagues at the University of Aberdeen, Julie Dougans (SUERC) for assisting with stable isotope analysis and Dr. Richard Hinton (EIMF) for assistance with ion microprobe analysis. Profs. Kiessling, Tucker, Bosence, Coleman, Dr. Dickson and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for their helpful and encouraging comments.


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