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Widespread iron-rich conditions in the mid-Proterozoic ocean


Planavsky, NJ and McGoldrick, P and Scott, CT and Li, C and Reinhard, CT and Kelly, AE and Chu, X and Bekker, A and Love, GD and Lyons, TW, Widespread iron-rich conditions in the mid-Proterozoic ocean, Nature, 477, (7365) pp. 448-452. ISSN 0028-0836 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement: © 2011 Nature Publishing Group Official URL field:

DOI: doi:10.1038/nature10327


The chemical composition of the ocean changed markedly with the oxidation of the Earth’s surface1, and this process has profoundly influenced the evolutionary and ecological history of life2,3. The early Earth was characterized by a reducing ocean–atmosphere system, whereas the Phanerozoic eon (less than 542 million years ago) is known for a stable and oxygenated biosphere conducive to the radi- ation of animals. The redox characteristics of surface environments during Earth’s middle age (1.8–1billion years ago) are less well known, but it is generally assumed that the mid-Proterozoic was home to a globally sulphidic (euxinic) deep ocean2,3. Here we present iron data from a suite of mid-Proterozoic marine mudstones. Contrary to the popular model, our results indicate that ferruginous (anoxic and Fe21-rich) conditions were both spatially and tem- porally extensive across diverse palaeogeographic settings in the mid-Proterozoic ocean, inviting new models for the temporal dis- tribution of iron formations and the availability of bioessential trace elements during a critical window for eukaryotic evolution.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geochemistry
Research Field:Inorganic geochemistry
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:McGoldrick, P (Dr Peter McGoldrick)
ID Code:74064
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:326
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2011-11-10
Last Modified:2017-10-30
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