Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 45–52 | Cite as

A cool time in the Early Jurassic: first continental palaeoclimate estimates from oxygen and hydrogen isotope ratios in chert from Navajo Sandstone carbonate lenses, Utah (USA)

Original Article


Cool continental palaeoclimate estimates ranging from ~9 to 18 °C were inferred from oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of chert precipitated contemporaneously with algal carbonate in interdune, freshwater lakes of the Early Jurassic Navajo Sandstone (USA). The oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition also indicate that meteoric waters were involved in the crystallization history of the chert. These results are consistent with previous studies that suggest that the interdune carbonate lenses in the Navajo Sandstone are freshwater carbonates precipitated in a wet-climate, pluvial episode. Approximate palaeotemperature estimates from oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of silicified wood samples adjacent to a carbonate lens yield palaeotemperature estimates of ~33 to 43 °C. These data are consistent with burial diagenetic temperatures and support the interpretation that the algal chert precipitated contemporaneously with the algal carbonate. The results of this study demonstrate that the potential for obtaining quantitative, continental palaeoclimate estimates from freshwater chert found throughout the geologic record.


Late Pliensbachian Stable isotope geochemistry Interdune carbonate Palaeotemperatures Chert 



Comments from two anonymous reviewers helped improve the manuscript. A part of this study was supported by a Fort Lewis College Traditional Scholarship and Research Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geosciences DepartmentFort Lewis CollegeDurangoUSA

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