Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 57, Issue 16, pp 1998–2006 | Cite as

Rare earth elements and carbon isotope geochemistry of the Doushantuo Formation in South China: Implication for middle Ediacaran shallow marine redox conditions

  • ChuanMing ZhouEmail author
  • ShaoYong Jiang
  • ShuHai Xiao
  • Zhe Chen
  • XunLai Yuan
Open Access
Article Geochemistry


The middle Ediacaran Shuram excursion, the largest negative δ 13Ccarb excursion in Earth history, has been interpreted as indirect evidence for episodic oxidation and remineralization of deep ocean DOC (dissolved organic carbon). It has been hypothesized that such oxidation event may have occurred when anoxic DOC-laden deep water was brought to shallow shelves during oceanic upwelling, which is expected to cause localized anoxia in shallow environments. To test this prediction, we systematically analyzed rare earth elements (REE) and δ 13Ccarb of the upper Doushantuo Formation carbonates in the Yangtze Gorges area of South China, which were deposited in an inner shelf environment and record a large negative δ 13Ccarb excursion correlated to the Shuram event. The REE data show a significant positive shift in Ce/Ce* values, synchronous with a pronounced negative δ 13Ccarb shift. This positive Ce/Ce* shift is interpreted to represent an oceanic anoxia event in shallow shelf environments, which may have been caused by the upwelling or impingement of oxygen-depleted and 12C-enriched deep water onto shelves. This anoxia event coincides with a sharp decline in the abundance and diversity of Ediacaran acanthomorphic acritarchs, raising the possibility that these two geobiological events may be causally related.


REE marine anoxia Doushantuo Formation Yangtze Gorges South China 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • ChuanMing Zhou
    • 1
    Email author
  • ShaoYong Jiang
    • 2
  • ShuHai Xiao
    • 1
    • 3
  • Zhe Chen
    • 1
  • XunLai Yuan
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory for Mineral Deposits Research, Department of Earth SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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