The Ediacaran-Cambrian Bambuí Group in Brazil records an anomalously positive excursion in carbonate carbon isotopes (δ13Ccarb) with a sustained plateau of ca. +15‰ (aka the Middle Bambuí Excursion–MIBE). Considering that the δ13Ccarb signals in Ediacaran-Cambrian seawaters do not typically exceed +6‰, the MIBE therefore represents a profound carbon cycle anomaly in Earth’s history. Although intensive studies have been done on the Bambuí Group, origins of the MIBE remain enigmatic. In order to better constrain the biogeochemical carbon and sulfur cycles during the MIBE, high-resolution chemostratigraphic analysis was conducted for both the plateau (i.e., Lagoa do Jacaré Formation) and the recovery part (i.e., lower Serra da Saudade Formation) of the MIBE. Chemostratigraphic profiles reveal remarkably different values in δ13Ccarb, δ13Corg, δ18Ocarb, and δ34Spyrite between these two studied MIBE intervals. The new data show that the plateau of the MIBE is characterized by coupled higher δ13Ccarb, higher δ13Corg, and higher δ34Spyrite signals compared with the recovery part of the MIBE. Based on multiple lines of sedimentological, geochemical, and model evidence, we propose that the possibilities of enhanced organic carbon burial and porewater methanogenesis are insufficient to explain the MIBE. Instead, local or regional controlling factors, including water-column methanogenesis, low-sulfate conditions, and enhanced carbonate recycling in a restricted basin may have played a role, independently or in unison, in generating this profound positive δ13Ccarb excursion. Therefore, the MIBE may reflect a regional event, instead of a global carbon cycle anomaly. We caution against the use of the MIBE in chemostratigraphic correlations on a global scale or any other attempt to infer global carbon cycling at that time. The biogeochemical landscape of the late Ediacaran-Cambrian basins and ocean margins may be more heterogeneous than previously thought.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105861
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages24
JournalPrecambrian Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 53282972